I’ve found that agents who struggle with prospecting often fall into one of two categories: Those who try too hard and those who don’t really try very hard at all.
When I first started in this business, I was in the first category. My wife cringed when we attended social gatherings because she knew I would pester everyone about my business… And she was right! I tried so hard that I drove people away--but I learned from that. I learned to tone down my approach. I learned to get a lot better at asking the right questions to get my prospects talking about themselves and their unique concerns.
Agents in the second category hesitate to talk to anyone because they’re afraid they’ll drive people off like I did. They don’t want to be that pushy salesperson everyone avoids like the plague. Consciously or subconsciously, they avoid talking business altogether and leave thousands of dollars of business on the table for someone else to gobble up… in many cases from their most qualified prospects!
Here are my seven tips for prospecting in social settings:
Be aware of your personal air time. Use the 80/20 rule. Make your goal to speak only 20% of the time, and let your prospect have the floor for the other 80%. If you’re like me, you’ll never actually stay below 20%, but you’ll do better at generating adialogas opposed to amonologue.
Ask great open ended questions. Open ended questions often start with what, how, and why and really encourage your prospect to tell their story rather than answer with a simple yes or no. Have you ever tried talking with someone that just gives one word answers? It’s torture!
Be yourself. Keep things conversational. Relax and speak like you are talking with an old friend, even if that’s not the case. As soon as it begins feeling like an interview to them, it’s over.
Let them provide the wind.Treat your conversation a little like a sailboat. You guide the conversation with your “rudder” questions, and let your prospect provide the “wind” to keep the boat moving forward with their responses.
Know when to let it go.Almost everyone is a potential prospect, but not everyone is a good prospect. Know your qualification criteria, and when it becomes obvious the person doesn’t meet your criteria, gently transition to another topic. There’s nothing worse for your long term success than the stench of desperation.
Find a coach.There’s no better way to fast track your success than to learn from someone who has already been there. Whether you opt for a paid coach or an unpaid mentor, just be sure they know what they’re talking about. Choose someone that has had real success in your specific niche.
Practice.Role playing is a really good way to perfect your approach if you have someone to work with. Personally, I prefer to just dive in and practice under live fire. It doesn’t take long too figure out what works and what doesn’t when it’s real.
We’re all looking for prospects, but the irony is they’re all around us. All you have to do is keep your eyes open and take action. Your best move is your first move.
P.S. We here at PMG are humbled and honored to have been featured in the current issue of the IARFC Register magazine. If you haven’t seen it already, you can check it out online here. Thanks to all our agents and followers for making that possible.
Written by: Paul M Mallett SVP/COO Postema Marketing Group, LLC
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