Before you begin a conversation with a prospect, know what your Objective is. An Objective is a stretch goal, it’s something that may or may not happen. But if it does, you’ll be pleased. Here are some examples of Objectives:
For a phone call: To get an in-person appointment on a specific date and time. (For people who are expected to close sales on the phone, the Objective is either to obtain a commitment to buy, or, failing that, to set a time and date for the next phone meeting.)
For an in-person meeting: To sell something, or get a signature on an agreement if you have one. Or, failing that, for you and the prospect to have set a next step that will be taken, and recorded it in her calendar and your own for a specific date and time before you leave this conversation. Or, to determine this person is not a prospect, so you can move on to talk with people who are.
Set your Objective (goal) before you begin a conversation with a prospect. Your Objective is never to “find out about the prospect,” or to “build a relationship.” Those things are what I call “gimmes”—things that will always happen. You’re always trying to find out about the prospect; you’re always looking to build a relationship.
But if, in a phone call, you set an appointment for a specific date and time, or if, when visiting a prospect, you either sell something or set another step that you and the prospect are going to take together at a specific date and time, you’ve definitely moved the relationship forward.
If you can, say your Objective, out loud, three times before you pick up the phone to call, or before you walk in to see your prospect, or before he arrives to meet with you. This increases the likelihood that your conversation will achieve your goal! And it preprograms your brain to drive the conversation toward the achievement of your Objective.
You can’t preprogram your brain with specific things that you plan to say—because everything you say will be a function of what the prospect says to you, or the situation in which you find yourself. So all you can plan in advance is your Objective. Be sure you’re clear on it!