The best salespeople understand that before you can close the sale, you must open it. "Opening" means using well designed and delivered questions to thoroughly uncover as many aspects of the buying decision as possible. All of these "opening" questions pave the way for you by further revealing the prospect's situation, motivations, interests and processes.

Someone once said that worrying is praying for things you don't want to happen. What a great saying, and, like all sayings, there's a lot of truth in it. We can recognize when we are worrying or being negative, and we all have the power to switch our thinking to the positive outcomes we know are possible.

What is a 'passion for sales?' Do you (or they) invest in their own development as a sales person? The ultimate question is, "Have they invested in themselves?" Have they bought the books, attended the seminars, read the newsletters, etc.? If they have a passion for the profession, they will invest their own time and money in it.

How do you propose to increase your leadership efforts during this weak economy and challenging sales environment? Remember your team will learn by your example and to coin a phrase: "monkey see, monkey do".

I am convinced that the process of continuously improving -- not only professionally in the core competencies of a professional sales person, but also personally as well -- is the ultimate success skill for our time. Learning without action is impotent. Knowledge that doesn't result in changed action is of little value.

What do you do when the customer says "no"? Begin by empathizing with your customer. Once you've empathized with your customer, then ask questions. When he answers, you then rephrase the answer and feed it back to him, confirming that it really is the way he thinks or feels. You have changed the emotional environment from tense, negative and confrontational, to relaxed, positive and collaborative.

Closing is a process which always ends with your customer's agreement to take action. In fact, almost every time you interact with a customer, you can close the interaction by asking for some agreement.

With an action-oriented, do-it-now attitude, supported by effective time management tips / disciplines, you get more out of your day. When you complete the unpleasant or hard jobs first and act on the big tasks, little bites at a time, you trim anxiety and stress while gaining self esteem, self respect and self confidence.

Faced with the demands of the new economy, they (B2B) find themselves woefully under equipped as sales people, and fearful of striking out of their comfort zones. And, since they never spent the time and effort to improve themselves, they find themselves woefully unequipped to gain new customers, to create demand for their new products, or to persuasively gain bigger chunks of their customer's business. The solution is for you to change. Get some education in how to excel .

What qualities or traits do managers or business owners that you admire have in common? Which ones do you most try to emulate in your own company? If you are in a position of authority and wish to become an effective leader, then find ways of developing or strengthening these four characteristics in yourself.