The Pain and Pleasure of Prospecting
Have you ever invited a guest to a presentation and been disappointed when he didn't show up? Would you like to give presentations only to those who want them? Would you like to quickly find out who is a prospect and who is a suspect? Would you like to make this business so simple and duplicatable that someone only one day in the business can do it? Would you like to create a more positive atmosphere at your presentations? Would you like to increase your percentage of people who see the plan and who get involved? Would you like your new reps to sponsor more quickly and easily? Would you like your new reps to stay active longer?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then the pre-approach is for you.
I can't tell you how many times I've experienced this typical Network Marketing situation (if this has never happened to you, it will!): You invite your friend Mary to the weekly meeting. Even though you talked to her that afternoon and she assured you she would be there, she doesn't show. This is your close friend and you think she would never let you down, but this time she did. You call her the next day (by the way, I never ask no-shows where they were, they will volunteer the information). She has an iron-clad excuse-- maybe her cat had diarrhea, or she got home and realized her house was infested with dust bunnies and spent the night chasing them around.
I have heard some great excuses in my day-- enough to write a whole book on that subject alone. Notice how if you invited seven guests to a presentation, at least five of them will happen to have a crisis that particular day. I'm not trying to be cynical or negative, just realistic. In any case, let's say Mary really did have a good excuse, you accept it, and invite her again the next week. Another meeting, another no-show. This time, you're too frustrated to invite her yet another time. If you are new in the business, this might put an end to your Network Marketing career.
But let's say you decide to persist and for next week, you invite your friend Mark-- maybe he comes, maybe he doesn't. Either way, you are only showing the plan once or twice a month. That's way too slow to build a large organization. What happens when that pace duplicates in your downline? You will probably drop out after a few months unless you have caught the vision, clearly know where you are going, and make a change.
The pre-approach will not eliminate the situations I've just described, but it will decrease them dramatically.
Why Don't Your Guests Show Up?
Why is it so difficult to get a guest to a meeting? Why would someone rather stay home watching TV when there is money to be made? Why don't people show up even after they promise they will? These are all great questions, and the answer reveals why the pre-approach works: people don't want to go somewhere and hear something they know nothing about!
Most people live inside their comfort zone. The flip side is that they also live in fear of the unknown. It is just more painful for them to go than not to go. If they knew what they were going to see, it would be a much more comfortable situation for them. When they got there, they would also be much more positive because they want to be there. What if all the guests in the room wanted to be there and were excited about some new possibilities? Can you imagine the energy in the room?
What if all the guests in the room wanted to be there and were excited about some new possibilities? Can you imagine the energy in the room?
It has a ripple effect. The guests are excited, and so are the reps that brought them. The other reps in the room feel that excitement and want to make sure they have guests next week. They get motivated. The speaker feeds off of the positive energy in the room and becomes more animated and compelling. Nobody will want to leave right after the meeting, because that's when the real meeting begins. The "meeting after the meeting" can be more important than the actual presentation. People will be talking about the opportunity afterwards, instead of the ball game that was on TV last night. Can you see it?
You've probably heard the riddle: "How do you eat an elephant?" "One bite at a time." That's what we do when we invite someone to a presentation for a first look-- it's like feeding them the elephant in one bite. Their minds cannot grasp all the information in one sitting. This is why the pre-approach is so important. You will get them some information about the industry of Network Marketing. Some of the most common objections will be handled in advance for you. It is quite easy and not very painful for somebody just to listen to a tape in their car on their way to work. It doesn't even cost them any time. People with open minds or preconceived notions about Network Marketing will now only have their open minds. People with closed minds probably won't even listen to the tape.
To build an organization fast, you will want to get as many tapes in circulation as quickly as possible. There are many great generic pre-approach tapes on the market, or perhaps your company has one specific for your opportunity and product. Use this in conjunction with a card file system and you will see magic.
First, ask a qualifying question. You will call your prospect and simply ask, "Could you use more money?" Here are some other choices "Have you ever thought of having a second income source?" or "Have you ever thought about owning your own business?" That is a straight-forward, respectful and duplicatable approach.
The prospect will respond with, "Yes sure, of course. I could use more money. Why, what is it?" If they are negative, you can ask, "If it's legal, moral and ethical, would you want to know about it?" Personally, when they ask me, "What is it?" I like to respond with, "I have a 20-minute audio tape for you to hear. I don't even know if you qualify!"
I love that line-- "I don't even know if you qualify!" They are thinking "What do you mean I might not qualify. Of course I qualify to make money!" What you've just done is approach someone while taking it away immediately. This is not just some psychological line to make them want what they can't have-- you really are qualifying them. If they don't want to take the tape, congratulate yourself for all the time you didn't waste on showing them the plan! If they do take the tape and don't listen to it when they say they will or give you a hard time about getting it back, you just found someone else who doesn't qualify. Know that generally, however, when someone takes the tape they will listen to it.
There is a science to physically handing out the tape. It might sound funny, but this is what I do I pull up to their house and leave the car engine running and the car door open. Right away, they know not to start asking me questions because they perceive that I am in a hurry. I hand the tape over and schedule its pick up. I might say something like, "I need this tape back as soon as possible because this thing is really moving!" Be excited! I like to pick it up the next day after work. I don't let it go for more then 48 hours. When they agree on the time, I will take out my day planner and write it down. I make sure I do it right in front of them so they know I'm serious. It also makes them realize they have a firm appointment for the pickup.
So the next day comes and you go to pick up the tape. Chances are they have listened to it. There is also a chance that they haven't. If that's the case, I will let them have it for one more day, stressing the fact that I must have it back, and I write in my day planner again. I tell them "I have to get this back tomorrow because it's spoken for."
Even if it is only spoken for by you, take the tape back! The only way I would let them keep it at this point is if they listened to it right now with me there. You must be about your word. This approach shows real value for your tape, and sometimes the only way to get someone to listen to it is by taking it away. If they let you take it without any hassle, you didn't have a real prospect.
More than likely they will have listened to the tape. You will ask them a very simple question like, "What did you like the most?" or "Did it make you curious?" Or "Would you like more information?" It's that simple!
Normally they'll have one of three responses, so let's take them one at a time. One response would be, "This is one of those pyramid things," or a variation on that theme. This response used to frustrate me. Now it doesn't bother me because I am not attached to the results. I'm just grateful that I didn't waste any more time with them. As I am leaving, in my head, I am laughing and yelling next! These people have closed minds. This opportunity can withstand any "healthy skepticism" but has no chance against someone with a closed mind and a strong preconceived notion. They might have only listened to a minute or two of the tape and figured they knew what was on the rest of it. Don't try to argue. You will never win. Just get your materials back and run, because it takes at least eight hours to bounce back from one hour of negativity.
If they did listen all the way through they would have credible evidence that the industry is legitimate and the products are superior. These are the people who fall into the category of "Things I do not know I do not know, nor do I want to know." (Go ahead, figure that one out!)
So the next day comes and you go to pick up the tape. Chances are they have listened to it. There is also a chance that they haven't. Even if it is only spoken for by you, take the tape back!
A second response would be "Thanks, but no thanks! That's not something for me." I like this response because you know that the person respected you and respected his word enough to at least listen to the tape. At this point I will simply ask them "Why not?" Be sure to really listen to what they tell you. Realistically, they just didn't get it, they didn't catch the vision or understand. I didn't really get it the first time-- did you? If you realize that they are telling you they didn't understand it and that's why it's not for them, then ask if they would like further information. If they don't, make sure you ask a "turn question." What I mean by that is find out if they would be interested in becoming a retail customer. Remember-- people don't want products, they want benefits. Explain the benefits of your product or service.
The third response is "Yes, I would like some more information." You might get to the door and they start giving you the third degree. "How does it work? What's the company? What's the product? Tell me more!" This response is my favorite-- this is the kind of person we're looking for! They are curious or even excited. They know there are some possibilities here, and they want to know more. Continue taking them through the pipeline by giving them a presentation on the spot, if appropriate, or setting an appointment.
In all three scenarios, the pre-approach worked. By using this technique, you get two major benefits: 1) appointments exclusively with qualified prospects, and 2) all the time you would have wasted with unqualified prospects! Remember, human beings are involved, which means some people you think qualify will disqualify themselves in a short amount of time, while disqualified prospects may later show up as qualified. Realize that sponsoring is a process. It usually isn't done in one shot, but rather in series of bite-size pieces. We are just looking for people who think like us, people with an entrepreneurial spirit and goals.
Another advantage to the pre-approach is that it gets a new rep a positive response faster. One of the biggest reasons that people get paralyzed in this business is rejection or more accurately, the fear of rejection. It's much easier to get someone to agree to listen to a tape and really listen to it, than it is to get someone to agree to come to a meeting and actually show up.
Can you now see why a pre-approach is so easy and duplicatable? Now that you know why to use a pre-approach, you know the psychology behind it, and you know how to use them, what are you still doing reading this? Go and get ten pre-approach tapes in circulation! You can make it happen!
JACK ROSEN left a career as an Aircract Technician shortly after getting involved with Network Marketing in 1995. He rose to the top level of his first company within three years and is now a Car-Qualified Distributor with NATO International. Currently, his business extends into 40 states and five countries. He and his wife Claire live in Waldwick, NJ.
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