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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

'Why Fakin' It til You Make It'  Sucks as a Prospecting Strategy

by Daria Jones

When I first started approaching prospects for my MLM company I was naturally nervous, why? Direct sales was a new skill for me. Thankfully, I was told I didn't have to do any hard sells, all I had to do was generate curiousity about a legitimate, income-earning opportunity. I just needed to invite prospects to see and hear the presentation. It sounds simple, right?

Well, not for me because influencing people wasn't one of my best things. I didn't feel confident and that fed my nervousness, which probably made some prospects wary of me on a subconscious level which then led to more "No's" leaving me feeling even less confident. Prospecting began to feel like a punishing chore, something that needed to be done in order to succeed, a necessary evil like flossing, pap smears or prostate exams.   I knew I had to break away from that mindset quickly because I want to succeed.  What I needed was advice and training to break out of that self-imposed rut.

I attended a seminar where one of the speakers encouraged the whole 'fake it til you make it' attitude--that if you act confident and act successful, you'll be confident and successful. 
He even went so far as to suggest assuming an alter ego like Beyonce's 'Sasha Fierce.' I considered it with an open mind and thought, "Okay, I'll give that a shot, that could be fun." I quickly learned I'm NOT a natural born actor.  My delivery felt (dare I say it?) staged, flat, and insincere. 

I was not making any headway on my invitations. It's no wonder really, Bob Burg's 'Golden Rule of Business Networking' says that all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust. For prospects to trust me, I had to be me.

So, first things first, I had to re-focus and get that positive energy and excitement back.  
Fortunately, aside from whit and sarcasm, I'm blessed with a creative imagination. So when I read a suggestion about adjusting my attitude in a self-help book, I went with it.  I visualized and meditated on the excitement I would feel when I sold my first membership and found a new business partner.  That internal, "Yippeee! Woohoo! or Yes!" and that urge to pump my fists in the air or jump up and down like the proverbial 'little monkeys on the bed' helped me get motivated and put me in a positive frame of mind to approach the next prospect.

Next, I needed to re-visit what I needed to do to better connect with people and cultivate those relationships that turn a cold prospect into a warm prospect or referral source.  For this, I consulted several resources, my two favorite references included Bob Burg's Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales and Nicholas Boothman's How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less.  Nick's book focused on the body language, mental attitude and groundwork for making personal connections and Bob's book focused on outlining step by step a different kind of invite/referral seeking process that felt much more natural to me.

Step 1 Get the other person's attention with eye contact, a smile and a 'Hello.'  You can follow that up with a compliment, such as "That was a great presentation" or "I love those shoes", or comment about the shared experience you're having with this person, such as "What brings you to this event?"

Step 2 Build rapport naturally and ask your partner about themselves. Let the other person do most of the talking.  Ask a few feel-good prompting questions like:

  • What do you do?
  • What do you enjoy most about what you do?
  • How did you get started in that field?
  • What one sentence would you use to describe what you do and how you do business?
  • How would I identify someone that would be a good prospect for you?"

Inevitably, you will be asked about yourself unless of course you're talking to a raving egomaniac, so...

Step 3 Be prepared to talk a little about yourself

JT O'Donnell, CEO of Careerealism, published an article entitled "How to Introduce Yourself When Networking Online".  She states that the best introductions answer three basic questions:
  1. What problem do you love to solve in your work?
  2. How do you do that?
  3. What are you looking to do next with your skills?
Step 4 Decide if this person is a potential customer, downline partner or someone who may have the influence to refer prospects your way,
Look for an unmet need and then hint that your have a product, service or business opportunity that could fill that unmet need