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Sales: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
7 Fundamental Steps to Sales Success
No matter what you're selling, every sale follows roughly the same pattern. It's a rare sale that doesn't include each of these steps in one form or another.
5 Ways to Maximize Sales Success
Every salesperson comes up with a unique approach to the sales process. These individual strategies are usually a version of one of these five basic sales approaches.
What are B2B Sales and How do They Work?
B2B is short for “business to business.” It indicates sales made to other businesses, rather than sales to individuals. The latter is referred to as “business to consumer” sales.
How to Handle Objections in Six Easy Steps
Knowing how to handle objections is a basic sales skill that all salespeople should master. Don't worry; it's not as difficult as you may think.
What Does Customer Relationship Management...
CRM, or customer relationship management, is the strategy that a company uses to keep its customers happy and loyal. A good CRM benefits both the company and its customers.
Do You Have What it Takes to Become a Sales...
Sales managers are responsible for keeping their sales teams producing. Managing a sales team isn't easy, but it can be extremely satisfying for the right person.
5 Sales Skills You Should Master
Anyone can learn to be a good salesperson by acquiring and honing a few basic sales skills. In fact, you'll find these skills helpful in many aspects of your life.
26 Questions That Can Make You a Better Seller
Asking your prospect a series of open-ended questions during your presentation can get your prospects to sell themselves. These examples will help you get started.
Five Rules for Selling Any Product
The basic rules of how to sell never change, regardless of what product or service you're selling. Break these sales rules at your peril.
What Is Consultative Selling?
Consultative selling describes a selling technique in which the salesperson acts as an expert consultant for his prospect, asking questions to determine the prospect's needs and then using that information to select the best product or service for those needs... ideally, the salesperson's own.
How to Train Salespeople
There are two types of training that fall under the umbrella of “sales training.” The first is teaching the mechanics of sales: how to go about selling in the general sense, with an emphasis perhaps on the sales techniques that work best for your industry. The second is company-specific training: details about your products and services, the sales process that your team is expected to use, tools and resources, etc.
Sample Contract for a Service Rendered
Here's a contract template that you can use to create a personalized service contract. It works well for any business that sells professional services.
Phone Scripts That Work
A well-written phone script can help your cold calling efforts immensely. Cold calling is hard enough without being forced to ad-lib. By using a script you'll always have the right words on the tip of your tongue.
7 Ways to Write Thank-You Notes
Saying “thank you” when someone does you a favor is just good manners. It's also incredibly important in sales because the first thing you must sell is yourself.
How to Cold Call
Cold calling: the dreaded sales technique that can make even hardened salespeople shake in their shoes. In fact, cold calling doesn't have to be an ordeal. Here's how to cheerfully turn your cold leads into warm prospects.
8 Tips for Succeeding at Sales Calls
Sales is a numbers game. The more potential clients you reach, the more sales you will make. But this doesn't mean you can ignore quality in favor of quantity. Deploy a few basic strategies and you can make every sales call count!
Elements of a Great Sales Plan
Have you created a sales plan for yourself yet? If so, do you revise it on a regular basis? An up-to-date sales plan is one of the best tools a salesperson can have.
How to Interview Salespeople
When you're hiring a new salesperson, a little due diligence on your part can help you to secure a highly-skilled team member. The candidate's answers to your interview questions are important, but they're only one possible source of information.
How to Identify Qualified Leads
Not everyone on Earth is a prospect for your product or service. If you're pitching to people who truly don't need or can't buy what you have to sell, you're wasting your time. So take a few minutes to qualify your leads before launching into a full-bore sales presentation.
What is Cold Calling?
Cold calling is still the most common method salespeople use to get in touch with new potential customers.
Sample Testimonial Request Letter
The customer testimonial is a powerful marketing tool. Here's a letter that you can send to new customers to request a testimonial from them.
3 Basic Closing Strategies
The most important step in the sales process is also one of the most neglected. I'm talking about the close, of course. Every salesperson should attempt to close every sale with no exceptions.
Before You Start Prospecting for Leads
Prospecting is the first step in the sales cycle. But that doesn’t mean that the first thing you should do is grab the yellow pages and start dialing. A little pre-prospecting work will help you come up with leads that are actually compatible with your product or service.
How to Close a Sale
The most important step in the sales process is also one of the most neglected. I'm talking about the close, of course. Every salesperson should attempt to close every sale with no exceptions.
Consultative Selling Techniques
Consultative selling is a popular sales technique because it's less aggressive and more client-centric than traditional
What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is a critical part of the sales process. It's the first step in the sales cycle, so a shortage of leads will affect the entire process.
5 Unique Selling Propositions and Why They Work
Some of the best slogans of the past and present include a USP (unique selling proposition). Here are the best of the best and why they work so well.
What is Active Listening?
Active listening is a communication technique that increases understanding and rapport between speaker and listener.
Cold Call Openers
The first few words you utter during a cold call are by far the most important! If you have a good opening statement, you'll grip your prospect's attention and they'll actually ASK you to tell them more. If you don't, you'll get a lot of
56 Questions for Sales Candidates
Interviews are an opportunity to see how well a sales candidate can sell under pressure. Having a solid list of questions to ask your prospective salesperson will help you understand how he ticks.
6 Effective Sales Management Techniques
Managing salespeople is not exactly easy. Here are a few strategies you can deploy to keep your sales team producing happily.
6 Strategies for Productive Sales Meetings
Sales meetings are not a salesperson's favorite part of the job. And many sales managers also consider sales meetings a necessary evil. Yet a well-planned and conducted sales meeting can have an amazingly positive effect on the sales team.
6 Plans a Sales Team Needs
Planning is an important part of selling well. Here are some plans every sales team needs to have in order to thrive.
How to Get Sales Appointments
The #1 most common rookie salesperson mistake is trying to sell their product and close the prospect in a single cold call. When you pick up the phone and start cold calling, or walk into a neighborhood and start knocking on doors, the goal should almost always be to get an appointment with the decision maker.
Sample Referral Request Letter
This referral request letter helps to prime the pump and (hopefully) create an ongoing source of warm leads. You can fill in the parenthesized words with your own information. Just don't neglect to kick regular thank-you notes and a few leads back to your helpful referrer!
What is Business Networking?
Business Networking is a skill and a low cost method of marketing that is used to build new contacts through connecting with other like minded individuals.
How to Create a Sales Campaign
Want to sell a lot of something quickly? The sales campaign is a great way to get a quick infusion of sales.
Selling Value Over Price
Well-made products often cost more than their shoddier competition. Prospects know this, so selling a product that isn't the cheapest in your industry is a matter of demonstrating why your product is worth a little more.
3 Types of Commissions in Sales Jobs
Not every sales team gets the same kind of compensation. Sometimes a salesperson is paid a flat salary regardless of his sales record. Other salespeople are paid only if they sell successfully.
17 Great Presentation Tips
Anytime you make a presentation – whether it's to a prospective customer, the local Chamber of Commerce, or your CEO – you need to plan ahead and know what you're going to do. Just having a game plan and doing a little rehearsing beforehand will make your presentation easier.
7 Qualities of Successful Sales Managers
Do you have what it takes to be a successful sales manager? The job requires a very specific skill set and qualities that are very different from the typical salespersons'.
Developing a Sales Training Plan
A sales training plan can help you save time and money, while providing the sales team with the skills they need to thrive.
Get Leads Free at the Public Library
Why not save a bit of your sales budget by picking up some lead lists for free? Your local public library probably subscribes to several business directories. You can get all the information you need just by picking up a library card.
What is a Quota?
Sales quotas are the goals set by each company to determine how much the sales team is expected to sell for a given period of time.
Powerful Qualifying Questions
Know how to qualify prospects, and you'll save yourself a lot of time later in the sales cycle. These questions can help you turn leads into prospects.
How to Get Referrals
Referrals – otherwise known as getting someone to give you warm leads to new prospects – are valuable for salespeople in all industries. Yet it's incredible how few salespeople actively canvass for referrals.
Sample Sales Process Checklists
A sales process checklist helps salespeople to conduct each step in the sales cycle at the appropriate time. It also helps sales managers to find out where the process is breaking down for troubled salespeople.
Cold Call Tracking Sheet
Tracking your cold call attempts will help you to determine how well your calling strategy works and how many calls you need to fill your sales pipeline.
2 Strategies to Increase Sales Revenues
Success in sales comes down to one thing: selling enough to make a profit. That's going to be every salesperson's and small business owner's goal. But there are two very different strategies you can pursue to get to that point.
4 Free CRM Applications
Customer relationship management - or CRM - is a necessity for salespeople, and hundreds of options exist at many levels of complexity. For the new adopter, free crm applications are a good place to start.
Track Your Sales Metrics
How many cold calls did you make last week? If you can’t answer that question with an exact number, you have a problem.
8 Tips for Hiring Salespeople
Hiring a salesperson who isn't going to succeed is a waste of your time and theirs. Every manager will make a hiring mistake sooner or later, but by paying close attention during each stage of the process you can minimize these mistakes.
Helping Prospects Get the Message
Do you get frustrated when prospects don't respond to your messages? Don't take it personally; they may never have gotten those messages.
What is a Gatekeeper?
A gatekeeper is the person responsible for keeping a decision maker from being bothered by irrelevant callers.
The Benefits of Benefits Statements
Benefit statements are a simple way to tap into your prospect's emotions and sway them into buying. But without the proper groundwork, they're meaningless.
How to Spot Buying Signals
Buying signals are the way prospects tell you, consciously or not, that they're interested. Do you know how to spot the most common buying signals and how to respond?
Words That Sell: How to Choose Carefully
People like to feel comfortable. And they usually feel comfortable around other people who are like them. So it follows that, as a salesperson who is trying to build rapport with prospects, you'll want to match your word choice to your prospects.
Finding Your Ideal Customers
You can increase sales by selling to more prospects, but it's often quicker (and better in the long term) to focus on sales quality rather than quantity. Selling to ideal customers is much easier and tends to yield considerably more revenue.
7 Traits of Star Salespeople
What sets the top-tier salespeople apart from the rest? Star salespeople tend to share a few traits that help them to accomplish far more than the average salesperson can.
Close the Sale – Advanced Closing...
These closes are a bit trickier to apply than the basic or intermediate closes. They require more setup time or a willingness to push the prospect a little harder. But when used wisely, they can seal the deal with prospects who otherwise wouldn't buy from you.
Setting Short-Term Goals
Picking out some short-term goals and planning how you'll achieve them can change your life significantly. Such goals are closer in time than your major goals and thus require less commitment to reach, yet they can be just as significant.
Motivating a Sales Team
Salespeople aren't hard to motivate if you just think about what's most important to them, and most salespeople care most about the same two things.
Before You Become a Sales Manager
Is sales manager the career choice for you? Your potential challenges vary depending on whether you're now a salesperson or a manager in another field.
5 Skills of Great Sales Managers
Do you want to be a better sales manager? No matter how good you are, there's probably room for improvement. Try sharpening the skills on this list and you may just go from good to great.
9 Communication Skills for Salespeople
Salespeople must have top-notch communication skills to survive, let alone thrive. Rate your communication skills by asking yourself these questions.
Writing the Elevator Speech
If someone asks you about your job, it's a golden opportunity to spin a sale out of thin air. A good elevator speech is the perfect sales tool for this situation.
7 Business Uses for a Smartphone
Cell phones in general are extremely useful for salespeople, who often spend a lot of time on the road and value being able to stay in touch. Smartphones take this convenience a step further by enabling you to have access to a wide range of useful tools and information.
Giving Sales Performance Reviews
Performance reviews are always tricky, and sales performance reviews can be some of the most difficult.
4 Classic Sales Techniques
Sales has borrowed heavily from social psychology to develop a few old but useful sales techniques. Do you ever use these approaches in your sales strategy?
Prospecting That Gets Results
Prospecting for leads is the first step in filling up your sales pipeline. All the closing skills in the world won't help you if you can't set up those appointments in the first place. So knowing how to prospect wisely is crucial in sales.
Anatomy of a Cold Calling Script
Good cold calling scripts are built along similar lines. It's up to the salesperson to flesh out that framework with individual details about herself and her products.
5 Steps to Implement a Sales Strategy Change
Getting a sales team on board with a new sales strategy isn't easy. Here's a five-step plan to win a true buy-in from your salespeople.
What is AIDA?
AIDA is an acronym developed in 1898 by advertising pioneer E. St. Elmo Lewis. It describes the steps that a prospective customer goes through before deciding to buy.
Close the Sale – Intermediate Closing...
Once you've mastered the basic art of closing a sale, it's time to review some intermediate-level strategies. These closes aren't necessarily more difficult than the basic closing strategies, but they tend to be more complex.
Understanding The Product Creates Sales Success
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What is WIIFM?
Experienced salespeople will often joke, “Everyone's favorite radio station is WII-FM.”
How to Increase Sales
Increasing your total number of sales starts with increasing your total number of leads. That's because, as you've probably heard several times by now, sales is a numbers game – your success is directly based on how many prospects you talk to.
7 Benefits of a Good CRM
CRM programs have been around for a long time, but many sales teams have been slow to adopt them. Maybe it's time to consider a few of the benefits.
What is a Lead?
The precise definition of a 'lead' tends to vary somewhat. In fact, one of the biggest stumbling blocks between sales and marketing can be the definition of what counts as a lead and what doesn't.
Things NOT to Do While Cold Calling
Cold calling is a powerful prospecting tool, but it works much better if you avoid these common mistakes.
Controlling Your Sales Cycle
Every sale goes through the same seven-stage cycle, from prospecting all the way through to asking for referrals from the new customer. But the length of this cycle can vary greatly depending on the product or service you're selling.
Selling by Listening
The stereotypical salesperson talks all the time. If that’s how you sell, you’re missing out on significant opportunities.
What is Warm Calling?
Many salespeople fear cold calling, but they feel much more enthusiastic about warm calling. A warm call is simply a call to a warm lead - someone who already has a connection to the salesperson in some way.
4 Common Sales Management Obstacles
Many executives fail to understand the nature of a sales manager's role. Without meaning to, they place roadblocks that make the sales management job much tougher than it needs to be.
When to Use Closing Techniques
Closing techniques are hotly debated between salespeople. Some prefer to close heavily throughout the sales process, while others insist that sales techniques are a crutch for weak salespeople.
How to Prep for a Sales Job Interview
You want to get a sales job (or get a better sales job). So you've been submitting applications and have finally gotten to the interview stage. Congratulations! Now the prep work begins.
In-Person Cold Calling
Door-to-door sales usually doesn't work if you want to close a sale on the spot, but as a prospecting strategy it can be quite effective.
13 Tips for Success
Becoming successful means different things to different people, but some factors are the same no matter what your situation.
How to Create a Sales Forecast
Do you know how to create a reasonably accurate forecast for your sales? If not, you're subjecting yourself to needless worry and uncertainty. Knowing how to forecast your sales helps you to predict what sales activities you need to pursue now.
What is Direct Selling?
Direct selling refers to sales that occur through independent sales representatives, usually not from a store but from the customer's own location.
Closing with Confidence
Closing the sale can be an anxious moment. Once you've mastered the necessary tools, though, closing becomes much easier and much more pleasant.
Types of Sales Pitches
Sales pitches are not one-size-fits-all. The right type of pitch will vary depending on your circumstances.
Starting Your First Day in a New Sales Job
First impressions last a long time, so your first day on a new sales job is the most important one. Using these strategies will help you make the best possible impression on your new manager and fellow salespeople.
5 Ways to Improve Your Sales Skills
Like all professionals, salespeople must keep learning and honing their skills. Your company might help, but in the final analysis you and you alone are responsible for your sales training.
Developing a Sales Process Plan
You may have developed a sales plan, but do you have a sales process plan? Such a plan gives you a roadmap for the sales process.
How to Handle Some Common Cold Calling Objections
Prospects can be quite clever about rejecting cold callers without coming right out and saying no. Here are some ideas for coping with common stalls.
Managing Your Sales Pipeline
Keeping an eye on your sales pipeline can make you a lot of money. If you're aware of the pipeline, you will know how many sales you'll make during the period and can take action if you're short on your goals.
Before You Make Your First Sale
If you're considering a career in sales, or if you've recently started your first sales job, you need to make a few preparations in order to keep your transition as smooth as possible.
How to Become a Professional Salesperson
Are you a professional salesperson or just a salesperson? Professionals in any field meet a certain standard for behavior and ability.
7 Ways to Motivate Yourself
The best salespeople get the job done without relying on other people to nudge them along. If you want to be a great salesperson, you've got to learn how to motivate yourself.
7 Tips for New Salespeople
If you've recently started your first sales job, congratulations! Here are some tips for settling down into an exciting and profitable career.
Selling Tip: Learn the "Box-Step" Sales...
A great selling tip for anyone selling primarily in a retail environment. If you ever have a customer that you've spent a lot of time with and just can't tell whether they are ready to buy or not, then check out this simple sales technique that you can quickly use to take your customer's temperature -- it works over ninety percent of the time to help close a sale!
7 Voicemail Message Tips
Hate leaving voicemail? These tips can help you leave voicemail messages that will have leads actually returning your call.
Emotional Selling
Just about everybody buys based on emotion and then uses reason to justify their decision after the fact. Even hardened professional buyers aren't immune to emotional selling.
How to Attract Prospects
Prospects don't turn to salespeople for product information anymore - they find out what they need to know online. Are you losing prospects that way?
Becoming a Great Salesperson
Once you've reached the point of being a competent salesperson, there's no reason to stop there. Why not challenge yourself to become more? Start by setting a goal to be the best salesperson at your company. Once you've reached that point, keep going!
6 Great Referral Sources
Existing customers aren't the only people who can send you referrals. Try looking around a little and other referral sources will leap out at you.
The Four Pillars of Sales
Salespeople need certain kinds of support to thrive. Just handing a salesperson a phone and a list of leads isn't enough.
Turning Presentations Into Conversations
Make your presentation all about the prospect, and you'll catch and keep his interest far more effectively. You can put the focus on him by turning your presentation into a conversation.
Closing Cold Calls
You probably know all about closing sales, but how good are you about closing cold calls? It's just as important to close your cold calls because prospects aren't likely to ask YOU for an appointment.
Why You Should Join the Chamber of Commerce
Your local Chamber of Commerce is an excellent resource. How can you turn down a combination of B2B networking opportunities and free leads?
Gatekeepers Are Your Friends
If you think of gatekeepers as cold calling obstacles or (worse) as opponents to outwit, you are missing the point. True, there are a few receptionists out there who delight in giving salespeople a hard time. But the vast majority of them will treat you much the same way as you treat them.
What is a Whale?
In sales terminology, a whale is a prospect at least 10 times larger than your average sale. With B2B sales a whale prospect is often a company that's far larger than your own.
Increase Your Sales Team's Productivity
As a sales manager, it's your job to keep your team producing. In fact, status quo isn't enough... most sales managers need their sales teams to do ever better, in order to keep their own bosses happy.
How to Write a Thank-You Note
Thank-you notes aren't just for friends and distant family members. Business thank-you notes can help you accomplish some amazing things.
Develop Your Own Cold Call Opener
The cold call opener is probably the most important part of your cold call. The opener determines whether a prospect will listen to what you have to say, or simply hang up.
Overcoming Your Fear of Selling
A brand new salesperson or small business owner often struggles with an emotional reaction to the sales process. It's not an easy job at first because it requires a fairly assertive process to succeed.
5 Lead Generation Mistakes
Are you making these common lead generation mistakes? Cutting out these mistakes can save you time and money while helping your sales to bloom.
Build a Winning Sales Presentation
By the end of your sales pitch, how many of your prospects are still listening? If your presentation follows the typical pattern, where you open by talking about your company, move on to talking about your products and perhaps close with a story or two about yourself, the answer is “few to none.”
Collecting Customer Testimonials
Testimonials are a powerful sales tool when handled correctly. And customer testimonials are often the most effective type, since they are also the most believable. The wise salesperson will gather a group of testimonials for use in convincing prospects to buy.
How to Break Out of a Bad Sales Slump
A great strategy to get you out of your worst sales slumps.
Easily Find Free Sales Leads Online from...
Professional business associations can be a great source of free sales leads and they can be found online. Find out how easy it is to get free sales leads from professional business associations and other industry or trade associations that are online to increase your sales and your business.
Tuning Up Your Sales Performance
You probably take your car in for tune-ups and maintenance on a regular basis. But do you do the same thing to your sales process?
Telling a Sales Story
Telling a story is a time-honored way to sell, but not all salespeople are good storytellers. Here's a format that will help you to write a story that sells in just a few minutes.
Preparing for Cold Calls
The more planning you put into your cold calls, the easier and more successful they will be. Prior planning will take up some of your time, but once you've laid out your calling plan you will be amortizing that time with each call. It won't be long before your time investment pays off!
How to Get Good Referrals
Referrals are warm leads from a customer or prospect, and good referrals are all but priceless to a salesperson. Following up on a referral is far easier than selling to a cold lead because you've already got a foot in the door. The tricky part is getting qualified referrals in the first place.
Developing a Sales Strategy
If you've never developed your own sales strategy, now's a good time to start. A good sales strategy allows you to target your selling and waste less time and energy.
Getting the Most from Your Sales Team
Do the salespeople you hire never seem to live up to expectations? Then the problem is almost certainly you, not them.
Alternatives to Cold Calling
Hate cold calling? You do have other options to generate those leads. You may not be able to completely stop cold calling, but you can at least reduce your phone time substantially.
3 Ways to Build Rapport
Prospects won't buy from you unless they trust you enough to think that you're telling the truth about your product – namely, that the product will benefit them. Building rapport enables you to develop that level of trust between you and your prospects.
What is Mirroring?
Mirroring is a rapport-building technique that can be quite helpful in a sales situation - if you don't overdo it.
Sales Coaching
Coaching her sales team is a major component of the sales manager's job. A good sales coach can guide her salespeople to fix their own weaknesses and become better at their job.
Types of Objections
Objections are a basic and necessary part of the sales process, but they come in a variety of flavors. It's wise to get to know them all.
What is a Complex Sale?
The complex sale is one that includes a complex buying team - meaning that the salesperson must influence more than one decision maker. The more expensive your product is, the more complex sales you'll face.
5 Ways to Reach an Evasive Decision Maker
When a decision maker seems to vanish in the middle of the sales process it's awfully aggravating. You've already sunk a fair amount of time getting him this far. Why give up now?
Writing a Powerful Sales Proposal
Writing a sales proposal is not a trivial task, but many large prospects insist on it. If you're going to invest so much time and effort, you might as well write a good one.
4 Types of Customers
Knowing which type of customer you're dealing with can help you to take the right course of action to keep him happy and maximize future sales.
19 Ways to Make Cold Calling Better
Want to make cold calling both more successful and more fun? Try these cold calling do's and don'ts to boost your response rates and your morale.
4 Ideas for Sales Management Success
Are you having a hard time getting your sales team to perform up to requirements? Salespeople are notoriously hard to manage, so you may need to reach into a different box of tricks in order to motivate them.
Providing Great Customer Service
If you want to retain your customers – and encourage them to refer more customers to you – you'll need to give them a reason to do so. And excellent customer service is a pretty good reason.
Tying Sales Compensation to Sales Quotas
Getting your sales team to meet – and exceed – their quotas can be as simple as setting up the proper reward structure.
Good Sales Compensation Programs
Every sales team needs a good sales compensation program to guide and motivate them in their efforts. A bad sales compensation plan, on the other hand, is likely to motivate them to start looking for another job.
Basic Business Networking Tips
If you build it, they will come. A good business network can get you sales from people you'd never be able to reach on your own.
How to Find Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a characteristic that makes your product or company different from any other. But before you can promote your USP you must figure out what it is.
How to Ask for Referrals
Asking for a referral from a prospect should be automatic. You'd be surprised by how many prospects are not only willing, but eager to help you.
How to Keep Confidence Up When Sales Are Down
Your state of mind has a major effect on your success in sales (or lack of it). Developing an emotional bond of sorts with your prospects is a huge part of selling. If you're feeling anxious or you're convinced you're going to fail, prospects will notice it no matter how hard you try to fake an upbeat mood.
How to Set a Daily Schedule
Do you feel like every day you run out of time before all your essential tasks are completed? Try using time management.
Introverts and Extroverts in Sales
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Most people think extroverts are natural salespeople, but in reality introverts have some unique advantages in a sales situation.
Time Management Tips for Sales Managers
Sales managers work long, long hours and yet frequently complain that they are always behind on their work. The issue might not be too much work but rather the wrong kind.
Objections and Conditions
Objections can be a positive sign in a sales situation, but conditions are never good news.

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