The Ten Commandments of Prospecting
Read More: Mindset | Personal Development | Prospecting | Sponsoring and Recruiting
No two reps are identical and we all have different styles of prospecting. Nonetheless, all professional prospectors are similar in one respect: they all incorporate the same basic tenets into their respective styles. In this post, we identify these tenets. There are ten of them. I call them the Ten Commandments of Prospecting. In some ways, the dynamics of on-line prospecting are dramatically different from prospecting in day-to-day situations. When it comes to situational prospecting, the commandments non-negotiable. Read them from that perspective.
I first published the commandments in my book (TBA). I believe "commandments" is an appropriate description. Not because my desk caught fire one day and suddenly a list of ten edicts appeared on a new page in the manuscript. No, they're commandments in the sense that they should be followed by everyone, but ultimately, we as individuals have the choice whether or not to do so. Also, like the commandments in the Old Testament, the commandments of prospecting come with a warning: there's a cost to pay for ignoring them...
I. Thou shalt prepare thyself through personal development.
This is absolutely crucial. Master prospectors can relate to a wide range of people in a minimum amount of time. Personal development fosters the required skills and makes you more attractive to others. The less value you see in personal development, the more you need it. See the (TBA) for a few suggestions on where to get started.
II. Thou shalt not pressure the prospect.
It doesn't matter if you think you're pressuring the prospect. It only matters what the prospect perceives. If he feels pressured, your offer will come across as one-sided. Your offer is good for the prospect so don't cause him to think otherwise. The rule here is: less pressure = more interest.
III. Thou shalt keep the prospect's perspective as thine own.
In the book, this concept is referred to as "The Secret Ingredient". Your words, actions, tone, physiology, in fact, everything you do and say, broadcast signals that mold the prospect's perception of your offer. For example, if you say "I" instead "you" you are speaking from your perspective, not the prospect's. What signals have you been broadcasting?
IV. Thou shalt ask questions and not make statements.
Selling is not telling. Selling is asking. Make no mistake, when you prospect someone, you are selling. You are selling him on the notion that you have something he wants. When you make statements you are providing the kind of information that encourages the prospect to say "no". On the other hand, when you ask [appropriate] questions, the prospect will often convince himself that he needs what you have.
V. Thou shalt be positive, pleasant, and professional.
This commandment speaks for itself. In general, people don't enjoy negativity. And what's true about people in general, is especially true about prospects. Don't repel your prospects by projecting negativity. No griping, no destructive humor, and by all means keep pessimistic opinions to yourself.
VI. Thou shalt be relatable in all thine actions.
The prospect must believe that he can do what he sees you doing. If you exhibit a behavior he's not comfortable with, you decrease the odds that he'll be interested in your offer. For example, let's say that you offer "some information" about an "exciting opportunity" and the prospect agrees to take a look. If you open your car to grab a DVD and the prospect sees a dozen of them laying on the back seat and floorboard, he's probably going to lose interest fast. Why? Because now he starts making assumptions: (1) he's got to buy large quantities of DVDs, (2) you approach everyone in an assembly line fashion, (3) he's got to approach total strangers everywhere he goes, and (4) the "exciting opportunity" represents disorder (after all, look the mess on your floorboard). If you give the prospect the impression that can't or wouldn't want to follow your example, your aren't being relatable.
VII. Thou shalt realize that sowing comes before reaping and that reaping comes only in due season.
Becoming a professional prospector is not an overnight process. It's based on personal growth and practice both of which take time. Give yourself permission to take time. Who you are is who you attract. Therefore, the more you develop as a person, the more you will attract the kind of person that you're really looking for. The logical conclusion to this thought is that the more you practice and the more you improve yourself, the faster your business will grow.
VIII. Thou shalt not commit Information Regurgitation.
You are a messenger. You are not the message. If you say too much, you tell the prospect enough to say "no", but not enough to say "yes". It took you a while to learn enough to be excited enough to talk to total strangers, right? Is it fair to dump that knowledge on the prospect in a 90-second conversation? Never serve water from a fire hydrant— it tends to wash away the one drinking.
IX. Thou shalt trust in thine prospecting tools.
This one is a corollary to the eighth commandment and I urge you to take it to heart. In the past, not obeying this commandment, cost me a lot of money. The tools (DVD's, magazines, etc.) provided by your company were created to address multiple learning styles (i.e., visual, auditory, etc.) very few people have the skills to engage the prospect with the same level of impact. Even if you do have the skills, does your team? Make sure you are behaving in a manner that your team can duplicate. Tools are duplicable. That alone is enough reason to use them.
X. Thou shalt follow up with purpose and in a timely manner.
It's been said many times: "The fortune is in the follow-up." The prospect is not about to make a quality decision on the spot. So, by definition, you're going to have to call him at a later time. If you don't, you won't make money. Develop a plan or script for your follow-up calls. Also, call back in a reasonable time period, otherwise you devalue your offer. Above all else, make the call! I know of several cases where fortunes have been lost simply because the original rep failed to follow-up.
That's it—the Ten Commandments of Prospecting. You may be thinking, "That's all? Those are common sense. I feel like I already knew those things." Well, in my experience, common sense is not always so common. It's not enough to be able to recite the commandments of prospecting. You must internalize them, weave them into the very fabric of your being. Ideally, you will follow them sub-consciously, on automatic pilot.
It's easy to state what to do. The how is bit more involved. It's not particularly difficult, but it does require a concerted effort over time. We'll cover some of the specific how-to's in future articles.
"Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them." —H.L. Mencken
Knock 'em alive,
Copyright ©2008 Russ McNeil
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