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Practice Management > Building Your Business

The No. 1 sales mistake you might be making

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Are you in the habit of asking everyone you do business with to return the favor? One of the largest life insurance sales I ever made was to my wife’s jeweler. Do you buy hardware? There are quite a few hardware stores in every town. You should know every owner. The employees at Home Depot might be helpful but they won’t pay your bills.

Where did you buy your last car? Do you know the owner of the dealership, the CFO, the general manager? Do you eat out? You should visit different restaurant every time you go out. Even the chain restaurants have general managers or partners. McDonald’s has franchises. Have you met the owners or even the managers who can introduce you to the owners? Is your dentist a client? How about your general practitioner? Your wife’s doctor should be a client. Do you buy business cards? Who’s the printer? Who’s the manager of your local grocery store, department store, toy store?

It’s a very simple thing to talk to these managers, get their contact information and start dripping email, voicemail, snail mail, etc. If you feel guilty or uncomfortable to ask them to do business with you, you need to adjust your attitude. If they have a problem with it, take your business elsewhere. It’s perfectly acceptable for a business owner to have a previously established relationship, so he would have no need for your services, but if they simply don’t wish to have a conference with an introduction to what your practice offers, that’s a problem.

I once asked a manager of a tire store for an introductory appointment. He appeared offended that I asked for a meeting. He liked selling me tires, but when it came to a reciprocal arrangement, he bristled. I haven’t bought tires from him since. I’m sure he doesn’t miss my business, but I feel better, and I offer my business to a different store. I’ve already met the manager. If I can do business with the manager, the next step would be an introduction to the owner.

Follow through is critical. I’ve written in past articles about a marketable practice. Your practice must have elements and concepts that are clearly beneficial and valuable to the prospect. If the prospect feels like your mission is just to get his money by selling him something, you’ve lost. Your lead offer must have defined value. I have a very powerful lead in discussion that offers the prospect an opportunity to feed his greed. People want to be successful. They want to gain more, especially business owners.

I ask them where they place excess capital. Then I teach them that their excess capital should work as hard for them as the capital they have invested in their primary business. That’s a very exciting concept. Once they have trusted me with some of their capital, I can teach them how to protect and insure it.

Cold calling is extremely uncomfortable and loaded with rejection. Reciprocal business dealings are understood and acceptable. People have a tendency to feed what feeds them. Make a habit of sending business clients some referrals, then let them know to be on the lookout for your referrals.

When you recommend your dentist to a friend, be sure to mention that friend to your dentist on the next visit. He will appreciate the business. You can have a pleasant discussion like “Did you meet my friend, Charlotte? I sent her over because of the wonderful job you do for me.” You can talk a little about your friend so that you create some common ground with the dentist. Then you can have a “by the way” discussion. At the end of your visit ask the dentist for permission to call for an appointment to discuss excess capital. Then get on his calendar. If you can start with your dentist, then you will have an open door to other dentists and their staffs’ needs.

This is just one more method you can use to become a wealthy producer.