Last week, I was speaking to a group of financial professionals. Also on the program was Nick Murray – financial services industry legend, author, and engaging speaker. I appreciated Nick’s passion for his message and exceptionally dry sense of humor.
At one point in his talk, Nick started to have some teasing fun about all the fear people seem to have f prospecting for new business.
Then he made a statement that pretty much sums up my philosophy about prospecting. A perspective, that if everyone would adopt – not only would they not be afraid of prospecting, the whole concept of prospecting and selling would be elevated to a more professional level. I’m paraphrasing, but essentially Nick’s said… “Prospecting is simply offering people something of value that will cost them nothing.”
When you see “prospecting” in this light, what’s there to fear? When you reach out to people via the phone, email, or LinkedIn – offering to send to them a short report, or quick assessment, a strategy session, or a complimentary evaluation – you’re leading with value. And the more you believe in your value, the more compelling your offer becomes.
Prospecting from Referrals
When you’re reaching out to prospects who have come to you through referrals or, better yet, introductions, that compelling offer is even more powerful. Why? Because you’ve learned about this prospect from your referral source and are then crafting your approach based on what you just learned.
An Educated Decision
If prospecting is offering value at no cost, then selling is simply the process of helping people make an educated decision. And keep in mind that helping prospects make an educated decision is not just about teaching and telling. It’s about asking – questioning their assumptions and interrupting their current patterns of thinking.
For the Courtship Too!
You’ve seen me write about this in the past and I’m sure I’ll write about it again… When you’re “courting” a prospect – waiting for the right time for them to meet with you or to make a decision – you want to come from the same “value-first” perspective. You want to have a series of ways to reach out to them that continues to educate them, that offers them new perspectives, and questions their assumptions.
Here’s the kicker!
When you have a process that’s designed to bring value first – without obligation – then not only are you making it easy for people to agree to meet with you, but you’re engaging in a process that will make you more referable sooner in new relationships. You’re “process” will be referable in its own right.