One Thing

By Mark Matteson - October 5, 2020

As seen on:

“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” -H. L. Hunt, Oil Tycoon

A mentor of my mine said to me when I was in my thirties and just starting out in sales, “Forget trying to sell your prospects, let them buy!” He went on to say, “Remember this Mark, people buy YOU!” It took me a while to understand what he meant.

When I first started in sales, all my appointments were face to face. Now, when I close a speaking engagement, it’s on the phone followed by email and ending in a last phone call or text. When I am talking to a new prospect, I am concerned about their number ONE objective. Having your questions memorized is a good idea—here are mine—I hope they help.

  1. What is your number ONE objective for this year?
  2. How will we know when you have achieved it? (If you tripped over the results, what would they look like?)
  3. What will it mean to YOU to achieve that objective?
  4. What will it mean to your “ORGANIZATION” (PEOPLE) to achieve it?
  5. How will the decision be made? Who else is involved in that decision?
  6. What have you done in the past?
  7. Why ME?
  8. Why NOW?
  9. When is the best time to schedule it? Fall, winter, spring, summer? Days of the week?
  10. What else do you think I should know?
  11. Do you have any questions for me?

What are your ten or eleven questions? Do you have them written down? Do you have them memorized? Are they in the right order? It’s a good idea. Why leave your questions to chance? Chance always favors the prepared.

The dialogue should flow. Dominate the listening, let him or her talk. Keep asking questions until you get to the prospect’s number ONE issue, the main interest or need, and stick to it. The one question most new sales people never ask is WHY? Reasons matter. Most actions are taken for one of two reasons: fear of loss or desire for gain. You need to know WHY!

My late mentor and publisher, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, was adopted. Because of that, he had a soft spot for orphan children. One day, Charlie took me on a tour of Hershey Park, the extraordi-nary little town Milton S. Hershey built for his employees and the orphans he sponsored. Mr. Her-shey had three failures in business before age 40. He eventually made millions selling his famous candy bars. The turning point in his life came when he asked himself, “WHY is it that other men succeed and I fail?” Putting himself through a rigorous thinking session, he narrowed the answer down to ONE reason: “I was going ahead without having all the facts.”

From that day until he died at age 88, his whole life was dedicated to the philosophy of asking WHY? If someone said to him: “It can’t be done, Mr. Hershey!” He’d ask, “Why” or “Why not?” He kept asking until he had all the reasons. Then he would say, “Now one of us has got to get the an-swer!”

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” -Vincent Van Gogh

When I started my speaking business, ONE giant reason emerged for making it a success: Putting three boys through college doing what I love. That was enough. I worked 14-hour days, six or seven days a week the first five or six years. There is no substitute for understanding your WHY?

What is your ONE Thing?

Ready to learn more about sales and the sales process? To download a free package of sales training resources, including an online course, how-to documents for everything from sales presentations to salesperson-hiring outlines, industry research, and much more, visit


Mark Matteson

Bestselling Author of Freedom from Fear and A Simple Choice

Mark Matteson is an international speaker and best-selling author of 15 books. He has been called "The Oracle of Optimism", "A Superlative Street Scholar", "An Intense Idea-Reporter". Mark travels 250 days a year around the globe delivering 75 "Edu-Training" Keynotes, Seminars, Panel Discussions and Workshops a year. Mark is a gifted storyteller, using self-effacing humor, high levels of interaction and powerful and proven business principles to inspire audiences to the highest levels of productivity and profit. Mark leaves audiences wanting more…he began his career in HVAC in 1976.