Is Prospecting, Respecting? You Decide! by Michael Oliver

Michael OliverLearn how to use your knowledge to ask questions as opposed to telling people things.  If you want to differentiate yourself, in both your professional and personal lives, look for ways to think, be, say and do things differently.

This is one way to attract people to you. This is also how you attract people who will stay with you!

And doing this is not difficult. It’s simply a question of talking with people differently and applying some simple, and profound, principles. Here is an example of what I mean. The Training VP of a major corporation was talking with me about how his company had a program that focused on respecting its clients and potential customers. This was reinforced with posters and ceiling hangers which were very evident in the office.  NULL

However, having heard him use the word ‘prospects’ earlier, I saw that there was a potential disconnect. The words prospect and respect didn’t resonate.

Sensing a possible opportunity to enter into a dialogue that would most definitely differentiate the thinking behind Natural Selling, which is different from any other sales training, I asked the question: “Would you explain to me what do you mean by the word ‘respect’?” “Well, it’s about respecting the people we work with: our clients, our prospects …” “And what percentage of respect do you show these people?” “Why, 100% of course.” “I see! Then can I ask: if you’re showing them 100% respect, why do you call your potential clients, ‘prospects’?” “Well, that’s what we’ve always called them. It’s standard in sales.” “Then let me ask you, if I called you a prospect, how would you feel?” “Well, it’s normal to call people ‘prospects,’ we all do it.” “I appreciate that, though how would you feel if I called you a prospect?” “I guess, not so good!” “Why would that be, do you think?” “I’m not too sure; I just wouldn’t feel comfortable with it.” “Can I offer you a possible reason why you wouldn’t feel comfortable?” “Yes, sure.” “Could it be, to quote Nietzsche, an Austrian philosopher, that ‘When you brand me you negate me.’

In other words when I put a label on you, I take away your identity? I make you feel like a unit of production for my benefit. Could that be it?”

“Yes, I’d never thought about that before. But even though we use it, and say it here, we never use it in front of a prospect.” “I see. Let me ask you, even though you don’t actually use the word ‘prospect’ in front of people, how do you know they don’t feel it? For example, on your phone scripts do you have something like: ‘Hello Mr. or Mrs. Prospect’?” “Yes.” “And if the salesperson is constantly seeing and hearing this word ‘prospect’ because the word is written and used everywhere, what do you think is being burned into the salespersons subconscious mind? Do you think it’s likely to manifest itself in the words they use, the manner in which they present themselves and the actions they take when they actually talk to a potential client?” “Yes, the customer could be feeling that.” “And have you thought that most of us give our real intentions away because the words that come out of our mouths are an extension of what we are thinking, and we can’t escape them, unless we change our thinking. And that people consciously and subconsciously pick up what we are really thinking … our real intent?” “No! I had never thought about that…until now.” “So do you think that calling people ‘prospects’, and perhaps other names, could be one of the many causes for the resistance that most of your salespeople face?” “I’d never thought about that before either… it could be as you say.” “This is what I was getting at earlier when I spoke of Natural Selling being a different way of thinking. It’s not thinking based on conventional values or truths; it requires a completely different set of a values and universal truths.

It requires us to think about, and look at, things in a different way, to question what we have accepted to be normal, and to discover that a lot of what we are taught and have come to accept mostly works against us and not for us.

If we want different results, then doing or tweaking the same thing isn’t going to get them for us is it? How would you like to move away from conventional techniques and instead concentrate on a process that is founded on different ways of thinking such as I’ve described?” “Sounds worthwhile… what do you propose as the next step toward putting together a training program for us?” So what does this dialogue mean to you? Ask yourself whether you like to be called a ‘prospect’ and if you don’t, respect others and stop using that term. Learn how to use your knowledge to ask questions as opposed to telling people things. Asking questions like this allows people to methodically come to their own mini logical conclusions until it’s quite obvious what the next step is. Observe how I never used one statement except at the very end when I transitioned, summarized and asked a question designed to move forward towards taking the next step.

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