A metaphor I've been using a lot
lately in my coaching sessions with financial advisors who want to do
more prospecting is prospecting for gold. We have all
seen the photos and the movies about the rough and tumble days of the
old west and the rugged life of panning for gold. It occurred to me
that there is an important analogy between panning for gold and
prospecting as a relationship builder (vs. a client controller).
As a relationship builder you see your prospect as someone you want to
be friends with whether they buy anything right now or not. You are
building bridges for the future. You are looking for people you have
chemistry with and not people you can conquer. You are looking for
people who want your help. You are not throwing everything at people
but the kitchen sink to get an appointment and then hoping to wear
down your prospect until they give in and write you a check. The
latter style is what I call the traditional approach of dominance and
control which is still being taught by most sales cultures.
The traditional approach to selling teaches us that everyone is a
potential client and our job is to turn them into a client. The
analogy I have been making to panning for gold is this.
The way we are taught to
sell is the equivalent of taking your pan of gravel, finding a good
looking stone and then trying to turn it into gold. The
traditional approach to selling is about doing everything you can to
take that plain old worthless stone and magically turn it into gold by
getting that stone to become a client. Sure it's possible, and there
are a few advisors who are very good at it. But is that really the
most efficient and effective approach if your are a relationship
If you told a bunch of prospectors back in the late 1940's that their
job was to turn those ordinary stones into gold, they would question
your sanity. Anybody knows it is a lot easier to look for an actual
piece of gold rather than try to turn an ordinary stone into something
it is not. And that is exactly what I have been telling my
relationship oriented financial advisors... stop trying to turn
ordinary stones into gold.
When you are prospecting in the financial services business,
offer a lot. Tell people you are going to teach them what
smart people are doing with their conservative money. Tell them you
will talk about whatever is of interest to them. You will answer their
questions. There is no cost for this meeting and there is nothing to
buy so there is absolutely no sales pressure. This is a free service
worth thousands of dollars, even tens of thousands of dollars to the
prospect. Then if they don't show some interest, you give them
one more chance because people are conditioned to never be too excited
about any offer the first time. If they don't show interest on the
second version of your offer (you can almost say the exact same thing
again), you walk. You don't try to turn that stone in to gold.
It's too much work. As a relationship builder it's not your
strength to argue with people or to turn around disinterested people.
You will do much better if you continue on your search for people who
express some interest in your offer. They don't have to express a lot
of interest, but at least some!
Yes, the "looking for some interest" approach requires more trust and
faith. Yes, you will walk away from people you could have turned into
clients if you had ten meetings with them! (It takes ten interviews to
turn an ordinary stone into gold.) But here is the reality. I have
thousands of converts to the "only work with gold prospects" approach
who would never go back to the aggressive and controlling way they
were trained to sell. They are making too much money and having too
much fun only working with the prospects who show some interest. They
are the gold nuggets.
If you want to learn more about the low-key approach for relationship
oriented financial advisors, as far as I know, I have the biggest
website with the most free stuff on the subject. Check it out at
Enjoy the summer,
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