Protect Prospecting by Changing Your Agenda

by Certified Life Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

“I always run out of time,” is one of the main reasons Financial Representatives (FRs) tell me they do not prospect consistently. Are you running your meeting or is it running you?

As Al Granum astutely points out in his book OCS, statistically you will not see some of your New Seens or New Facts ever again. Ever. Again. Since this is a reality of the business, if you do not prospect in the first meeting, you already know that you will miss out on thousands of Qualified Suspects (QSs) during your career if you simply don’t ask. If that is enough motivation to get your arms around the clock then read on.

One of the main reasons that FRs consistently do not ask in the first meeting is because prospecting is always the very last thing you do in the meeting! If anything causes a change in the meeting (you start late, the client has a lot of questions, there is an interruption, etc…) then it will always be sacrificed first. Most FRs defend this agenda by saying that they need to “prove themselves,” “win over the prospect” or “show value.” I get it. However, these beliefs are very expensive! What is a QS worth to you? If you are like most FRs, QSs are the lifeblood of your business and are nearly invaluable. Are you willing to let your unchallenged belief system derail the opportunity to grow?

Is it possible that you already proved yourself early in the meeting? Is it possible that the prospect was won over already? Is it possible that you have already shown value today?

If you’re willing to admit that you really can’t know for sure what the prospect thinks or believes, then why not allow yourself to find out what the prospect wants by asking him or her directly in the meeting...and much, much earlier.

You will be able to protect against this predictable problem of "running out of time" by finding a place in your meeting’s natural rhythm to prospect much sooner. Better to leave the client hanging with a juicy question they want answered next time then a promise of “prospecting” left on the table, right?

You can use prospecting as a break from the one-sided, intensive nature of the fact finder. You can lighten the mood for a client after a heavy discussion by changing the subject to who they know. Prospecting can provide the prospect a way to contribute to the meeting in an empowered way.

Run through your fact finder and find the spot where you could fold in prospecting. It could be after a sweaty discussion of the household budget when you both feel more like laying on the floor than continuing. Find the natural spot where you can switch gears to prospecting and then switch back to wrap up the meeting. This will protect and insulate your practice of prospecting so that it’s never the caboose left on the track again as the train leaves the station.

Coaching Tip You can use this same technique for all meetings. If you take the time to find the place you will fold in a “break” for prospecting you will never leave a meeting again without having asked for QSs. Plan ahead and commit. You and your practice are worth it!