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Give to Get

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What You Need to Know

  • Listen.
  • Share.
  • Sell.

Every time a person speaks, they are giving you information. When selling insurance or other products, the more you can learn about a person, the more opportunities you have for uncovering needs you can help address. How do you get people to open up?

When I started building my training and writing my book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” one of the HNW individuals I interviewed remarked: “Please teach them it’s conversation, not interrogation.” If you push or probe too much, barriers go up.

Here are five easy strategies when making conversation:

1. Volunteer information to get information.

“Where do you live” seems like a low key question. Here’s how to make is even easier: “My wife and I live in New Hope in Bucks County. Where do you live?”

2. Observe.

People give clues. Sometimes they don’t even realize it. Be on the lookout for interesting clothing or jewelry. “That’s an interesting pin. I’ve seen that emblem before. Were you in the military?” Here’s another example. “That an interesting broach you are wearing. Is it a family piece?” Stop talking. There’s likely a story behind the item you noticed.

3. Follow a negation answer with more information.

You might have experienced the following in dating situations: Do you play tennis? No. Do you play golf? No. Do you travel? No. You might get the feeling the other person is freezing you out. In prospecting, romance is off the table. The other person might not be a conversationalist. If you find yourself in that situation, give them something to work with: Do you play tennis? “No, but I enjoy racquetball. I’m out on the court three times a week, in all seasons.” This lets them know you would like the conversation to continue.

4. Find their passion

Many people have one. You know people who are environmentally conscious. Others are gearheads, being fascinated by cars, often one specific type. Others collect watches or own an RV the size of a bus. Ask questions like “What do you do for fun?” Draw them out. The quietest person in the room can be the most interesting once you identify their passion and draw them out.

5. “Tell me more.”

Let them do the talking. You might have the urge to say: “I like that rock band too!” Let them have the floor. When people are talking, they are usually having a good time. You can add your thoughts when they slow down. Draw them out. You are learning what makes them tick.

You’ve learned a lot. You’ve also made a good impression. They leave the conversation feeling they enjoyed talking with you. It’s the first step on the journey towards liking you.


Bryce SandersBryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides high-net-worth client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.