Prospecting is where raw courage is needed in dealing with rejection. Our skills really come into play when we meet people face to face, the skills in dealing with people, skills in assessing the prospect’s needs and wants, their motivation, as well as skills in taking the complex products we deal with and explaining to them in a simple and understandable way in order that our prospect can see the benefits.

It is important to keep our presentations simple as out clients do not buy because they understand the product, they buy because they feel understood. Knowledge is needed but it is not to impress the prospect. Knowledge is important for the power it conveys through the self confidence it gives us. Being professional, trained and qualified, a confidence which comes from understanding that our advice is not probably right, it is absolutely, accurately, specifically the best thing for our client. The hardest thing about having knowledge is to know when to use it. Understanding this is the greatest advantage confidence brings.

We can make no progress when listening to ourselves, we are only moving forward when listening to our prospects. It does not matter what form of words are used, it is the spirit of the question which counts. If we are going to successfully sell to and serve the business and professional market place, we have to understand what our prospects are trying to achieve. When we fail to sell to a business owner, it is invariably because he sees the premiums competing with their own future plans. When we know exactly what they want to achieve and can show them how we can help them to reach their goals more quickly and more securely, then they will pay any premiums we ask.

The key to making a sale does not lie in what we say. The key is in what our prospects tell us. The most important information is not the specifics, the hard facts. The most important information is how they feel about their family, their business or their social responsibilities. These are known as feeling facts (often called soft facts), help us build an emotional picture of the prospect. Our job is to essentially help them understand for themselves what their priorities are. Life insurance is bought by people who care. It is not a case of the amount it costs but of the amount you care for those the prospects love. People buy insurance when they care enough to want to protect someone or something.

Human nature makes it hard to picture themselves growing old. It is harder for them to picture the virile character they see in the mirror being disabled and incapable of living and working in a full life and impossible for us to picture ourselves dying prematurely. Our job is to remind our prospects of their mortality. We need to find out how our prospects feel about those people and things which are important to them and then remind them of their own mortality. Outline in a way which cannot be misunderstoodm precisely what the financial impact of their mortality will be on those they care about, we can motivate them to take action.

If the prospect has a need for protection, it should be the number one priority with investment needs being secondary. It is our responsibility to tell our clients what they should be doing and remind them of their responsibilities. However, our responsibilities end there. The choice is their, as to whether or not they take our advice. As long as we have fulfiled our responsibility and tell them what we think they should do, the money is theirs and they have a right to choose how they want to spend their money. They have a right to set their own priorities.

Sales presentations should be modular. We should know exactly how we will present a specific plan. Our function is not to educate the prospects. No prospect remembers us for our knowledge. They remember us if they become our clients. Our job is to show them easily understood solutions to their problems and then motivate them to make decisions and another part of our job is to help and encourage our prospects in making decisions.

Our presentation needs to be planned, a pre-thought out sequence of words and sentences which will logically lead our prospect to a decision. We need to check at each step of the presentation that our client has understood. We must also be continually looking for affirmation before moving on to the next step and most importantly, we should be looking for commitment. We should also be trying to get some sort of financial commitment before actually presenting our recommendations. The earlier we get a commitment to an actual amount of premium, the better. Without a financial commitment, we can never close the sale.

Our prospects do not buy because they understand the product, they buy because they feel understood. It is the benefit we want, not the system of providing it. Many of us who may not be mechanically minded do not even care how it works, we only care that it works. It is the same with our service. Our prospect is only concerned that it does work and will solve their problems and be profitable for them.

(Adapted from “It Can Only Get Better – Tony Gordon’s Route to Sale Success”, Chapter 8: Face to Face by Tony Gordon)

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