During my career in the finance industry, I had many occasions to discuss opportunities with prospects that centred around their investments, pensions, banking circumstances and the like.
I would listen attentively as they told me what had happened in the past, how they had sometimes burned their fingers with investments and how they had made killings in other situations.
It would give me all the information I needed to discuss their past needs and their current or present positions.
We would commiserate with each other when the economy was going belly-up, and slap each other on the back when it was going swimmingly.
But there came a time in every conversation when the ‘F’ word would be appropriate.
We’d have maybe spoken a lot about how the prospect had got to this situation and detailed how he felt about the whole thing. I’d shared anecdotes about others who had suffered the same fate. And then I’d do it…
I’d drop the ‘F’ bomb!
Now you’re probably thinking ‘Sean, I can understand how you can get pretty frustrated and annoyed in situations like that, so don’t be too hard on yourself.’
Yes, you’re probably right, and I often did get exasperated by the prospect’s procrastinating and dallying about the situation he was in. But I had something better to offer, so why didn’t they listen to me? Why didn’t they see I had the answer to their concerns and problems?
That’s why I had to use the word that many people don’t know when to use in front of a prospect. I had to bring the prospect to their senses. I had to change their frame of reference. I had to wake them from their slumber and make them realise they were thinking incorrectly.
Personally, I enjoy using the ‘F’ word. It gives me pleasure to utter it. It changes the way I think. It drives my passion and gets me in the right mood.
The concept that drives my passion and gets me really going is the future. And that’s the ‘F’ word that you, too, should be using a lot with prospects.
Ah, gotcha. You thought the “F” word was something completely different didn’t you?!
Of course, I’m talking about putting the emphasis on future focus.
Many prospects enjoy griping and whining about the present or even the past, two concepts that can’t be changed. The only area I and my prospects have control over is the future.
What I have to do is paint of picture of a different reality, one that hasn’t been created yet. We both have the chance to focus on something better, change current and present thinking so we can attract a variety of options into our lives and businesses.
So, when is the best time to use the ‘F’ word with the prospect? When you have enough information to create that picture of a preferred future for both you and the prospect.
You can determine when that is by determining the point where the prospect is ready for change, prepared to accept a variation in the journey they are on and willing to accept ideas and possibilities that help them to believe that a change from their current situation is the best way forward.
Putting the focus on the future during your conversation can be quite invigorating because you’re discussing something that can be changed in a moment, a blank sheet on which a myriad of options can be designed, constructed, thought-through, revisited, tapped into to, bludgeoned, crafted, axed, reformulated and created. Oh, that’s why I love that ‘F’ word so much!
It’s where we are going to spend the rest of our lives and can be welcomed with open arms. The prospect will signal the best time to bring it up. It’s normally when they don’t want to experience any more of what they are going through. The pain has reached and exceeded its threshold and they desire, nay, demand a differing outcome to what they would get if they continued on the same path.
That’s the time when the ‘F’ word is greeted with glee rather than shock. Identify what the future will bring, make it so attractive the prospect wants to live there too, and you’ll both be looking forward to F-ing with all your prospects!
MTD Sales Training
(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)