by Bob Burg
When we left off last article, you had just met some nice, quality people at a local area event. Maybe it was a “business-after-hours-type of function.” Possibly a charity ball. Maybe it was simply a party you attended at a friend’s home, where you didn’t know many of the others who were there. And, using the prospecting/networking principles discussed, you did quite well. What you *didn’t* do was “hit anybody over the head” regarding your terrific products/services, opportunity, etc.
Instead, you focused on them, asking feel-good questions and even introducing those you met to others. While being very low-key and unassuming, you positioned yourself nicely as a “center-of-influence.” You established a very nice, comfortable, beginning relationship with your prospect. Maybe you even met several people whom you feel you’d like to work with and present them with the opportunity to do so. So now what? Here is one effective option.
Send a thank you note to every new prospect you meet which whom you wish to take to the next step. Hand-write this on an 8 1/2 x 3 1/2 (fits nicely inside a #10 envelope) notecard. This notecard has some brief contact information as well as a small, professional picture of yourself. It is NOT a direct response piece, but simply a thank you note. (For a free sample of this notecard send a 37 cent stamped, self-addressed envelope to P.O. box 7002, Jupiter, FL 33468-7002.) The note, written in blue ink, typically reads: “Hi Mary, it was a pleasure meeting you. If I can ever refer business your way, I certainly will.” Then sign your name. At this point, please don’t include your business card or make any reference to what you do.
You might ask, “Well, why do I need to include my picture; won’t my prospect remember me?” Maybe . . . and maybe not? Remember the saying, “out of sight, out of mind”? Let’s face it; regardless of how quickly you elicited their good feelings toward you, the minute the conversation is over, they leave to their own challenges, meet other people, handle different situations, etc. You want to give them every opportunity to remember you as the person they met who made them feel good (remember, “feel-good” questions) about themselves. And the fact is, as human beings, we think in pictures (if you doubt that, just try not picturing a purple elephant right now! See?). As such, a small, classy, professional picture will go a long way towards this person feeling very comfortable with you when you decide to approach them to see the business when you choose to.
But what about e-mail? “Can’t I just send an e-mail note?” Well, you can do anything you want. However, if you truly desire to separate yourself from the masses, then make your first personal note of the “paper-and-ink” variety. Doing this has always set the top producers apart. Even more so now that e-mail has taken such strong hold of our mode of communications! After that, e-mail is an excellent idea, when appropriate.
From this point on, you can keep yourself on his or her mind by sending notes of any relevant interest — regarding his or her hobbies, sports, charitable causes, etc. — or hopefully even referring business, introducing that person to someone who can help her in her business.
When you are ready to invite your prospect to see your product, service, or business idea (or simply to ask for referrals), he or she will remember you, and with good feelings.
Now it’s time for the call. What do you say? Remember, there is no pressure. You are now consistently meeting and building relationships with so many quality people, that if this person isn’t interested, so what? Say your favorite four letter word (N-E-X-T) and move on to the next prospect.
As your list grows bigger and bigger, and you know that the success of your business is not dependent upon any one person being interested, you develop a much better emotional “posture.” I describe posture as: when you care . . . but not that much. And what’s interesting is that when the prospect realizes that you don’t really care all that much, suddenly he or she is much more interested. And again, if they aren’t, fine.
What do you say when making the invite? If you are in general sales and are wanting to present your product or service to this person, simply call and ask a question which demonstrates how what you do may be of benefit to them. Remember, regardless of how good they feel about you, they are more interested in how you can help them rather than how they can help you. At least for now.
If you are calling with the goal to ask for referrals, you might say, “Dave, I’m in the process of expanding my referral-based business, and for that to happen, it’s very helpful for me to partner with my clients and friends, such as yourself. Could we get together for a quick cup of coffee perhaps go over a few names of people you feel I might be able to help?” If you’ve developed the “know you/like you/trust you” relationship with that person and they are at the point where they desire to help you, this is very effective.
What about if you are in Direct Sales or Network Marketing? How about something very simple such as, “Hi Jane, this Tom. I’m expanding a business project in this area with some very successful people, and I’m looking for a few already very successful, business-minded people who are open to making more money or diversifying their income. Would that include you?
Note: Use different words for different prospects. If you are speaking with someone you perceive is already financially well-off, you probably won’t want to use the words “make more money.” Instead, maybe focus on “creating more time in their life.” Always seek counsel from your upline for answers to specific questions.
When they ask, “what is it?” you need to have an answer, without trying to explain the business over the phone. If you present this business over the phone, you will give them just enough information to make a major decision in their life based on very limited information. And that decision will most likely be “no.” At the same time, if you refuse to offer any response, they may become suspicious (who could blame them?) and not agree to meet with you. Seek advice from your upline regarding a response that fits your particular opportunity.
As your list gets bigger, you’ll want to take less time and go through less steps (meeting, thank you notes, notes of interest, etc.) from when you initially meet your prospects to when you invite them to look at your business. The more steps you take to get to that point, the better the odds are that they’ll agree to meet with you, but the bigger your list is, the more “no’s” you can afford to get without causing any internal panic, so the choice is yours.
In the next article, specifically geared toward those in Direct Sales or Network Marketing, we’ll learn how to acquire lots of names in just one sitting, how to pre-qualify (not pre-judge) your prospects immediately, and the one sentence that will tell you how to bring up the business, whether or not you want to work with this person, and how to work with the opening they give you based on their response. What could this one sentence be?
Bob Burg www.burg.com speaks on “How to Cultivate a Network of Endless Referrals” and “The Art of Positive Persuasion.” He is author of ENDLESS REFERRALS: Network Your Everyday Contacts Into Sales. And WINNING WITHOUT INTIMIDATION: How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion (each with over 100,000 copies sold). He also has a free weekly ezine newsletter which you can receive by visiting his website and hitting the appropriate icon. If you’d like Bob to speak at your next convention, please contact Chris Widener’s Speakers Bureau.
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