Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you. My objective today is to assist you in building a better business by improving your ability to gain referred leads and also to show you some proven prospecting and networking methods.
Here are some ideas about having more effective meetings and referrals that I have heard from MDRT members in different countries around the world.
Who are you asking the referrals for?
Most of us as professionals feel a bit uncomfortable asking for things that would benefit us personally. It’s always easier to ask for something that helps someone else than for something that helps you. Most of us feel strongly about the company or companies we represent (otherwise we would not represent them).
Therefore, MDRT members I interviewed feel more comfortable asking for referrals for the company they represent than for themselves.
Advisor (A): I noticed that you look pretty happy with your policy.
Client (C): Yes, I feel I will sleep better at night.
A: You are right. It is remarkable how many innovative financial products like this ABC Life has developed. Who do you feel, in your circle or among your colleges, might possibly benefit from ABC Life products?
Many people also feel strongly about education.
A: Mrs. Jansen, do you think that Mr. Bruin made a good decision when he referred this ABC educational plan to you?
C: Yes, I feel strongly about education.
A: Do you know others who feel the same way?
Are you getting the names first and the stories later?
A: Who could you think of who might benefit from a similar plan to yours?
C (Mrs. Curie): Well, I guess you could check with Heinz Krauthammer.
C: He said he nearly caught the Swiss version of the Loch Ness Monster. He was fighting for two hours to land it and then it got away.
Ten minutes later Mrs. Curie says with a big smile:
C: Well, now you too know the Krauthammer story.
True, but you only got one referral. This seems to work better:
C: Well, Mr. Krauthammer might be interested.
A: ‘Hmmm, Krauthammer. Who else?
C: Well, eh, maybe Madame Des Champs.
A: (nodding) Hmmm, who else?
C: Oh, well, I guess you could talk to my brother-in-law, too.
After you have several names, you can get the details about each one. Of course, you try to get the details on the referral that looks the most promising first. Then you whip out your smartphone:
A: Would you mind calling Madame Des Champs for me?
C: Well, eh, eh…
A: Or would you rather have me call her?
C: Well, eh, yeah, you know…
A: I understand. Could you give me her number, please?
Can you speak the language of your target markets?
In Monument Valley, on the Utah-Arizona border, I was once staying at Goulding’s Lodge, and I overheard two Native Americans, an Apache and a Navaho, talk to each other.
They spoke neither Apache nor Navaho. The Navaho could not speak Apache and the Apache could not speak Navaho. They spoke English. Linguists say that about 3,000 years ago all Native American languages were the same language. Now there are more than 5,000 different Native American languages.
Even among the Native Americans, the people in the valley have always worked hard to prove they’re a little better because they say things a little bit differently from those people over the hill.
Who are you? By using words and putting your sentences together the way the client does, you prove that you are part of the “tribe” of the client. Therefore, it makes sense that you should be listened to and referred to other members of the tribe.
I noticed the top producers always use different words when talking to different people. They try to customize their message in the language that can be understood by the client they are working with. In other words, they tune in before they decide what they are going to broadcast.
This helps you get referrals to people in that target market. For instance:
o “Mrs. Doctor, I recommend we do a thorough examination of your financial health. Then we will prepare a careful diagnosis. Our objective is to develop a financial prescription that ensures you the best possible long-term financial health with the least amount of short-term negative side effects.”
o “Mr. Contractor, this financial plan puts your family on a solid financial foundation right away no matter what happens. Then month after month, you build up your cash value.”
o “Mr. Truck Driver, every truck driver knows that the sooner you leave, the earlier you get there. It seems to me that you are a little bit late already to get to your destination. Let’s not waste time anymore and get going on this.”
o “Mr. Farmer, life insurance is like your crop out there in the field. You plant it. You keep taking care of it. At the end of the term you harvest what you planted. In the meantime your harvest is protected from everything.”
o “Mr. Police Officer, other police officers said that if they did not stop their runaway expenses right now and start saving, their family could be sentenced to years of poverty.”
o “Mr. Lawyer, we are here today to see if a case can be made for a financial plan. We will examine all the relevant financial evidence-for and against. Then you give your verdict–yes or no.”
o “Ms. Opera Singer, life is full of drama. Let’s create a policy today that gets some of the drama out of your financial life.”
o “Mrs. Teacher, most people in education usually are not so knowledgeable about the different financial choices that are available. Our purpose today is to learn more about what is available in the financial world these days.”
o “Mr. Computer Programmer, you never know when there is going to be a financial breakdown. This insurance is like a system backup.”
o “Mr. Soccer Star, in soccer you score if you go to where the ball will be, not to where it is. In five years, when you said you plan to leave the field, your checks will not be following you anymore. Other soccer players feel this plan is a defensive and offensive move at the same time. Getting protection is the defensive part and accumulating capital is the offensive move. But your plan is like a soccer ball. It does not move by itself. In finances, just like in soccer, you cannot score if you do not shoot.”
o “Mr. General, other generals feel it is their duty to tackle these financial challenges head on. The longer you delay attacking them, the stronger they get. Our purpose today is to design a time-tested strategic plan to prevent your family from being financially ambushed.”
o “Ms. Makeup Artist, wouldn’t it beautiful if you could somehow make your financial future as pretty as you make your clients?”
o “Mrs. Nurse, yes, you are right. The payments are going to hurt a little. But that’s the price you have to pay for good financial health.”
As you can see, by learning the language of prospects a relationship is much easier to build.
A client gave you a referral. You called the person to set up a meeting. He said, “Not now.” No meeting. But you kind of felt you could and would have gotten that meeting if only somehow you had sounded a bit more convincing.
Before an opera performance, the singers practice so that they sound good when the curtain goes up instead of when it goes down. So some MDRT members do a Pavarotti and warm up with “maintenance calls” to clients who already had referred them before they make a call to a new referral.
This would of course put them in a good mood because these clients are happy to hear from them, especially since they are not trying to sell them anything. They then sound much more self-confident when they make important calls to new referred people.
By the way, did you know that Pavarotti used to sell life insurance? This opera thing was just a big dream for him. Life insurance sales paid the bills. In fact, when the insurance company offered him a unit manager position, Mrs. Pavarotti pleaded with him to accept it. He had to promise Mrs. Pavarotti that if after the next performance in Trieste he did not finally get a singing contract, he would stop the opera nonsense and start working as a full-time unit manager.
He got the contract. The industry lost a mediocre manager. Opera gained the greatest tenor of all time.
Are you thickening the thread you are hanging on?
The only connection between you and the referral is the referrer. That’s a pretty thin thread to hang on to. You want to try to make that thread thicker right away. You could do this by showing how the referrer and you have discussed the referral and his situation. In other words, you want to prove that you have done your homework about him.
Of course, you also sound better and more convincing for the referral if you accentuate certain words and make them sound good:
A: Hello, is this Mr. Duhrer?
C: Yes, speaking.
A: Hello, Mr. Duhrer. This is Erik Vos from ABC Life. Mr. Albrecht recommended I give you a call. I hope I am not catching you at a bad time.
C: What can I do for you?
A: Last Wednesday Mr. Albrecht and I had a meeting. Mr. Albrecht had heard about some of the financial services of ABC from a friend of his. We managed to come up with a pretty interesting financial construction for the Albrecht family. He said you have been in the hotel business for…was it 15 1/2 years?
A: Yeah, right, 16 years. Mr. Albrecht suggested that it might be an interesting idea if we meet. He thought you might possibly have an interest in the financial products of ABC, too. Let’s meet next week to see if one or more of the latest ABC financial products could be useful for you and your family either now or maybe some time in the future.
As you can see this is not a very pushy script.
Are your action and motion words fighting the prospect’s maybe?
Most of the time, your clients do not say yes. They do not say no. They say maybe.
Then is it possible that if you use “anti-maybe words,” such as motion words, you could help your prospects make a decision? The ultimate “motion” would be a decision, wouldn’t it?
So if you could get the prospects to talk about some of their past big decisions, the prospects could feel a bit more relaxed and self-confident about their ability to make a move instead of doing nothing.
o “How did you decide to get into the building business?” (This helps the prospect to realize that he or she can make big decisions and things turn out okay.)
o “Mr. Prospect, what made youdecide to move from Smallville to Bigville?”
o “Yes, Mr. Prospect, you’re right. Other contractors who started their business also put all their money into the business when they began. Now many have decided to put 10% aside and invest into long-term savings.”
Other motion words:
o “Mr. Engineer, this plan transfers the risk away from your family on to the insurance company. Do you think it might be possible for you and your family to change your spending pattern and start putting funds away and accumulate some capital?”
o “This plan has helped other teachers arrive at a position where they are in a comfortable financial situation.”
o “Mr. Client, if you would have started this program three years ago, you would already have built up some savings.”
o “Many people find it difficult to get out of a situation in which they spend all their income every month and are vulnerable for a calamity, and turn it into a situation in which they have built a nest egg.”
Are you helping clients to understand?
I tried to get my prospects to understand that it would be a smart idea to get some life insurance. I did my best to explain all their options. But many times I felt that I did not seem to be getting through. They had to think about it. They just did not seem to understand.
When I complained to my former agency manager, Harvey Levine, he said, “How do people understand things? As you have probably noticed people usually do not understand things by thinking about them. The more people think about something, the less they seem to understand it.”
o A cat understands things by smelling.
o Blind people understand things by touching.
o People hear things and understand.
o The Dutch say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
No wonder the prospect did not understand. I was selling life insurance. Life insurance is invisible, untouchable, and unable to be tasted. So I figured the more sense words I used, the more “real” our meeting would become. Therefore it’s better to say:
o I have heard many managers mention this.
o You’ve probably heard about the ABC Financial Services Company.
o Other secretaries also smell trouble with the government’s ability to provide them with a good pension.
o This is money you cannot touch, so it just keeps on growing.
o You have probably seen other farmers take action.
o You have probably noticed that quality education is not getting cheaper.
There are two things in life we all seem to have too little of: time and money. When you meet a prospect, he might feel that you want to remind him that his time might be up unexpectedly (and even more ironically, that he has to pay for this). No wonder most people do not look forward to meeting life insurance advisors!
Unfortunately, you can’t sell time in a bottle. But if you show prospects that you are there to help them to get money instead of lose money, won’t they be more willing to listen to you?
Everybody hates to pay but loves to get paid:
o “Life insurance is simple: If you live, the insurance company pays you. If you don’t, it pays your family. Just imagine that you would have made this wise decision today. Now let’s imagine it’s 2015. Nothing has happened to you. You get a nice check. If in 2015 you were to look back at today, would you then say that you had made a wise decision today?”