How To Become Instantly Comfortable With Prospecting [Part I]

Last week I conducted a breakout session called Advanced Realtor Prospecting at the Florida Association of Mortgage Professionals convention in Orlando.

During the presentation I said something off-the-cuff that totally struck me during the moment:

“It amazes me how many originators feel so uncomfortable doing the very thing they need to do in order to earn the money that ultimately attracted them into the business in the first place.”

Obviously I was talking about prospecting.

After the event I contemplated that statement above and I asked myself, “Why are so many salespeople so uncomfortable with prospecting?”

After thinking about this, researching through several sales-psychology books I’ve read and speaking to colleagues, I boiled it down to three reasons.

Below is the first of the three reasons why salespeople are so uncomfortable prospecting and what to do about it.

Stop Thinking About Yourself

One of the biggest fears that stop people from prospecting is the fear of “looking bad” or just plain feeling like an idiot when someone says “no.”

That fear comes from a deeply rooted ego defense mechanism.  Your ego’s primary role is to protect you.  So if it senses a situation that is going to cause you harm (the ego doesn’t differentiate between a prospecting call and a hungry lion who wants you for dinner), it goes to work by moving you away from harm.

In the case of the hungry lion – it sends a message to your brain to run like mad.  In the case of a prospecting call and possibly being rejected, it sends a message to your brain to hang up the phone or get off as quickly as you can.

When you focus on your self, your ego is in control.  When it comes to prospecting, that obviously doesn’t serve you.  It’s going to thwart your efforts.

Shift From “Me” To “Them”

The antidote is to move your focus from self to the other person.  The result is that you shift from an ego-centric mindset of “how can I avoid looking bad” to “how can I serve.”

So the answer, truly, is to put yourself in the prospect’s shoes and discover how you can serve them.  Discover by asking questions.  Be genuinely curious.  Speak and ask questions with pure curiosity – from a place of service.

Does it work?  Absolutely!

How I Overcame The Fear Of Public Speaking

If you’ve heard me speak before, you know that I had a tremendous fear of public speaking.

I’ll never forget the first time I had to speak in front of a large audience.  I was partner in a realtor/mortgage originator training company called Richard Robbins International.

It was our early days and we had sold about 250 tickets to a three day training event.

One of my colleagues – the one that sold the entire audience on coming to the three day event – was supposed to be the emcee and introduce the main speaker.  He got shackled with food poisoning and I had to fill in for him.

When I learned that I would have to step in – just to do a quick 5 minute introduction of our main speaker and tell people where the bathrooms were – I immedietly went to the bathroom and lost my breakfast.

My stomach was in knots.  My face went deathly pale and I started to sweat profusely.

I was terrified.  Why?  Because I didn’t want to look like a fool in front of that “huge” audience.

I considered pulling out and telling the main speaker to just go on without introduction.  But in the end, I decided to be honest.  About 30 minutes prior to the start of the event, I found him in the green room and told him how nervous I was.

I’ll never forget what he said to me.

Life Changing Advice

He said, “Marc, do you think people came here to see your 5-minute introduction?”

“No, of course not.”  I said.   So he asked me why I thought they came to the event.

“To learn new things and grow their business so they can make more money and have more balance in their life.” I responded.

“Exactly right” said Rich, our headline speaker.  “Marc, respectfully, these people don’t care about you.  And they don’t care about me either.  They care about solving their problems.  That’s it.  So rather than thinking about how bad you might look by fumbling the intro, focus on how you can serve them.  Think about helping them fulfill what they came here to get.  Tell them how they can get the most out of their experience here.  Serve them, Marc, and your fear of looking like an idiot or screwing up your introduction will vanish.”

That was some of the most powerful advice I’d ever received from any mentor.

I did exactly as he said.  I came from a place of service – I focused on helping them get what they wanted, and my own fears vanished.  (And in the process I began to overcome a huge fear and find my greatest passion – public speaking!)

Now it’s your turn: stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about how you can serve your prospect.

Your job is to find out what they need, what they want and if you can help them get it.  That’s it.  And if you believe you can help, then run through a brick wall to tell them that.

The Challenge

Over the next week I challenge you to prospect for at least one hour (or more if you’re already prospecting) with this new, very real, mindset.

Before you pick up the phone, I want you to say to yourself, “How can I serve this person?”

Remind yourself that your job is to discover how you can serve your prospect.  Find out their goals, dreams and challenges and then tell them how and why you believe you can serve them – or save that for the face to face appointment – and book an appointment for the purpose of telling them that.

After your hour of prospecting, come back to this blog page and post your comments on the blog.  How did it go?  How did you feel?  How did your prospect respond?

So, are you going to take the challenge and serve people?  Or are you going to be a victim of your insecure ego.  The choice is yours, every time.

If you know a colleague that struggles with prospecting, send them the link to this blog post, invite them to take the challenge with you and tell them to sign up for my blog updates.  You’ll help your friend and help me.

Now go get to work!

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