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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How to Get Prospects to Sell Themselves

How would you like to control your prospect’s thoughts?

You can control their thoughts and have your prospects to see solutions for themselves with appropriate questions. And you’ll make more sales. Before you learn how to do that, would you take two seconds and think about how your mother looked the last time you saw her?

With this simple question, I can make you form a mental picture. I can control your thoughts and that illustrates the power of questions as a mind control tool. You can consistently direct your prospect’s mental activity in the same way and have him reach the right conclusions on his own. This technique works only when the solution is in the prospect’s best interest so it won’t work as a manipulative process.

In a minute, I’ll show you an example. But first, consider the benefits:

• No more convincing or persuading
• No more objections (people can’t object to their own solutions)
• No more resistance to your recommendations

Let’s take an example of an insurance agent selling long term care insurance. Assume the insurance agent has already completed basic fact finding questions and has decided that long term care insurance would be beneficial and important for the prospect. Here’s how to get your prospect to see that solution himself:

Agent: What are your plans when your health changes?

Prospect: What do you mean?

Agent: You know that as people age their health declines. So as you age, what are your plans when your health changes?

Prospect: I never really thought about that seriously. I have good health insurance and I assume that’s adequate preparation.

Agent: Health insurance of course provides for you when you have an illness that they can cure in a few days in the hospital, but what happens if your health changes such that you can’t go shopping, you can’t take care of the house and you can’t walk up stairs?

Prospect: Well I certainly don’t want my children to have to take care of me

Agent: So what solutions do you think are available to you?

Prospect: I’m not really sure. I know people go to nursing homes but I could barely afford that

Agent: What other solutions do you think are available to you?

Prospect: There’s insurance, isn’t there?

Agent: Do you think you should consider that is one of the alternatives?

Prospect: Yes, but I don’t know anything about and I’m sure it’s expensive and I couldn’t afford it.

Agent: How much do you think it costs?

Prospect: Jeez, I have no idea, what, maybe $500 a month?

Agent: What if you could get insurance to allow you to stay in your home and have help come and assist you and could get that for $250 a month--would that seem to be reasonable solution?

Prospect: Is that really available?

Agent: If it were, would you want to know about it?

Prospect: Sure. I don’t want my children to take care of me and if I can’t take care of myself, what other choice do I have?

Agent: How would you pay for that?

Prospect: I have some investments from which I don’t take all the income.

Agent: For example?

Prospect: I have an annuity and I reinvest and I also have a mutual fund that I reinvest.

Agent: How much a month are you reinvesting?

Prospect: It’s over $1000 a month.

Agent: So if the insurance turned out to be a good solution, you know you can pay for it?

Prospect:—yes, if it’s about $250 a month

In the above conversation, the insurance agent did nothing but ask questions and the sale is about complete. Most salespeople talk too much and that makes selling hard. In fact, the more you tell, the less you sell. Selling is easy when you succumb to the new definition of selling: “The asking of appropriate questions so that your prospect sees the solutions for themselves.”
The payoffs to selling by asking questions are enormous. Questions increase your sales in five ways:

1. They direct your prospect’s thoughts. When you speak, your prospect’s mind wanders, he thinks up objections, he questions the validity of your facts, he questions your credibility and he may even think about what to have for dinner. But when you ask a question, you get laser-focused attention. We have been continuously trained to answer questions as accurately and completely as possible, starting from the first grade. Correctly answering questions is even the basis for most television game shows. So when you ask questions, you take advantage of your prospect’s training to provide their full attention and best answer.

2. Questions allow you to find out the necessary facts (ethically important for any advisor and legally important for securities licensees to comply with the “know your client” rule)

3. Emotional questions allow you to determine the “emotional facts” (your prospect’s likes/dislikes). If you don’t know how your prospect feels, you cannot make a recommendation that feels “right.”

4. Questions increase your stature and credibility in the prospect’s eyes (the fastest indicator of a person’s intelligence and caring are the questions they ask)

5. Questions allow you to maintain control of the conversation (the person asking the question controls the conversation, while the person answering has lost control).

You were taught to sell by some product-crazed insurance company and to talk about the features and benefits of the product but American’s hate to be talked at. In fact, we have an aversion to being told, or worse, being “told what to do.” Prospects become naturally resistant when being told. We self-reliant Americans find it preferable to discover things in our own. So why not allow your prospects to do that and help more people have what they want? And in the process, make more sales and get rich. That would be great, wouldn’t it?