Successful Prospecting is a State of Mind
Do you suffer from “premature retrogression”? This odd sounding affliction coined by the late, great, Al Granum refers to natural clientele shrinkage unless you continually add sufficient business to stay ahead of normal attrition due to lapses, deaths and replacements. It’s a serious problem that you need to address before it strikes or it may be too late to correct.
Some advisors tell me that they are so busy servicing their business that they do not have any time to prospect. They are always busy and definitely too busy to do any prospecting. They are servicing clients; dealing with compliance and general administrivia. It’s the start of premature retrogression. It sets in slowly but inevitably, if you don’t pay attention. A prospecting mindset inoculates you against it.
Advisors who are “too busy” to prospect misunderstand the idea of great prospecting. They have the mistaken impression that prospecting is a separate activity on its own. They feel they have to schedule it, prepare for it and then head out to do it. These people make too much of it so that they build a wall around it making it harder to act on.
They are wrong. Prospecting is not as much an activity as it is a state of mind. When you have the right perspective on it – a new mindset, you change its nature and make it much easier to accomplish. When you think right, you will prospect all the time.
Prospecting is not looking for prospects. It is looking to eliminate the many more non-prospects to reveal the fewer prospects for your business. It’s like panning for gold that way. You have to move a lot of raw material (pay dirt) to reveal the gold nuggets you want, the prospects – but, it is absolutely worth it.
Five simple words, just this phrase, “And prospect while doing so…” is the key the prospecting mindset. When you have this mindset, you can be a great prospector. All great prospectors are great advisors. I believe that much of the trouble advisors have with this business can be cleared up when we assume this “prospecting mindset”. It’s the winning perspective on the whole business.
The magic of this “prospect while doing so” strategy is that prospecting becomes part of everything else you do. This way, you no longer have to go out and do it. Instead, you are doing it all the time doing everything else.
So, you can’t be too busy to prospect anymore. When you are busy doing other things, you are also busy prospecting. It is the winning perspective. For instance:
- Closing a sale? Ask your new client, “Now that you see the value of this product for your family, who comes to mind that you know should consider it too?
- Working with your staff? “Have you met anyone new lately who can use our services? Who are they?”
- Delivering a policy? “Who do you know who might also appreciate the sort of family protection you’ve arranged?”
- Shopping for anything? “You look like someone I would like to work with. Has anyone reviewed your life insurance portfolio lately? When can wee talk?”
- Having lunch? Ask the owner, “Has anyone has reviewed your business insurance polices recently?” Ask your waiter, “What do you want to happen if you couldn’t work because you got sick or injured?”
- Getting CE Credits? Ask a colleague, “Who does the life insurance in your investment practice?… Maybe I could apply for the job?”
It’s the prospecting mindset in action. Of course, you have to be willing and able to ask. If you can’t, you will be in trouble. Asking takes belief. Belief takes ownership too… If you believe in your product and service, it comes through when you ask. If you are just “selling”, prospecting will be a bust.
Don’t think that there is somehow, somewhere, a magic phrase that makes referrals flow like water. There is not. Results come from asking, not necessarily from what you say when you ask. You will get better results from an average talk that you use every day than a sol-called great line you never use.
Your results are better when you are referral worthy too – meaning that you have to be above suspicion – prospects need to know they can count on your integrity. Being above suspicion is what it means to be trustworthy. Eliminate any potential suspicion points and you will be trusted. You also have to be pleasant, because all things being equal, people prefer dealing with people they like. You have to be affable, amiable, accurate and available.
The result of not having a prospecting mindset is a rustiness that only makes the problem worse. All great prospectors and advisors have one thing in common, they are consistent. If you are, you will be one too.
Never be backwards about taking your business forwards. If you want to lead, you have to take charge of your prospecting. Finally, as I heard from someone today, “don’t go prospecting, prospect as you go”. That’s the prospecting mindset.