Posts Taged prospecting

SUCCESSFUL PRACTICE

We all have a fundamental choice when we fall short of our goals and dreams. We can choose to modify our goals and dreams or magnify our skills needed to reach them. These are the only two solutions to this quandary we are in. Which are you going to choose? We must focus on acquiring the skills to create abundance in life. The mastery of the skills will create a life full of rewards. To acquire the skills in sales, in order to create abundance, we need to break it down to two components.

The first is – we must talk to a lot of people. Great salespeople talk with more people than mediocre salespeople. By talking to lots of people daily, we insure victory. Mediocre salespeople let their feelings dictate their success in prospecting. When they don’t feel like prospecting, they don’t. Great salespeople cause their minds to control their actions in a positive manner. George Patton, the famous general, said, “You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired — morning, noon and night. The body is never tired if the mind is not tired. You’ve always got to make the mind take over and keep going.” Which is winning daily in your life? The mind or the body? Resolve to control your body and talk to lots of people daily.

The second solution is practice. Daily practice is as valuable as making the sale. To develop a high level of skill in life we must practice. I spent hours in my youth practicing on the racquetball court my variety of shots. If I had not, I would never have won any tournaments. For me to be able to play at the professional level in racquetball, I hit hundreds of thousands of cross-court, backhand shots. This allowed that shot to be automatic under tournament pressure conditions. What do you need to practice on to become a world-class real estate agent? Is it your prospecting, qualifying, listing presentation, lead follow-up, negotiating? Each one of these areas needs practice. To achieve mastery of these skills it will take thousands of opportunities to improve your skills. Do you want to make the errors on “live” buyers and sellers or do you want to practice on partners where it is cheaper? Which do you choose? Let me share another example. Your child is learning to ride a bicycle. Do you send your child out on the busiest street for their first day or do you keep him or her in the backyard? I am sure the answer is obvious. Practice in a controlled environment gives us confidence and the skill to compete. It allows us to create wins in practice before we have to play the game.

Make sure you adopt these philosophies and make a concerted effort to talk to a lot of people. You then need to practice daily so you improve your ability to execute in the moment.

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VALUE OF SILENCE

The difference between great and good is very little. It’s the last inch, or two, that separates great from good. It could be the smallest detail that gets overlooked by most people, but to the person who wants to achieve greatness, it is never overlooked.

In selling, it’s the little nuances of what we say and how we say it. It’s the properly selected words we use to convince the client to move forward. Too often, we wing it without spending the time to properly craft the questions.   When the questions are delivered well, they will elicit the response we desire. In selling, we need to be a wordsmith. Just as a master silversmith works with silver to craft an elegant tea service, we must work with our words to craft a compelling reason to do business with us. A master silversmith spends time refining the silver over fire. The heat of the fire removes the impurities from the silver. The mold is then built for the silver to be poured into. Once cooled, the silver piece is polished to brilliance.

Your words must go through the same steps to achieve perfection. As a good salesperson, you must think, write, and rewrite your words; especially the key words contained in your prospecting scripts, listing presentation, and objection handling scripts. You then need to mold these words into a comprehensive and cohesive presentation. The presentation needs to address the benefits of doing business with you, versus anyone else. It must focus on the client and clearly answer the question: Why should I hire you? Just as the silversmith will fail if the mold is inferior, so will the salesperson. Check your mold.

Next, you must polish the presentation. You need to spend hours perfecting the delivery. The silversmith polishes the silver until it shines with brilliance. He will spend hours upon hours making it perfect. Then, when it is perfect, he stamps his logo, or signature, on the piece. When was the last time you practiced your scripts? When was the last time you taped your listing presentation? You stamp your signature on every presentation. How good is your signature?

One of the key areas between good and great in the presentation is the silence. It’s the silence after a direct question. Too many sales people fear the dead space in a conversation and think they have to fill it up. That need to fill the void will keep you from greatness in sales. The void of silence causes our client or prospect to think. At this moment the sale is made.

Arthur Rubenstein, the world famous pianist, was once asked, “How do you handle the notes on the page as well as you do?” He responded, “I handle the notes no better than many others, but the pauses…ah! That is where the art resides.” Your sale process needs to be like a great piece of music. It causes a reaction and emotion from your client or prospect. The real artistry is in the pauses. It’s in the void of quiet after the question. Don’t run through the pauses with another question or statement. Let the power of the pause take over. Rubenstein would let the note resonate throughout the hall. Let your question resonate in the conference room, living room…wherever you are making your presentation.

If you step into the pause you invalidate, or soften, the last question. You are at the moment of truth. You will find out valuable information about your client or prospect at that moment.   The power of silence is deafening. Make sure to use it to your advantage. Becoming a great salesperson requires watching the little things. Spend time daily breaking down the words and your delivery. Invest your time into practice. Perfect your craft of sales. Lastly, work to create and leave the pause in the presentation. There is immense power in the pause.

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LEAD CONVERSION AND FOLLOW UP

The first step to higher lead conversion is developing a better definition of what a lead is. What’s the criterion of a lead for you? Is it a specific timeframe or level of motivation? Is this a subjective or a pre-determined scale you use? For most Agents, a lead is defined as any human being who can fog a mirror when held up to their mouth. It’s basically anybody and everybody. That definition is much too broad for us to ever reach the Champion Agent level.

Too many of us are investing our time and money trying to convince any and every lead to turn into a good lead. We, in effect, say, “Oh, please, Mister lead, if I work with you long enough, won’t you turn into a good lead; because I really don’t want to have to prospect, and I need to make my mortgage payment next month.” Are you trying to turn bad leads into good leads, or are you looking for good leads? It’s almost as if we are trying to water dead plants in hopes of resurrecting them from the dead. They are dead . . . move on! What is the quality of your leads right now? What would someone pay you to buy your leads? If the answer is not much . . . Houston, we have a problem.

Champion Rule: The leads you have in your database are in other Agents’ databases as well. Whoever calls them and meets with them first wins the game.

 This, my friends, is the truth of our business. For some reason, many Agents haven’t come to grips with this concept. We think somehow we are the only Agent who knows about this prospect’s desire to buy or sell. This is particularly true of Agents who work exclusively by referral. You are making a huge mistake in today’s competitive market if you feel that you have the inside track or non-competition track. Couldn’t another friend have referred them to someone else? Isn’t it possible that they searched the Internet a little and got information from other Agents? Could they have been out to an open house? When a lead appears, we need to take action toward a face-to-face appointment immediately.

Effective lead follow-up is like threshing wheat at harvest in ancient times. Threshing is, essentially, separating the wheat from the chaff. The good kernels of wheat would be removed and used for food, while the chaff would be blown away in the wind. If we aren’t actively threshing our leads, we will become complacent. Too many leads can cause lead complacency. Too many leads can be a bad thing. You did read that right. Too many leads can be bad!

An overabundance of leads can lead to complacency in your prospecting. You can stop or slow the flow of new leads by reducing your prospecting because you feel comfortable because you have a certain number of leads (50, 100, 1000, or whatever the number may be). You may feel that you don’t need to prospect today because you have enough. What if what you have left has a high percentage of chaff in it that you haven’t found out yet? It’s going to take a lot of effort to find that out.

When I started working with a particular client a few years ago, I asked him how many leads he had who wanted to buy and sell in the next six months. He said he had 247 that fit into that category. He was proud of himself, yet I found out he had not talked with them in a while, and he hadn’t been prospecting because of this volume of leads. His attitude was “I don’t need to; I have 247 leads”. I asked him to call all 247 in the next two weeks and ask for an appointment. If they were not ready to list or buy, he was to set an appointment with them anyway to move the relationship along, so he could secure them as future clients. Two weeks later, the first thing out of his mouth before hello was, “I have fifty-nine leads.” He dumped over 182 leads that were junk. He realized he needed to prospect to create new leads every day.

Being successful with lead generation & conversion is more complex for real estate salespeople than ever before.

More avenues to create leads in the real estate business have emerged in the last few years than in the last fifty years…

The technology revolution has gripped the real estate industry full force, with some believing it to be the “be-all-end-all” to lead generating and conversion processes.

Using technology to leverage your business is essential, but there is a core set of skills you have to have in addition to it. You need to have selling strategies that are powerful, client centered, and service oriented to increase your sales.

That’s what I’m going to reveal in my new free white paper, take a look:

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OVERCOMING CALL RELUCTANCE

We are all faced with call reluctance at one time or another in our sales careers. We all know that we need to prospect and make calls daily to generate new business. However, knowing and doing can be two entirely different things. The fear of calling can be a career ender for many sales people.

Let’s take a look at what most Agents do when call reluctance hits. Most Agents take the worst possible action…they avoid the calls. Are you avoiding the calls when call reluctance hits? The problem with that plan of action is that avoiding something out of fear only teaches you to fear it more.

Taking this plan of action only makes the challenge larger and harder. Your call avoidance only intensifies your anxiety, which leads to greater reluctance and greater avoidance. We have all lived this pattern, leading us farther down the slippery slope of call reluctance. How do you break this pattern of destruction? There is a five-step strategy to overcome call reluctance:

 Strategy #1: Take Stock of Yourself and Your Skills

Most people who are chronic call reluctance sufferers are their own worst enemies. They are experts in all of their own faults and shortcomings. They see only their weaknesses, not their strengths. To be successful at prospecting over the phone, we have to have a clear sense of what we can provide to the prospect. Until we have a clear understanding of our value, we will never achieve comfort in prospecting over the phone.

The overcoming step is to evaluate what you have to offer the prospect. Take inventory of your skills and abilities. Understand your track record of results. Review your list of satisfied clients and the reasons why they’re satisfied.

  1. List the things you can do for the prospects.
  2. List the qualities that make you the person they should work with.
  3. List the specific benefits of your services.

 

Always have these lists ready by the phone. This way you can easily review them before you begin to call. You will also be able to use them during your call to convince the prospect to work with you. Many of us are challenged because we see making a call to a prospect or even a cold opportunity as an unwanted interruption. By using this list, you can change your mindset to see that you are giving the prospect a valuable opportunity to be served by you. We need a new perspective of opportunity.

Strategy #2: Set Realistic, Achievable Daily Goals

We can easily get ahead of ourselves. By setting a daily goal that is realistic, we can create momentum. People who are challenged with call reluctance often believe that they need to make 20, 50, or even 100 calls a day to make a difference. Since they can’t do that, they avoid even starting. Start with a small number you can commit to daily. We have seen Agents double their businesses in a year by making 5-10 contacts a day. A little goes a long way. Prospecting is like Brill Cream: a little dab will do you. It just has to be used every day.

Set manageable goals for each week, and then break them down into goals for each day. If you are struggling to hit the daily goal, break it down to each part of the day or even each hour if necessary.

Make it into a game. How many calls can I make before lunch or before my next appointment at 10:00 am? Make the target achievable. You want to achieve the feeling of accomplishment. When you achieve the goal, reward yourself. We call it celebrating the victory. Part of being effective in calling is learning to reward yourself along the way. The mouse wouldn’t work as hard to get to the end of the maze if the cheese wasn’t there. The reality is that we are no different. You have to create small rewards along the way.

 Strategy #3: Control Negative Self-Talk

We all have an internal voice. Sometimes, that voice is our biggest fan and encourager. Other times, it feels like that little voice is chaining us to a cement block and pushing us into a deep river. That internal voice can challenge us for good or bad; it can criticize and chastise us, as well.

For those of you who are challenged by call reluctance regularly, this negative self-talk can be particularly aggressive. It can become almost hyperactive when you are preparing for a sales call. When you go to pick up the phone, the negative self-talk turns up the volume and intensity.

“They are going to reject you.”

“Why would they use you instead of these other Agents?”

“Maybe there is another way to do this.”

“I should really be handling the problem transaction.”

“I need to do more research before I make this call.”

Meet the challenge of the negative self-talk head on. If you do, the voice will get quieter, and after a few dials, it will go away completely.

If you are really struggling, write down what the negative self-talk is saying. By having it down on paper, you can refute what is being said in your mind. The only way to repel the voice is to create the responses that defuse the arguments. It’s the difference between your thoughts controlling you, or you controlling your thoughts. You are in charge here.

The difference between you and the mouse is that you can change. The mouse will go back forever and look for the cheese. You know better than that. Take the steps to go a different direction for a newer, better opportunity.

Strategy #4: Visualize the “Perfect Call”

We often begin each call by envisioning rejection. We begin each call with the thought process, “I hope they’re not home.” Mentally, we are poorly prepared. Even if they are present, we may not be. Do you visualize them hanging up the phone in disgust, or is there a voice telling you they are happy to hear from you? We often have a horrible movie playing in our head. Those negative images are making the calls more difficult to execute.

We can create the outcome before we ever pick up the phone. Those negative visions create self-fulfilling prophecies. We get caught going through the motions without the results we desire. There are two key reasons we end up short of the outcome we planned for:

  1. The “negative visions” generate stress, and the mental stress blocks performance. We are preoccupied with the stress. We are waiting for the other shoe to drop, so we can be right. Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.” You will create the outcome you visualize.
  2. The “negative visions” are a rehearsal. The more you run the negative through mentally, the greater the probability of reproducing it in reality. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect…only perfect practice makes perfect. All practice does is make it permanent. The mouse practiced going for the cheese even when the cheese was taken away.

 

We must visualize ourselves talking on the phone with confidence. We must have a “bring it on” attitude. We must visualize ourselves handling the objections efficiently and effectively, and we must visualize ourselves setting an appointment.

 Strategy #5: The One-Call or Ten-Minute Strategy

It’s really easy when you are in call reluctance to envision hours of calling and toiling on the phone. You believe that you are going to have to bear hours of rejection to generate one measly lead. Then you figure you might as well give yourself the day off, and you can make it up tomorrow.

Resolve, before you give up for the day, to make 10 minutes worth of calls. The truth is any of us can make the calls for just 10 minutes. When you have completed 10 minutes or a certain number of contacts, like two or three, you are free to quit guilt-free. You have “bought” your freedom for the day.

You have taken a big step to breaking through call reluctance. Do the 10 minutes and know you are progressing out of call reluctance.

The other thing you will discover is that the hardest part is behind you. You can tap into the momentum you have just created. I guarantee that the next dial will be easier and not feel or look so intimidating. You have started to control the negative self-talk. You can choose to continue on. This is the best commitment you could make and keep for yourself.

Call reluctance is real for every salesperson. There is no one who doesn’t suffer from some form of call reluctance. If some claim they don’t ever have it, just realize they must have deeper psychological problems to deal with. Apply the five steps today and work to overcome call reluctance.

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HOW TO REALLY LISTEN

Our ability to serve our customers and prospects well is contained in our ability to listen. Most telephone salespeople were convinced by some friend or relative to get into sales because they had the gift of gab rather than the gift of listening. In all sales situations, the gift of listening far outweighs the gift of gab.

To become a better listener, you need to understand why you would want to improve that skill. What’s your desire or motivation for improving? If the why is large enough, the how becomes much easier. The why includes more sales, shorter sales cycle, higher conversion of leads, and more referrals because your client service is better.

On any sales call, there is one party who has the most important and relevant information, opinions, and comments. Hint . . . that person isn’t you! What the other person has to say, along with how they receive it, process it, and respond to it, will determine your income. This truth must be ingrained in your brain. You need to review that before each prospecting session.

Sometimes, one of the best ways to learn something is to evaluate how not to do it. By knowing how not to do something, we can apply the 180-degree theory to success.

“I got this nailed.”

Too often, when we get entrenched in our scripts and dialogues, we don’t listen as well as we should. When we are so focused on getting to the sales presentation or closing section of our script, we forget to listen along the way. We miss the nuances that any good telephone salesperson must pick up on to make the script come alive.

Our pre-call preparation can be over the top and work to our detriment. I know that as you are reading this, you are thinking, “Dirk always hammers on scripts and dialogues and pre-call planning, and now he’s changing.” I am definitely not changing, just giving you a little caution. There are times when telephone salespeople over-prepare and think they already know everything about the client. When the prospect tells you something about their needs, you think, “I already know that.” We are using one ear and have half our brain tied behind our back. We miss the client’s real view, so we miss the opportunities to serve and sell. We can have a false sense of security on our call because of the knowledge we acquire through our study and pre-planning. We need the preparation, scripts, and dialogues; what we don’t need are the blinders on from over-preparation, the pre-conceived ideas of what the client needs based only on our research, and rigidity to a fault in our scripting.

“I’m the expert; just ask me.”

This is where we are looking for openings to flex our mental muscles. We are listening for openings to impress them with our knowledge and preparation, rather than really hearing the client’s needs. We get antsy to demonstrate to the client how much we know. This anxiousness can lead us to interrupt prospects because of our excitement for the sale. When you feel that anxiety, it means you really aren’t listening. What the prospect has to say is always more important than what the salesperson has to say.

“Enough about you; how about me?”

This is similar to the “I’m the expert; just ask me” problem. The difference is you are looking for the openings to make your presentation or pitch. We are scanning the conversation exclusively for the cue to leap into the “sales pitch”. I despise the term “sales pitch”, but it really describes the technique that most salespeople end up using when they are experiencing this syndrome. These salespeople, at best, are selectively listening. They only hear what they want to hear. The minute they hear something that resembles the opening they are looking for, they start the wind-up and throw their pitch.

Listening is at the core of working harder. It’s harder to hold yourself back from blathering. It’s more challenging to ask good questions and shut up for their answers. If every salesperson could do that, the sales in your company would explode.

Listening is also the epitome of working smarter. Knowing with certainly the prospect’s wants, needs, expectations, time frame, desires, motivation, authority to take action, and financial ability gives you the edge. It enables you to move to your sales presentation more effectively with a higher close rate when you do make the presentation.

If you want to learn more about how to engage with your prospects you will be interested in our newest course, Sales Language of a Champion. We are opening the new course for our Champions Circle Members next week. The first session is Monday, March 7th, 2016. Click here to find out how to become a member and gain access to this new course: http://www.realestatechampions.com/championcircle/

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