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    "I used to sell to less than 25% of my prospects after 3 meetings. Now I sell to over 50% of my prospects in the first meeting. I used to be a salesman - now I'm an order taker. It's almost boring."

    —Jay Kaiser,
    Financial Services

    Sales Training Techniques

    Prospecting Tip:
    Why We Don't Send Sales Literature

    Instructor Neil Myers answers this common question about High Probability Prospecting:

    Q. Why is it so important not to make any reference to a previous call (or literature, if you sent something) when you recontact someone. Could you please explain?

    A. The answer to your question is strongly related to "information overload", something that we are all subject to, and your prospect is, too.

    At any one time in our minds, there is space for a certain number of "wants". When you call a prospect, you should be asking if what you are offering is something they "want". If what you are offering is the one of things that they want at that time, they will say, "Yes".

    The person that you sent information to, however positive or enthusiastic they may have sounded when you called them, was not yet a HP prospect. If they had been, they would have immediately known that they wanted what you were offering- they would not have merely wanted information.

    The request for information, as long as it is not just a knee-jerk reaction to a telephone solicitation, is a sign the someone is moving up the decision-making pyramid. Call them back with another offer at another time.

    When you call them back, your objective in making an offer is to open a space in their mind that enables them to honestly answer the question,

    "Do I want what is being offered, now?"

    If "Yes", you have an HP prospect. If "no", then just put them on the call list, and perhaps increase call frequency.

    By contrast, consider this scenario. The prospect requests literature, you send it, and then follow up:

    "Hi, this is Marilyn, I sent you information on the widgets that you were interested in. What did you think? Did you read our incredibly interesting sales literature? Aren't we wonderful?".

    You have now become just another irritation crowding the prospect's mind, just another annoying salesperson, and he will probably lie out of habit, fear, and defense by saying something like,

    "Ah, yeah (meaning he doesn't have a clue who you are)... it was kind of interesting (translation: it went in the garbage with all the other stuff I get that stops me getting on with what is important to me)... but we are not ready to do any thing just yet, (translation: I'm not a HP prospect yet) why don't you call me back in 6 months (translation: I don't want you to call but I may need you for more information in the future, so I don't want to blow you off entirely.)"

    Done this way, the call is unproductive, is likely to generate an untruthful response, and may even tempt you to waste time in making a fruitless appointment, i.e. "Why don't you come in and show us what you've got?"

    There are myriad influences that lead people to become HP prospects. It is monumentally arrogant and self-delusory of us to imagine that it must have been that last brilliant piece of sales literature that "convinced" them that they must have what we are selling.

    Don't waste your time sending literature to 'interested' prospects. Just make an offer. Don't be surprised if the prospect interrupts you, and starts telling you what they want, which may are or may not be what you are offering, but may be something that you can sell them.

    When selling insurance, I often called with an offer, for say health insurance, only for the prospect to say, "No, we don't want that, but do you sell life insurance, too?"

    Then, I'd answer, (instead of disqualifying) and carry on disqualifying to see if there were potentially mutually satisfactory conditions for doing business, or enough to justify an appointment.

    It's amazing what happens when you start to prospect regularly and correctly.

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