Sidney C. Walker
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September 2012

'Warm-up' Before You
Make Prospecting Calls... (Dice Game)

by Sidney C. Walker

 


Here's another excerpt from my new "sales adventure" novel. Sophia (the coach) is helping Luke (the financial advisor) get on the telephone and make some appointments. This is a couple pages longer than my usual newsletter but it reads fast and there is lots of good info here. The bold type is to emphasize key points and won't be in the final version.

 

Sophia starts the dialogue:

 

"Alright. Let's do a warm up for getting on the phone. Here's how it works. I say a reason not to make a call. Then you repeat the reason out load after me and then roll your dice. 7's, 11's and doubles are appointments. Anything else is a call that didn't go anywhere. You roll ten times. Write down how many appointments you get. Got it?"

"Let's do it."

"Number One. Repeat after me: 'I don't feel like prospecting today.' Now roll the dice."

 "Ok. 'I don't feel like prospecting today.' Seven! Got my first appointment."

"You're my hero. Number 2: 'It never seems like the right time to call.'

"'It never seems like the right time to call.' Five. No appointment, darn."

"Number Three: 'This person is probably already working with a financial advisor.'"

"'This person is probably already working with a financial advisor.' Doubles, two threes, appointment!"

"That's good 2 out of 3. Number Four: 'I'm not sure what to say to this person.'"

"'I'm not sure what to say to this person.' Nine. Boo..."

"Number Five: 'I can make these calls tomorrow.'

"'I can make these calls tomorrow.' Eleven, appointment!"

"You know the most significant thing about tomorrow?"

"What's that?

"Tomorrow never comes. Number Six: 'I don't have time to prospect.'

"'I don't have time to prospect.' A three and a one is four. Shoot!"

"Now let me ask you an important question. Do the dice care what you are thinking before you roll them?"

"No."

"Does what you are thinking have any effect on the dice?

"Probably not. No."

"Exactly, the dice do their own thing regardless of what you are thinking. Number Seven: 'Prospecting takes too much time.'"

"'Prospecting takes too much time.' Three and five, eight. Foiled again!"

"Number Eight: Fill in the blank, 'I would rather be..."

"'I would rather be saving the world with Sophia.' Eleven, appointment!"

"Cute, good answer actually."

"Number Nine: A special one for all you innovators and rebels, 'There has to be an easier way!'"

"'There has to be an easier way!' I like that one. Ten, six and four. A another dog."

"And last, Number Ten: For the experienced advisor like yourself, 'I've paid my dues, I shouldn't have to make these calls!'"

"'I've paid my dues; I shouldn't have to make these calls!' Snake eyes! Alright!"

"Count up your appointments."

"Five out of ten."

"How do you feel about that?"

"If I can get five out of ten appointments, they'll be talking about me around the water cooler!"

"How many appointments you got isn't what's important actually. Let me ask you a couple more questions to make my point. Can you roll the dice correctly?"

"No. You might think you can but not really."

"Can you control the dice?"

"No. Not really."

"Does it matter what you think of before you roll the dice?

"No."

"Can you get an appointment if you don't roll?

"No."

"So what conclusion would you make from this exercise?

"The most important thing is to roll the dice. If you don't roll, there is no possibility for success."

"Your hockey brother Wayne Gretzky said something like 'you miss 100% of the shots you never take.'"

"He did say that. I'm impressed."

Quick smile. "Do you know how these people are going to respond before you make the call?"

"No idea."

"So do you hear what you're saying? You have no idea how people are going to respond until you make the call!"

So where do your fears, doubts, worries and other concerns come from?

"Past experience?" Seemed like the right answer to me.

"Exactly! Do they have anything at all to do with the call you are about to make?"

"No. Not really. It's a totally new call."

"That's the opening or window where you can make calls with no resistance. Do you get it? Can you feel it?"

"Yah, the window is making calls without remembering any past experience to make your afraid or anxious," I said.

"That's it. What do you suppose is next?"

"To make calls?"

"Good answer. That's correct and we also need you to be able to control the quality of the call to keep you in good shape.

Have you ever had calls not go very well?" she asked.

"Sure."

"How did that make you feel?"

"Lousy."

"What went wrong or what didn't work?" she asked.

"It's usually because the other guy gives you a hard time."

"So not very friendly."

"Not at all.'

"How do the calls go if the other person is friendly?" she asked.

"Usually pretty good. I may not get an appointment but it's a decent experience."

"So here is rule #2. Don't talk to anyone who's giving you a hard time or in a lousy mood," she said.

"How do I do that?"

"It's easy. You just push any three numbers of your choice..." She pushed three numbers on the phone. "Then hang up. They think something went wrong with the phone when they hear the three beeps. That gives you a way out. They're glad to be off the phone and they won't call you back."

"So if I don't like what's happening on the call, I do a three-beep bail," I said.

"That's Rule #2. Stay in a good mood. Enjoy making calls. Have fun making calls. If you get an 'attitude' on the other end, you bail. You don't waste energy on people with a bad attitude. And you don't let people with a bad attitude bring your energy down."

"I feel like a Moron for asking you this but what's Rule #1?" I asked.

"That's ok honey; I realize this is a lot all at once." She was enjoying my moment of vulnerability. "Actually, I'd rather you ask a dumb question than make a dumb mistake. Rule #1 is: 'You can't make an appointment without rolling the dice!'"

"I knew that," I said. I was going for a smile and got one. Having fun with Sophia made all this worthwhile somehow. I was trying to ignore that fact that I could be making a total fool of myself in front of her at any moment.

"Do you have your script and some people to call?" she asked.

"I do."

"What are you feeling?"

"Nervous, excited. A little concerned that the guy on the other end might yell at me and tell me to 'go to Hell.' Other than that I'm having a great time."

"Remember our window. We shut out all past experience. It doesn't matter what happened before. Totally ignore the past. Plus, how people respond to you is all out of your control and it doesn't matter how they respond. You succeed by dialing the phone, not by people's response."

"Wow, I hadn't thought of it that way before," I said.

"And if you don't like what's happening, what do we do?"

"I push three numbers and hang up and hope they don't call back."

"They won't. And until you have more practice at this, I'm going to be in charge of the bail. If I give you three fingers, you push three numbers and bail. Can you do that?"

"Ok boss. I give it my best shot. If I totally blow it, will you still love me?" I asked.

"Of course. The only way you can blow it is to quit. If it doesn't work, we try again. You can't lose with me if you'll learn from your mistakes and try again."

"I'm not exactly sure how this is all going to work but I like your conviction," I said.

"Let's do this. Dial your first number."

I'm dialing the phone. It's ringing...

She smiled at me and whispered, "Remember, it doesn't matter what happens. You can't lose."

"Hello, John. Luke Lamaire. How are you?" I said warmly.

"Luke, how are you. I haven't talked to you in a long time. What's up?"

"John, you know I have been in the financial services business for a number of years. Well, I have learned a lot about how to help people maximize what they are doing with their conservative money and I wanted to tell you what I am doing.

I am spending an hour with people. I will teach you as much as I can in that hour about what smart people are doing with their money. Answer your questions. I don't charge for this, there's nothing to buy. Typically I can make or save people thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars.

Does that sound like that might be helpful to you?"

"Well, I'm not sure. I have an advisor I work with and I think he is pretty good.'

"John, it's rare that I talk to people today that don't have one or more financial advisors. I can give you the information and if you like, you can pass it along to your advisor. I am mainly on an educational campaign at this point. Let me buy you a couple of coffee, spend an hour with me and let me see if I can give you some ideas that will make you money. What do you say to that?"

"Weil I guess that wouldn't hurt anything. Sure, let's do it."

 

I finished up the call with John and set the appointment for next week. I was ready to get some feedback from Sophia.

"How'd I do?" I said.

"Nice job champ. I liked everything about that call. I especially liked how you handled his response that he already had an advisor. Very smooth.

"I figured that out some time ago. If the guy makes an appointment with me, there is room for me. There are a few people who will pump you for information and actually take it to their advisor. But I have noticed if you develop a relationship with the prospect they usually don't do that. If they like you better than the advisor they are currently working with, you get the new business and there is a good chance you can get all of the guy's business eventually. Especially if the relationship is not that strong with other advisor.

"So that didn't seem like a big deal for you to make that call was it?"

"That was an easy one. I know that guy from hockey. Actually, I am realizing I'm ok once I get on the call. I just have a problem getting myself to sit down and make the calls," I said.

"I understand. We will work on that. We can cure a lot of the resistance that you have by changing how you think. Your resistance may not go away 100% but if you can get it low enough so that it doesn't stop you. You will be fine. You will be able to make all the calls you want to make. Learning how to overcome this resistance will help you in other areas of your life as well. It is a powerful skill to master."

 

*****

 

Hope you enjoyed more of the adventures of Luke and Sophia.

 

Have a productive September,


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sid@sidwalker.com

 


 

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