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Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, bestselling author, sales leader, and entrepreneur. He posts daily sales tips and insights to The Sales Blog.

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In the World of the Blind, the One Eyed Man is King

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I still believe that you need business acumen and situational knowledge to create and win opportunities. I believe that you need to know things, to be your dream client’s peer, to think like a business person. (This is chapter 15 in The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need)

It’s true that one of the reasons that buyers are struggling to make a good buying decision is that it’s tough for them to manage their internal processes and build the necessary consensus. The more people that enter the process, the more difficult it becomes until it is easier to do nothing. (This is chapter 16 in The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need).

Because your client doesn’t have a good process, it’s critical that you control the process, helping them to make the necessary commitments to make real change inside their companies, something they can’t easily do with you. If they could do it without you, they would have done so already. (This is chapter 2 in The Lost Art of Closing).

All these things are true, and they make the difference in sales. As much as they should be the primary differentiators in sales, I am afraid that they are not. There is something more fundamental that is being overlooked, without which you cannot succeed in sales, and that something is prospecting.

The Facebook post from an expert says, “Anyone who still prospects is wasting their own time . . . there is a thing called the Internet, where digital marketers go to get you free leads . . .” But see, the thing is, we aren’t trying to create leads; we are trying to create opportunities. Leads are what marketing generates. Jeb Blount sent me a screen capture (The same Jeb that wrote and recorded the audio book, Fanatical Prospecting).

Tony Hughes’ post on Linked about the best time to cold call has 67 comments as of the time of this writing. Some of the stand out comments include, “Why would you cold call at all these days,” and “Why would you want to cold call in the first place,” and “Best time to cold call was 1999.” The final comment says. “The real best time to cold call is between Never and Don’t, this comment submitted by a safety manager.

For all of the higher level skills necessary to succeed in sales, the willingness to prospect, and particularly the willingness to call strangers, may just be the most important of all the necessary skills and abilities. You are not going to be considered if no one knows you, and eliminating one of the real variables of a competitive advantage will cause you to miss every shot that you don’t take.

In the world of the blind, the one-eyed man is King, and the one-eyed woman, Queen.

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