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You sell insurance.  Maybe you sell investments.  You sell to individuals.  You sell to businesses.  Regardless of the situation, you are talking to prospects.  You’ve heard a famous quote attributed to IBM’s Tom Watson:  “Nothing happens until a sale is made.”  How do you get the prospect to become a participant in your presentation instead of just an audience?

1. It’s all about them.  Problems need solutions.  Sometimes you do analysis to determine there is a problem.  They have an issue.  A pain.  Something that keeps them awake at night.  What you are going to talk about is finding them a solution to their problem.

2. Understanding their problem.  We talk in jargon.  It’s an industry thing.  We might call their problem something else.  We need to listen to them talk about their problem, then repeat back what they told us.  They need to know we understand their problem.

3. They are unique.  People consider themselves individuals.  They want a tailored solution.  You may consider it a common problem.  To them, it’s a unique problem.  The moment it becomes a common problem, a common solution seems adequate and they shop for your product as a commodity, focusing on price.

4. Solutions take time.  Often you gather data at one meeting and present the solution at the next.  Prospects don’t want to think you are suggesting the first idea that came into your head.  Why?  Because they will question the fees if it appears no thought was involved and an “off the shelf” product fits just fine.

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.  You mention you have a pain.  They immediately reach into their desk, take out a bottle of pills and say: “Take these.”  They also tell you a drug salesman just came in this morning and left them as free samples.  Prospects don’t want to feel they are getting “The product of the month.”

6. Your best idea.  You might see several possible solutions for your prospect’s problem.  Don’t offer a range of solutions, asking them to pick one.  They consider you an expert.  They want you to suggest the solution you consider the best.  But if they have an issue with it, you have another in reserve.

7. Review their issue.  When you present your proposal, start by restating the problem they originally outlined.  It shows you were listening.  They can let you know if circumstances have changed.

8. Trial closes.  Earlier we talked about the prospect as a participant, vs. an audience member.  When presenting your recommendation, ask questions like: “Does this make sense to you?” or “Are you OK with that?”  The answers are usually “yes.”  It indicates they are following along.  If they have a question or an issue, they can stop you instead of tuning out until they have the opportunity to speak.

9. Relatable examples.  You might be talking about costs.  Use scenarios they can easily identify.  For example, commissions are similar to a sales tax.  It’s a charge you pay on top of the purchase price.  You buy wine and they add on the sales tax at the register.  And built-in fees are like the difference between wholesale and retail.  When you buy milk you pay the posted price.  You know the store is making something.  They are buying at wholesale, marking it up and selling at retail.

10. Return to their issue.  After you present your proposal, pick different features and explain how they relate to issues they initially outlined.  It’s the “square peg, square hole” approach.

11. Ask for the order.  You need to do this because the prospect won’t say: “Stop talking.  I’m convinced.  Where do I sign?”  They aren’t THAT involved!  You will need to specifically ask them to make a decision.  This might be described as next steps.

In these eleven points, the prospect is involved.  They are engaged, doing lots of talking.  If they like what they have heard, it’s logical they will say: “Do it.”

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be found on Amazon. READ MORE: