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Put Referrals on Your Agenda

A few years ago, I presented a teleseminar for advisors throughout the U.S. on referrals.

During the live Q and A, Paul, an advisor in the Midwest, expressed frustration with his efforts to grow his practice by asking for introductions.

“I ask my clients about people they know who could use my help,” he told us, “But it feels awkward, and then my clients get all awkward and put me off.”

“Who gets awkward first?” I asked him.

“Well, I guess I do,” was his response, “But it’s because I know that they’re going to be uncomfortable.”

“Did it occur to you that maybe they get uncomfortable because you’re awkward, and your discomfort actually triggers theirs?” I asked.

“I never considered that,” he admitted.

We then went through 3 Steps Paul could use to take the discomfort out of the act of asking for referrals:

1. Start your client meetings by giving your clients (verbally or in writing) an agenda, that includes as the final item a discussion about friends, associates, and family members you might be able to help.  Don’t surprise a client with a sudden request at the end of an appointment to talk about this important subject.  If a client is going to be uncomfortable with this agenda item, let him or her tell you right at the beginning, and spend a few minutes either then or at the end discussing why this item makes him/her uncomfortable.

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…The last thing I’d like to talk about this morning is some of the people in your life who you would want to have my help.  I’d much rather be working with someone you want me to work with than someone whose name I took off a list somewhere.  We’ll talk about some of the people you have in mind, and, if we decide it makes sense, we’ll figure out the most comfortable way for us to get in contact…

2. Always ask about the value you’ve given them—either on that particular appointment, or in your professional relationship over time.  Ask him what he got out of your meeting, what he learned, and what he will get or has gotten out of his relationship with you.  Ask him to tell you something specific that he found particularly helpful.  Then utter the magic question: “What else?”  Keep getting feedback until he can’t think of anything else, and then direct him to the ideas that you wanted him to find helpful, and ask if he did.

Did you find our discussion this morning helpful?…Was there one specific idea that you found particularly useful?…What else?…What else?…How about when I explained…

3. Now, you can ask them about people they know who could be helped in the same way.  Remind her that this was one of your agenda items and ask who came to mind.

Mary, I’m glad you found the work we did here today so helpful.  The last thing I promised you we’d do this morning is discuss some of the people you care about who might want the same kind of help, and decide whether it would make sense to arrange an introduction—and how we would go about that.  Who is the first person who came to mind?

Speak with confidence, I told the group. If you don’t feel confident, act as if you do.  Paul admitted that part of his problem was that he had not practiced being firm, clear, and self-assured when he brought up the subject of referrals…and practice is essential.

If you want to attract more clients, put talking about the people in your clients’ lives on your appointment agenda and get it out into the open, right up front.  Act assuredly, and keep REACHING…

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SERVE, and Grow Rich

My friend and colleague, coach and author Steve Chandler, recently wrote this:

“Most people try to move toward wealth in embarrassing, clumsy ways.  They have cynicism programmed into them from an early age.  So they want a course called Manipulate and Grow Rich, or Network and Grow Rich or Win People Over and Grow Rich.”

“They see companies like Apple, Amazon, Nordstrom, Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines, and Google, and they think ‘I need a big, clever idea like that!’ or ‘I need diabolically opportunistic branding and positioning!’  When that doesn’t work, then they think it’s time to suck up to powerful people…polish some apples and lick some boots!  Why?  Because it’s Who You Know that makes you rich!”

Yet all the while, there is a spirit that runs through all radical wealth creation…and we’ll keep it simple by calling it service.  All the individuals and companies I have worked with in the past 30 years revealed to me this underlying truth: wealth comes from profound service.”

If you’re working on your Business Plan for 2014, make sure it includes serving your clients profoundly.  If it does, this will be a great year for you.

To get specific, here are a few of Steve’s (and my) tips:

1.  Stop Pleasing and Start ServingAs children, we are conditioned to please.  “Were you a good girl, today?” Daddy asked, and what he meant was: Were you sweet, passive, obedient and not too vocal about your opinions?  Never did we hear him ask: “Were you bold and powerful?”  Or, “Were you courageous?”

Adults were the people with the money and power.  If we pleased them, we’d get that ice cream or that allowance.  As a result, too many of us learned to default to pleasing.  We want our clients to think we’ve been a good little boy or girl, so if we think there will be resistance to what we believe serves them best, we choose what will please them instead of what we believe they should do or have.

If we served instead pleasing, we would astonish our clients, instead of simply being “a nice guy”.  We would be making a real difference in another person’s life.

2.  Create Agreements, Not Expectations.  We become anxious because a client or prospect hasn’t done what we think they “should have” done.  Expectations belong in the recycle bin, along with ideas like a “no” answer being a rejection.  To fully serve and grow rich, you don’t need those anymore.  In fact, they will slow you down and give you a life of disappointment—even causing nagging and persistent feelings of betrayal.

If you want a client to do something, create an agreement.  Agreements serve because they are creative collaborations that honor both people.  They are like a co-written song.  Expectations, on the other hand, live and grow in us like cancer.  Nothing good can come from them.

3.  Don’t tell a client she’s wrong.  Proving that your client’s or prospect’s view or understanding about the world is wrong—no matter how ridiculous her opinion might be—is not serving.

Listen for the value in what she is saying before you respond.  Recognize the merit, and acknowledge that you see it.  Agree with the “objection” rather than trying to overcome it with a humiliating argument.  Instead, agree with her, and find a way to “reframe” how she’s seeing it.

“I understand that you don’t believe in life insurance, and if I saw it the way you’ve explained you do, I wouldn’t believe in it either.  What I do believe in is making sure my family has money at the most critical time that I won’t be able to help.  If we didn’t call it ‘life insurance’, wouldn’t that be something you’d want your family to have?”

Make 2014 the year of profound service, and it’s bound to be your best.  In the meantime, keep REACHING…

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Are Your “Gatekeepers” Killing Your Client Relationships?

I had been limping around for three weeks with a pain across the top of my left foot that didn’t seem to be getting any better.  I made it through five straight days on my feet for two workshops and an active vacation, but the pain did not subside.  So, I finally decided to visit a local orthopedist.

It was good for me to go through this experience, because as often happens, it reminded me of why I do the work I do.

I called the doctor’s office and an unhappy-sounding scheduling assistant treated me as if I was a huge interruption to his day.  He was abrupt, unsympathetic, and annoyed when it took me a couple of seconds to give him precisely the information he demanded.  He advised me that the doctor I wanted wouldn’t be available in this century, and offered me some alternatives.  And he became noticeably agitated when I wasn’t satisfied with the first available appointment.  After all, who did I think I was?  HE worked for a DOCTOR and was VERY busy.  I was just one more bother in his bothersome day.

The Gatekeeper

Actor Frank Morgan as “The Gatekeeper” in The Wizard of Oz (1939)

When I arrived at the office, the staff was annoyed that I didn’t notice the big hand-written sign at the window on the right that says “Sign In Here”, and that I thought it was okay to approach the busy person sitting behind the desk on the left instead.  When I got back to the person on the right, she handled our entire transaction—from the clipboard to the insurance card and picture ID—without ever looking up to see my face.

Believe it or not, your staff may be treating people like this—and no matter how good you are at what you do, or how kind and considerate you might be, your clients are thinking, “I’m not coming here again.”

Maybe, as it was in the case of this doctor, there are so many people waiting to see you that you can afford not to know how your staff is behaving.  But if you’re like most professionals, it matters to you that clients who have experienced something like this aren’t staying with you, and that they will tell others to stay away, as well.

If you want to grow your practice or business, you need to be certain that you’ve spelled out for your staff how to handle the phones and how to greet people, and you need to be sure that they’re following your system.  This means listening in on a prospective client or patient call, and having someone report to you about how they are treated while they’re waiting for you.  Don’t assume because you’re being treated well by your assistant that he or she is treating your clients in the same way.

It also means spelling out the basics for your team with a formalized procedure that includes, at least, all of the following points:

1. Identify the office and yourself.  Everyone who answers a phone should use his or her name.

2. Be pleasant.  No matter how frenetic your office might be, every caller deserves to feel that he or she is not an interruption in someone’s busy day.

3. Offer to help.  The identification should be followed by “How may I help you?” or “How may I direct your call?” or—well—anything that’s genuinely helpful.

4. Don’t rush the caller.  No matter how busy you are, clients want to ease their stress, not to confront yours.

5. Own the call.  Until the caller is connected elsewhere, the person answering the phone is responsible for the caller’s experience.

These are just some of the basic rules.

Nearly an hour later, when I finally got to see the orthopedist, I found him to be extremely competent, and a genuinely nice human being.  He advised me that I had fractured a bone, but I wasn’t willing to face his staff for the follow-up appointment.  I ended up taking my foot elsewhere.

Referrals come from clients who tell stories about the “magical” service they are receiving.  If you’re not certain that you and your staff are making magic in your practice—right out of the gate—you can always contact me.  In the meantime, keep REACHING…

Client Retention: They Changed Their Minds!!!

After two visits—a total of six hours—advisor Marianne had gotten an enthusiastic “thumbs up” from her new “almost clients”—a young professional couple with small children—to prepare a financial plan for them.  The plan would specifically include some much-needed life insurance.  There was no doubt the mission was going forward!

couple

But a few days later, just before Marianne’s scheduled return with her specific proposal, the couple called to tell her they had decided to hold off on doing anything.

“I needed that sale,” Marianne complained to me during our coaching session.

“And that’s probably why you lost it,” I responded.

Our need is the ugliest thing we can show prospective clients.  If they believe that your need to make money is more important than your delivery of the service they would be hiring you to do, they’ll back away.  Retaining you or buying what you have to offer has to be their idea, not yours.

Even when—especially when—you need the “yes”, make sure that your prospective clients sense only your devotion to bringing them the best and most appropriate service.

Blake, an attorney in Michigan, wrote me last week about his problem in getting prospective clients to engage his services.

“I find out what their situation is,” he writes, “and then I explain very carefully what I’ll be doing for them.”

“Then they ask about price.  I tell them my hourly rate, which is competitive, but they say they want to think about it…and then, I don’t hear from them again.”

Professionals like Blake often don’t spend enough time developing a relationship with their clients, customers, or patients.  They know their work.  They know how to diagnose problems, and they know what the most likely solutions are.  But they don’t know what their prospective clients really need: someone to hear them out; sympathy, empathy, and validation.

Here are some suggestions that might help you “close” more clients:

1. Ask more and better questions.  “Situational” questions are essential for you in order to enable you to do your work, but they have relatively low value to a prospective client who already knows his or her own situation.

How does the situation make him or her feel?  Why does he/she feel that way?  What result would this person like to get from working with you?  How will that make him/her feel better?

These kinds of questions don’t necessarily add any information to your business stats, but they help you to create a bond with your new client.

2. Find out if they’re committed to change before you talk about fees.  Ask if she’s receiving value from the discussion and if she has any questions for you.  Ask if she’d be interested in working with someone who could alter her status quo.

3. Find out what is causing them to hesitate.  If he says, “Let me think about it,” find out what he agrees with and narrow down what his concerns are.  Does he have reservations about your abilities?  Is he looking for a better price?  It’s okay—and important—to ask these questions.

If you want more clients to say “yes” and stick to it, start by making sure you spend the time to ask compelling questions, and base the solution you offer directly on their answers.  Whether it’s in asking for the sale or asking for introductions, make it about themnot about your need.

If you want help learning better ways to ensure that prospective clients become actual clients, contact me.  In the meantime, let them change their minds, and just keep REACHING…

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TEN TIPS for Boosting Year-End Numbers

With fewer than ten weeks to go in 2013, I’ve put together a list of the most effective ideas for my financial advisor friends to boost their holiday sales.  Even if you’re not a financial or insurance professional, I know you’ll find at least some of these ideas useful.

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1.  Keep your schedule filled with appointments.  If your goal is 8 appointments, don’t “try” to keep 8—keep them.  If you need to fill your time slots with existing clients, turn those visits into referral opportunities.

2.  Look through the information you’ve taken from existing clients to determine if there’s any way in which you haven’t yet served them.  Maybe you need to discuss converting an existing term policy, or increasing their 403(b) contribution.  Maybe you haven’t discussed long-term care with them.  Is there a client who wouldn’t be helped by increasing his or her monthly contributions into retirement savings?  Find out!

3.  Use the holidays as an excuse to surprise and delight them.  It takes a little extra time and few extra dollars, but the rewards can be incredible: a face painting kit or a barrel of pumpkins for Halloween, a fresh baked pie or a bowl of homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.

4.  “Up” your offers.  A client who needs $300,000 in life insurance might agree to $500,000 if given the option.  A client who can put aside $300/month for investing might be able to stretch that to $500, if you explain the benefits.  Just ask.  If 1 in 4 prospects says “yes”, your year-end numbers will increase dramatically, just like that.

5.  Ask for referrals as a way of helping someone start next year with a bang.

“Joe and Betty, thanks for letting me know how helpful I’ve been to you in getting your finances in order and in building toward the retirement you want.  With the end of the year coming, I’ll bet you have at least a couple of friends who might like to get a new start on their financial situation for the New Year and may want the kind of service you’re getting.  Who comes to mind that could use a hand?”

6.  Ask for referrals as a way of giving a gift!

“Joe, how about giving your friend you mentioned the gift of a session with me to talk about his finances?  It won’t cost him anything and I won’t pressure him to work with me if he doesn’t want to, but you’d be giving him an opportunity to get something life changing that will last…”

7.  Focus on reaching out to people with whom you already have a connection.  How many people attended a seminar or gave their names to you at a Home Show who you couldn’t reach right afterward, so you then just dropped those leads?  Instead of cold calling people you’ve never met, revisit those “failed” contacts, starting with the most recent.  If you can’t reach someone by phone, try a quick email, or drop a short message on social media.  If you do connect, those people who you have met at least once are far more likely to agree to make an appointment with you than total strangers are.

8.  Slow your fact-finding interviews down.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but you’ll turn more first appointments into [first and] second appointment sales if you ask more questions, especially about consequences of acting and not acting.  It’s not good enough to ask how someone feels about a million dollar insurance need.  Dig deeply into the consequences of not having that insurance in place.  (If they can’t keep the house, where will they live?  Is that okay with them?)  Then, make sure your presentation addresses the consequences that they brought up in response to your questions.  (This will ensure that they can stay in their house, at least until the kids start college.)

9.  Keep your need out of it.  You have numbers you want to reach, but the days of the “Contest Close” have long passed.  Do they need your help, or not?  Is what you’re offering them the best thing for them, or would something that gets you a smaller fee actually be better for them?

10.  When it comes to services they need, don’t please your prospects or clients, and don’t sell to them, serve them.  If they’re telling you that they’re going to put off applying for the insurance they need, and you believe that the delay does not serve them, tell them passionately that they’re wrong.  Be proud of being in sales, but don’t sell, and don’t put having them like you above doing what’s best for them.

If you need help putting these tips into action, contact me.  To make these ten weeks count, focus on serving, and keep REACHING…

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*Image courtesy of Mint.com.

Rejection Therapy

Be sure to check out my recent interview on entrepreneurship, sales, and success at Letsmote.com!
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If you fear rejection—in your telephone conversations, or when you ask a prospect to engage your services—you’ll definitely want to spend just 24 minutes viewing the following Video Lecture by Chinese-American entrepreneur Jia Jang at the World Domination Summit.

Jang talks about the fear of rejection that almost caused him to give up his dream of creating his own company.  He mentions going online to a site where he learned about “Rejection Therapy”.

When I saw this, I was intrigued.  I had given countless workshops wherein I challenged participants to purposely ask for things that they were previously sure would be denied to them, but I had not yet heard of “Rejection Therapy”.

After one of my Manhattan workshops, two of the attendees who had flown in from the Midwest went to a bar together and asked the bartender for free drinks, expecting a “no” response.  They told the bartender that this was their first time in New York and that they wanted to make sure the drinks were good.

To their surprise, the bartender gave them the drinks they requested, making it clear that he would allow them just one each.

When they excitedly shared their adventure with our group the next day, the point was clear:

Ask.  You may just get what you ask for.

I wondered if there really was a website about “Rejection Therapy” and if it was anything like what I was already doing in my workshops.

It turns out that Canadian Jason Comely is the founder of rejectiontherapy.com, where he defines a real life game with only one rule:

YOU MUST BE REJECTED BY ANOTHER PERSON AT LEAST ONCE, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

“Please notice the wording of the rule,” Jason tells us.  “It doesn’t say you must attempt or try to be rejected.  The rule is you MUST be rejected by another human being.  In this game, rejection is success.  No other outcome will meet the requirement of Rejection Therapy.”

If you want to play the game, visit his site, and read about what counts as a rejection attempt and a successful rejection.  Jason freely shares his game and offers a game card you can use (not required) for just $10.

In his talk, Jang tells us that in “playing” Rejection Therapy, he asked a police officer if he could drive the police car and a pilot if he could fly his small plane.  To his surprise, both let him do it—just because he asked.  In fact, in my workshops, many of the outlandish requests made by my attendees are granted.  Some have told me they found it difficult to actually be rejected.

If you often don’t ask for appointments or referrals, or a sale, because you’re afraid of being rejected, spend 100 days playing Rejection Therapy.  You’ll learn the lesson that Jang did: that it’s OK if someone says “NO”.  It’s just his or her reflex, capacity, or opinion—nothing more.

Contact me today for help, and if I have availability, give me an opportunity to surprise you with a “YES”.  Either way, keep REACHING…

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Sales Skills for Financial Professionals: Powerfully Relate

Last week, we discussed the second of three basic yet essential skills that will help you get, and keep, more and better clients:

(1) The ability to ask provocative questions
(2) The ability to listen with total focus on your client
(3) The ability to relate compelling stories and metaphors

At last, we’ve made it to the Third Skill:

3. The ability to relate compelling stories and metaphors.  Testimonials about your service help you get clients, because human beings are hard-wired to believe and love stories.  Even before people developed a fully-spoken language, they could tell stories with cave paintings.  As language progressed, one of its first uses was to communicate tales of great exploits, while sitting around the campfire…


Painting by George Strickland, courtesy of the Witte Museum.

But even when there are no clients around to give Testimonials—or campfires to sit and chat around, for that matter—stories of your service exploits can assist you in turning uncertain prospects into ready clients.

My client Michael, a financial professional, is a Master at “sales” stories:Joe, your situation is very similar to that of another client I’m helping at the moment.  He approached me a few years ago, having lost a bit more money than you did…but what his last advisor did to him was almost identical to what yours did to you.  He also struggled with whether he should get back into the market or not.  But after we talked that first time, he decided that he couldn’t let a past mishap get in the way of his retirement, and we’ve been working together successfully ever since!”

It’s a rare instance when a prospective client doesn’t come on board in the face of stories like these.

Michael also uses metaphors.  I remember our discussion about a client of his with a small retirement fund, who asked him whether he thought she could handle it herself, without an advisor.  “Sure you can,” Michael told her, “But you’d be like a leaf on a rushing stream.  With no rudder and no one to steer, you’d be rushing toward whatever result the system had in store for you.”

Michael delivered the “steering” service he promised, and the woman remained a fiercely loyal client.

One of my favorite Masters of Metaphor was Ben Feldman, who is considered possibly the greatest insurance salesmen in modern history.  Ben could look prospective insurance-purchasers in the eyes and say things like, “with the stroke of a pen, you create an estate,” and the prospects would pick up their pens to sign the application Ben had brought with him.

Another client of mine, Larry, is a financial advisor, as well.  To explain a Roth IRA to his clients, Larry uses a farming metaphor:

“If you were a farmer and you had to pay taxes,” he asks, “would you rather pay taxes on the seed, or on the crop that you harvest?”

“The seed, of course,” is the prospect’s usual reply.

“Why is that?” Larry asks.

“Well, the tax on a huge crop is probably a lot more than the tax on the seed would be,” goes the response.

“That’s why I want you to make this investment,” Larry tells his prospect.  “You’ll have already paid taxes on the seed—and you’ll be able to harvest the crop tax-free!”

As this plays out in real life, Larry manages to put all Three Sales Skills together in his presentation to prospects.  He asks provocative questions, listens with focus to their answers, and reacts empathetically by relating compelling analogies that help explain in clear terms how he is able to serve his clients.

Contact me, and I’ll help you develop these fundamental skills—or take them to the next level.  In the meantime, keep REACHING…

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Learn This “Secret” from Victoria

“It seems like you’ve already got nearly as many clients as you can handle,” I declared to Victoria, a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) who had just started working with me.  “So, how can I help you?”

“Well, the truth is, Sandy, that none of them have any money,” she confided.

Victoria is 27 years old and has managed to grow her practice to its current level by giving terrific service to small retailers, most of whom are as young as she, and are either just starting out or within their first two years in business.

These clients are often struggling and can barely afford basic accounting services.  Invariably, after working with her, Victoria’s satisfied clients recommend her to their budding-entrepreneur friends.  While she is grateful for their loyalty, she is frustrated about starting work with still more struggling small-business owners.

I explained to Victoria that you can’t attract what you want into your life—clients or anyone or anything else—unless you have a clear picture of it that you can share with people.  “It’s hard for you to make the kind of living you want on these small clients,” I acknowledged, “but who do you want to take on as a client?”

Victoria thought for a moment and then replied.  “Well, I do like to work with ‘Mom and Pop’ business owners, but I wish I could be working with some that are larger and more established.” 

“Then tell your clients that that’s who you’re looking for,” I challenged.

“Just like that?” she asked.  “I don’t know…”

Two days later, Victoria called me.  With excitement rushing her words, she related a conversation she had had with one of her small-business clients just the day before:

“I was finishing up paperwork with Tom, and he told me he had recommended me to a friend of his who had just opened a deli.  So, I thanked him for the referral, but then I did what you told me to do.  I said ‘Tom, you know I always appreciate your faith in me and will always take good care of anyone you recommend me to, but I do my best work with people who already have bigger, more established businesses.’
Tom’s wife, Marie, happened to be walking by while I was explaining this and said, ‘Why don’t we send her to see my uncle?’  Well, Marie’s uncle owns a large, well-known furniture store the next town over.  And, I have an appointment to see him next week!”

Victoria’s accounts knew she wanted more clients, but they all thought she wanted more clients like them.  Victoria learned that people don’t know what you want until you tell them, and asking for what she wanted resulted in her landing exactly the kind of client she was hoping to reach.

If I can help you learn how to get more of what you want, contact me to talk about how we might work together.  I’ll let you know if your concerns would make you the type of client I can currently serve best.

Ask for what you need, and whether or not you get it right away, keep REACHING…

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You WEREN’T Too Direct, YOU JUST DIDN’T SERVE.

“I think I ought to go back to the way I was doing it before,” Ron, an advisor in Nevada, asserted to me in his weekly coaching check-in email.  He had just taken advantage of an opportunity to teach a one-session evening class on financial concepts for a local college’s adult education program.

One of Ron’s challenges was that he rarely asked directly for an appointment.  Instead, he would passively talk around offering to sit down with someone, hoping they’d get the hint—something that just wasn’t working.

In anticipation of this event, I had coached him to announce to his attendees that he had already set aside two days the following week during which he could meet with any of them who wanted to explore their situations.  He would instruct them to approach him right at the end of his program in order to schedule their appointments.

Ron continued his report to me:

“I tried being more direct with everyone about setting an appointment with me afterwards, but nobody did.”
And, he concluded, People don’t want me to be so direct.”
A few hours later, Ron received this email from one of his attendees:

Ron,

I wish you had given us more valuable information, and not spent so much time promoting your business.  I would have liked to get some beneficial information along with stories and facts to illustrate your subject.  Then, you could have asked for questions before letting people know you were available to make appointments.

Disappointedly,

Betty

Ron sent this email to me as his proof that the direct approach isn’t a good one for him.

But Betty wasn’t complaining about his “direct approach” at all; she was upset that there wasn’t enough substance to the program and that Ron was selling his services instead of giving the attendees value.  If you read her last sentence, you see that she concluded that had Ron provided the service the attendees had expected, it would have been okay to be direct about appointments.

What Ron couldn’t see was that his direct approach to appointments wasn’t the issue.  He needed to have given extraordinary value first.  And from the tone of Betty’s email, he clearly did not do that—at least, not for her.

Ron wants to build his business through seminars and programs like this one.  If he does go back to his coy little dance around his invitations and he continues to give too little value, his results will be even more disappointing.

On the bright side, there are two clear lessons here for professionals who do presentations:

(1) Give extraordinary value and don’t spend all your time trying to sell attendees on using your services, and

(2) Only then—but alwaysbe direct about the next step you want your attendees to take.

Every seminar should end with a clear “Call to Action”.  But you can’t ask for your prospects’ action if your seminar did not move anyone to take action.  Deliver value, and then tell your attendees, “Here’s what I want you to do next.”

Don’t choose to go backward before taking a direct leap forward.  Contact me, and let me help you make your presentations—and your results—extraordinarily more powerful.  In the meantime, keep REACHING…

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Chasing Whales? (Start with JUST ONE.)

Bill is a financial services representative in the Southwest U.S. who told me that one of the greatest challenges for him was his fear of reaching out to the already “successful” people in his community who he thought he could help.

“I have a list of these people I never call,” he told me.  “The thought of reaching out to them gets my stomach churning, and I just can’t bring myself to do it.”

Bill’s list of these special prospects had at least 50 names on it.  He called it his “Whale List”.

What’s the actual challenge in contacting them?” I asked him.  “Why is that you have no trouble contacting other people, but you’re paralyzed when it comes to contacting the whales?

Bill thought for a moment and then nearly gasped at his own answer.

They might think I’m a fool to believe that I could help them.

Bill, do YOU believe you can help them?” I asked.

Well…yes, I think I might be able to!

So, all you’re really saying is that they might say NO to you,” I pressed on.  “And if you think about it, how is that any different from when anyone else says NO to you?

Again, there was a silence, and then Bill replied.  “Well, I guess it really isn’t any different.

So, if you weren’t afraid to pick up the phone and ask them if they’d like to work with you,” I asked, “what would you do differently than you do with anyone else you call?

Nothing different at all,” he quickly conceded.

Could you commit, then, to just one Whale Call a day?” I asked, and Bill agreed that he would.

After a week, I could tell we had created some magic.  Bill had already made five Whale Contacts, and while three of them had politely told him they had no interest in speaking with him about their situations, two of them made appointments with him.  None of the Whales were rude to him or refused to take his call.

A few weeks have gone by now, and Bill is still too intimidated by these local “movers and shakers” to make more than one Whale Call per day—but he has also successfully converted one of the whales into a promising new client.

If there are people on your list who you’re terrified to contact, challenge yourself to call just one a day—or even one each week.  Prepare and rehearse what you’re going to say, and then make that single attempt to connect.  It could change the entire course of your practice.

If you still can’t dream of making this small commitment, contact me now for help.  Don’t let fear keep you from chasing the biggest mammals in local waters; just keep fishing, and keep REACHING…