Skip to main content
Home  About  |  Contact  |  Pricing  |       
HomeBlogsRead Blog

Fight for Focus

Costly Cliché: What's Keeping You Awake at Night?
By Derrick Van Mell
Posted on 7/3/2018 10:36 AM

You’re waited a year to get a meeting with a certain CEO. You’ve got a shot at their business, but now you have 60 minutes to learn what their priorities are.  Time is tight, and you won’t get another chance.

What happens if your open-ended, active-listening question gets you a lecture on the headache du jour, burning precious minutes? Here’s what happens: you lose rapport and your proposal will be irrelevant and wrong. 

Thirty senior business development executives gathered in Milwaukee to find a way to escape the tired trap of a question, “What’s keeping you awake at night?”  The room was full of experienced lawyers, bankers, accountants, designers, builders, HR experts and consultants of all kinds.  

Table of Priorities™ for context in 45 minutes


The key idea: you must provide context right at the beginning and you have to be deeply curious how their dots connect.   

The solution: Put your prospect in charge. Use the 1-page Table of Priorities™ so they can check off all their big issues--which lets them then bring their top three into focus. The Table (link) lets you start at the Level 1 issues (graphic) and then drill deeper and deeper until you both reach clarity. Elapsed time: 45 minutes.

And when the clock is running in your sales cycle, clarity on priorities is everything.


US (608) 260-9300  •