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How to Improve Your Sales Every Single Week

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Sales Tip: How to avoid mystifying your prospect

“Mutual Mystification” is probably the average sales professionals worst enemy. What does this term mean? It means to “Mystify” or to “Bewilder” or “Perplex”.

Have you ever been “Perplexed” leaving a sales call? In other words, did you start that call thinking it would go one way only to find out that it went somewhere completely different. Let me give you an example…….

You show up for a call at 9:50am...10 minutes early so you feel no pressure at all as you walk in.

You have pre-rehearsed how things will go in your head. The conversation, the questions, the handshakes as they sign your agreement and welcome you as their new supplier, vendor, partner, etc.…

This wasn't in the plan

Everything goes as planned right up to the moment that the meeting starts. Someone is already talking about the Cubs, or how Lebron is leaving Cleveland AGAIN, or some local story that is the watercooler talk of the day.

Of course, you jump right in being the “people-person” that you are. 10-15 minutes go by and all of the sudden the decision maker turns to you and says….”Jim, what do you have for us, we need to cut this meeting a little short”. Now you are under pressure.

THIS is “Mutual Mystification”. You thought the meeting would go one way, they took it another. You thought you had 50 minutes for a presentation and 10 minutes for Q&A, they changed the rules midstream. You are stunned….perplexed….but you keep your cool and fit 50 minutes of talking points into a 30 minute meeting. Not exactly how you planned for things to go.

How to avoid meeting surprises

Getting rid of “Mutual Mystification” is actually pretty easy once you understand the technique, behavior and supporting attitude that goes along with it.

At the end of the day it’s about setting the rules of the game upfront, long before the prospect has had the chance to set their own rules. This requires some initial boldness on your part (before it becomes a natural habit) to have a discussion upfront about Time, Agenda and Outcome so that you can agree as to what will, and what will not happen during your interaction.

This not only gets rid of one of the worst sales mistakes you can make, but it also ensures that your interaction will end in some sort of decision even if that is a decision to make subsequent meeting because you ran over time.

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Jim Wilcox is a successful business consultant, business owner and Sandler Trainer, providing business owners and leaders with proven business growth strategies and tactics. Contact Jim at

Jim Wilcox

Jim Wilcox

Owner, Sandler by Wilcox & Associates