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March 2013

"Tips On How To Start A Sales Interview!"
by Sidney C. Walker


Let's say you have made an appointment and you are now sitting with the potential client. Now what? Most people easily fall into "small talk" when they first meet. What you are looking for at this point is anything you have in common with the potential client. If you can discover in your initial conversation that you both have young children, or you both play golf, or you live in the same neighborhood, etc.; your rapport is going to instantly go to deeper level. That is why referrals are so powerful. If you are both friends with the same person, it is assumed that you have a lot in common even if you have just met. Often, the point at which you have found something in common is a strong enough rapport builder that you can use this as transition point to move to the next phase of the interview.

Set yourself up as the interviewer. People love to be interviewed, especially by someone who cares about their answers. The best way to set yourself up as the interviewer is to ask your potential client if you can ask them a few questions. For example, "Ron, in order for you to get the most out of our time together, would it be ok if I asked you a few questions?" Most people will give you an immediate positive response and will be eagerly awaiting your first question.

Ideally, every question you ask should be giving you some kind of information that can be potentially useful. One of your objectives is to see if you can find something that your potential client wants that they don't already have. Most people have a number of things they need to do or want to do and that is often the most promising place to look for the initial sale.

A good place to start is to find out in general where have they invested their money. This isn't a formal factfinder (which I don't recommend for the first meeting if you are building a relationship) so your questions don't have to involve specific amounts. You can let your potential client be somewhat vague with their answers in the beginning while they are getting to know you. You are looking for how they think and what they like and don't like.

Your questions can include: Do you own your home? Do you like owning real estate? Is there anything you don't like about owning real estate? Do you own other real estate besides your home? Would you like to own more real estate? Have you invested in the stock market? Do you like mutual funds or do you like to do individual stocks. Is there anything you don't like about the stock market? Do you own any permanent life insurance? What do you like about that? Have you ever used your life insurance for emergencies or to make major purchases? Are there any other places you like to invest? What do you like about that? Is there anything you would like to change with what you are doing with your money? If you could wave a magic wand and make some changes, what would you change? Of course, at some point, it is good to say "If I could help you with ____________, would that be of interest?"

Let your guiding light be that the more you know about what people want, the more you are going to be able to help people get what they want. If you are proposing solutions to problems based on what people want, that is what they are most likely to buy. Find the thing your potential client will buy first and make him or her a client. Then you have the rest of your career to talk to them about all the other things they should consider doing.

Have a productive March,

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