sales woman presenting at white board to her laptop camera (Photo: Shutterstock)

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You sell insurance.  Maybe you sell investments.  You sell toindividuals.  You sell tobusinesses.  Regardless of the situation, you are talkingto prospects.  You've heard a famous quote attributed toIBM's Tom Watson:  "Nothing happens until a sale is made."  How do you get theprospect to become a participant in your presentation instead ofjust an audience?

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1. It's all about them.  Problems needsolutions.  Sometimes you do analysis to determine thereis a problem.  They have an issue.  Apain.  Something that keeps them awake at night. What you are going to talk about is finding them a solution totheir problem.

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2. Understanding their problem.  Wetalk in jargon.  It's an industry thing.  Wemight call their problem something else.  We need tolisten to them talk about their problem, then repeat back what theytold us.  They need to know we understand theirproblem.

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3. They are unique.  People considerthemselves individuals.  They want a tailoredsolution.  You may consider it a common problem. To them, it's a unique problem.  The moment it becomes acommon problem, a common solution seems adequate and theyshop for your product as a commodity, focusing on price.

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4. Solutions take time.  Often yougather data at one meeting and present the solution at thenext.  Prospects don't want to think you are suggestingthe first idea that came into your head.  Why? Because they will question the fees if it appears no thought wasinvolved and an "off the shelf" product fits just fine.

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5. The "product of the month" trap. Here's another reason why you want to engage with your prospect,draw them out and put in time arriving at a solution: Imagine you visit the doctor. It's someone new.  Youmention you have a pain.  They immediately reach intotheir desk, take out a bottle of pills and say: "Takethese."  They also tell you a drug salesman just came inthis morning and left them as free samples.  Prospectsdon't want to feel they are getting "The product of the month."

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6. Your best idea.  You might seeseveral possible solutions for your prospect's problem. Don't offer a range of solutions, asking them to pickone.  They consider you an expert.  They want youto suggest the solution you consider the best.  But ifthey have an issue with it, you have another in reserve.

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7. Review their issue.  When youpresent your proposal, start by restating the problem theyoriginally outlined.  It shows you werelistening.  They can let you know if circumstances havechanged.

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8. Trial closes.  Earlier we talkedabout the prospect as a participant, vs. an audiencemember.  When presenting your recommendation, askquestions like: "Does this make sense to you?" or "Are you OK withthat?"  The answers are usually "yes."  Itindicates they are following along.  If they have aquestion or an issue, they can stop you instead of tuning out untilthey have the opportunity to speak.

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9. Relatable examples.  You might betalking about costs.  Use scenarios they can easilyidentify.  For example, commissions are similar to a salestax.  It's a charge you pay on top of the purchaseprice.  You buy wine and they add on the sales tax at theregister.  And built-in fees are like the differencebetween wholesale and retail.  When you buy milk you paythe posted price.  You know the store is makingsomething.  They are buying at wholesale, marking it upand selling at retail.

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10. Return to their issue.  After youpresent your proposal, pick different features and explain how theyrelate to issues they initially outlined.  It's the"square peg, square hole" approach.

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11. Ask for the order.  Youneed to do this because the prospect won't say: "Stoptalking.  I'm convinced.  Where do Isign?"  They aren't THAT involved!  You will needto specifically ask them to make a decision.  This mightbe described as next steps.

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In these eleven points, the prospect is involved.  Theyare engaged, doing lots of talking.  If they like whatthey have heard, it's logical they will say: "Do it."

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Bryce Sanders is president of PerceptiveBusiness Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition trainingfor the financial services industry. His book, "Captivating the Wealthy Investor" can be foundon Amazon. READ MORE:

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