Learn how to start the sales process from an initial contact or when you first meet someone – three words “MAKE IT EASY!”
Networking with people can be the simplest thing in the world to do, if done right. But if I had to pinpoint the first challenge I see agents having when they start, it would be converting a hand shake into an appointment. I have spent an entire day with a new agent where he/she spoke to total strangers or made warm introductions; yet at the end of the day, they never made an appointment. For example, I had two agents who shadowed realtors for four months. The agents sponsored the realtors’ breakfasts and rode to appointments with them; but, the agents received only one referral. One referral in four months. And that referral never converted into a client. I was dumbfounded. How could this be? What happened? They both just shrugged their shoulders–clueless. Both agents are no longer in the industry, unfortunately. What does not make sense is that they are both very likeable people. I still talk to them and have become wonderful friends. I have asked myself what happened here. Where did I train wrong? I see agents interacting with new people every day, in multiple situations and circumstances, and they never ask for a meeting.
Here is what I have found. It’s not that they don’t want to ask or don’t need to ask – it’s more that they don’t really know what to say, or how to communicate without appearing or sounding “salesy”. Agents quit, and one of the main comments in an exit interview that I hear from them is, “I am just not a salesperson, apparently; I cannot get people to want to meet”. This statement indicates that I failed in training them. We train on all the products, presentation, procedures, closing and objections, right? But the reason these two agents failed could have been they simply did not know the right words to say when they did meet with people. In train, we assume that they know the simplest things; so, we look right over what may be most vital. They really did not know how to start the sales process from an initial contact.
- The first thing to we need to understand and to employ in our approach when networking is to always put ourselves in the prospect’s shoes.
I hate changing bank accounts. I very much dislike taking the time to change anything unless I know it’s going to be worth it in a major way. Don’t you think our prospects think the same way? Do you think, even for one second, that the prospects think you are really going to make a large enough difference for them to go through headache and trouble of changing agents? Of changing bank drafts? Of changing from a known and trusted relationship to an unknown and unfamiliar one?
We of course default to talking about ourselves, it’s somewhat natural. There is nothing wrong with that, but how do you transition to making a connection? You have to say something about yourself and your business to gain the prospects attention;
- Who you are.
- What you’re about.
- How you help people.
You can say just about anything here; which trainers call your elevator speech. But whatever you say, consider step two!
- What I always try to remember is to “keep it easy”.
Make it easy on them! What do I mean? Let’s say you communicated the perfect ‘Let’s get together’ 30-second elevator speech. The prospect responds, “Sure, give me your card.” Have you heard, “Sure, look me up on LinkedIn” only to find when you call them later or connect on LinkedIn, they have lost interest? Right here is where we must make it easy!
- Here is an example of how to say it and make it easy: “Mrs. Prospect, here is my card; however, my clients find it very easy to do business with me. All I need to get started is your home address and cell number.”
I start to hand her my business card as I say this, but instead of giving this card away, I flip it over and use it to write her home address and cell phone on the back. Then I pull out another business card, and give this one away.
- I follow up by saying, “Great, I am excited to see what I can do for you as we have been tremendously competitive. I will start to work on this for you and will be in touch.”
Is this all I will need? Of course, not! I’m just getting the process started. But I can actually find out much about the home with just the address. Number 3 is key.
- Once the process has begun the client feels obliged to continue.
Now when I contact them, I am sure to let them know I have been working on their behalf.
- At this point I can do a little research about their home and then call them back. I would say, “Mrs. Prospect, your home looks great, and I really think with the age and area of your home I may can do some really good things.”
Then I would start my fact-finding process, or what I call the QQQ (Quick Quote Questionnaire). My goal, if they are tracking along with me, would be to get a copy of their declaration pages. I will cover this more in detail later.
The bottom line is that I made it easy. I took an initial greeting and moved the ball down the field into an initial quote, and eventual VSP presentation (REF Chapter 7). Saying that we will connect later is a death sentence. This is what my two agents that marketed together were missing. They just did not know how to start the process. They laughed and ate, they shook hands, and became known on first name basis. They entrenched themselves in the businesses of these realtors; yet, they never started the process of converting these connections into clients. They could have started this by simply stating to a prospect, “All I need is your home address to see if I can help you.” If the answer is no, then there’s your answer, and it is time to greet someone else. I can say from experience most will say, “YES”, because you made it easy on them to take the first step!
As I mentioned earlier, most people have a huge objection to change. Change is uncomfortable. Change is inconvenient. To overcome this obvious objection, I clarify this right up front by saying, “My goal is to help you regardless of whether I become your agent. I will help advise you even if that means keeping you right where you are. If I can help you in a meaningful way, I will do all the work and make the process easy.”
In summary, the make it easy sales process includes the following:
- Making it EASY to connect,
- Making it EASY to start the process,
- Making it EASY to do business, and
- Making it EASY to change.
I want my clients to have the best of both worlds – an easy transition and a value-packed process. So, go out today and practice making it easy to do business with you! Remember, if you get their address, the process has started and most will follow through. When I go out to events or to any public setting, by time I get back to the office, I have several names and addresses. ALSO, REMEMBER: WHEN TAKING OR GIVING A BUSINESS CARD, ALWAYS TURN IT OVER AND WRITE THE PROSPECT’S HOME ADDRESS ON THE BACK.