X-Ray vision is a metaphor is for seeing below the surface. Superman famously could see through steel doors and walls.

In sales its seeing beyond what the naked eye perceives and the prospect says.

x_is_for_x_rayIt is about your ability to notice and hear things that will have a material impact on the opportunities you are pursuing, even when those things are not shown or said respectively.

It’s about your ability to notice

A super star salesperson friend had told me once that he would prefer to meet the decision makers in THEIR office and not in the conference rooms. When I asked him for a reason, he told me that he could gather a LOT of information about the decision maker by the books on the shelf behind, from the photos hanging on the wall and even from the stationary that was being used. 

People say a lot about how they feel emotionally about you and your offering without speaking a word. If you can begin to notice and interpret the cues, you could save a lot of heart burn later.

One clear advantage great sales people possess is an innate ability to read between the lines of what prospects say and to pick up on the non-verbal clues that are constantly being given off.

It’s about what you want to believe

Over the years I learned an important lesson in sales that just because someone has not said “No” it does not mean that you are heading toward a “Yes”

When I was young, I was like Voltaire’s “Candide”, I badly wanted to believe that things were going well in the right direction and all would turn out for the best.  I had a selective vision and selective hearing. I would see and hear only those things that validated my “already made up” belief that things are indeed going well toward my goals. Any other items were blurred out as not so important. 

In other words, I was in my own fantasy land with a fairy tale running inside my head until it was clear to the whole world that there was “no opportunity in sight.”

In sales we call this “Happy Ears” 

It’s about what is NOT being said

When your prospect says, “Everything looks good, we just need to tie up a couple of things internally before we make a decision,” a rep with “happy ears” will report to management that every thing is set, it’s in the bag

A top sales rep will assess the tonality, expression and physiology and if it doesn’t feel right, will make a call right then and there and ask questions to get beyond the surface structure of the buyers statement.

In reality, the worst case may be that the two items were:

a) They were not sure about the credibility of your firm

b) Budgets were not assigned for this project yet

When you have X-Ray vision, your assumptions are closer to the reality of the situation because you can see through the fog.

In summary, developing X-Ray vision requires both skill and an understanding of human behavior.

In sales the best investment you will ever make in an investment in understanding human behavior.

X-Ray vision requires skill and emotional intelligence and through thoughtful questions, you can learn a lot more about the situation than buyers give out.

If you are interested in all the articles in the series so far, here they are:   

A is for Alignment (title changed on Salesforce.com blog) 
B is for Bonding
C is for Confidence
D is for Detachment
E is for Excellence in Small Things 
F is for Follow Up (On Huffington Post)
G is for Grateful
H is for Hunger to Succeed
I is for Intent to Serve 
J is for Judgment (On Huffington Post)
K is for Knowledgeable
L is for Likeable
M is for Margin
N is for Nurturing (On Huffington Post)
O is for Onward
P is for Please
 Q is for Questions (On Huffington Post)
R is for Resourcefulness (On Huffington Post)
S is for Storytelling
T is for Teaching

U is for Upbeat

V is for Velocity

W is for Word of Mouth

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