Before reading any further, what would you say if you were to make a cold call right now?

If you did, and the person on the other end of the line was to tell you, “We’re happy with our current broker,” how would you overcome that objection?

What if it wasn’t a planned call at all? What if you had a chance encounter with a potential prospect who wanted to know why it would make sense for them to have a meeting with you? More specifically, what would you say if they wanted to know your value proposition?

I'm sure you would come up with something to say in each scenario, but would it be effective? Would you have to make it up on the spot, or do you know what you would say in advance?

Bottom line, do you practice and prepare for the inevitable conversations you have as a salesperson?

Professionals practice, period

All professionals, regardless of what they do, practice. Competitors practice before taking the field. Performers practice before they take the stage. Teachers practice before stepping in front of the class.  

In your role as an advisor, you have an element of each of these. You’re a competitor, a performer, and a teacher. But are you practicing and preparing to be doing them at a professional level?

Unless you are the rarest of all producers, new sales opportunities are hard to come by. You need to take full advantage of the opportunities you have. Practicing and preparing for each opportunity gives you the best chance to convert sales opportunities to clients.

When I asked you what you’d say in those scenarios at the beginning of this post, how did you react to the questions? Did they make you a bit uncomfortable?

Have you ever been working on a prospect, feeling like things are going well when they suddenly through an objection? How did that make you feel? Attacked, maybe?

When faced with unexpected challenges, we do feel attacked at some level. And, you know the natural reaction to being attacked. It’s one of our most basic instincts, fight or flight.

You either punch someone in the nose, or you turn and run away. Neither of those responses is effective when meeting with a prospect.

It’s SO predictable

Every sales conversation is predictable, whether it's a prospecting call, your sales process, or handling objections. When prospecting and selling, rarely will you come across a conversation you haven’t had before. There are ZERO reasons for you not to be prepared for just about anything that comes your way.

To name the most common sales conversations:

  • Prospect call to ask for a meeting
  • Elevator pitch
  • Description of your value proposition
  • Request for referrals/introductions from clients and other centers of influence
  • Each step of your sales process (you follow a consistent process, don't you?)
  • Confirming the prospect’s ability to fire their current broker
  • Asking for the order
  • Handling various objections
    • We’re happy with our current broker
    • We’re too busy
    • We just switched brokers last year
    • Our renewal isn’t for another nine months
  • (You can continue the list from here…)

Tell me you don't have these conversations regularly. Of course you do! But, if you aren't scripting out these conversations in advance and role-playing them regularly, you won’t be as prepared as you need to be.

When you have practiced and role-played as a professional, the surprise conversations will no longer be a surprise; they won't feel like an attack. Instead, they will feel like what they are—an opportunity to further educate the buyer on why you are worthy of consideration.

Perfect practice

If you aren’t used to this type of practice and preparation, it may feel a bit awkward at first. But push through that.

The awkwardness you may feel when practicing pales in comparison to the awkwardness of not being prepared.

Here are a few steps to follow to ensure the practice is productive. 

  • Start practicing by simply reading your scripted conversation out loud. Focus on the key points you’re communicating, and more natural words will start to take over.
  • Role-play with a team member and ask for constructive feedback.
  • Record yourself and watch/listen. Yeah, this can be particularly difficult, but it will help you pick up on those physical mannerisms, verbal crutches, and soft language that undermine a message.
  • Break longer presentations down into shorter snippets that you practice over and over in rapid succession.
  • Ask that role play partner to ambush you on occasion. “Quick, tell me why I would want to take a meeting with you.”

Practice out of respect

Your opportunities and brand are too valuable to leave anything to chance. You need to be confident, clear-headed, and in control of your message.

Practicing and role-playing show respect. It is a sign of respect to the opportunity you’ve created for yourself and to your audience, who has given you the most precious gift of all, their time. You have a responsibility to deliver value in exchange for that gift.

Practice the way you’ll play the game because you’re gonna play the game the way you practiced. 

Keep your eye on your goals this year and download our Producer Annual Plan by clicking below. 👇

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Photo by andreykuzmin