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The most important part of landing clients is probing. The better you probe, the less you have to close, the more prospects close themselves and the more of your clients’ friends and family they close for you. U.S. Trust research has shown that only 3% of prospects buy because they understand. But 86% buy because they’re understood.
You are likely really good at probing for numbers. Perhaps you have used a risk-tolerance scale. But you probably aren’t probing for what the prospect wants out of the relationship.
The Life Insurance Marketing Research Association (LIMRA) has determined that if you can gather one need, there is a 36% probability of a sale occurring if you present a good solution. If you can gather two needs, the probability goes up to 56%. If you can listen for three needs, a 92% probability exists if your solution meets their needs. Gathering three needs is the magical number.
The problem is that you present too little or too much, confusing the prospect or client.
This notion of three exists in many areas of communication. Telephone area codes are three digits. Prefixes are three numbers, and only unique phone IDs are four. Memory engrams (how our memories are chunked together) are in groups of three. During my frequent speeches, I verbally give the audience 10 numbers, two digits in length. I randomly ask one attendee to recite as many numbers as they can. No audience member in five years has ever remembered more than three. Most only get one. The numbers they do remember are among the first few or the last.
This is called the primacy-recency effect. Your prospects and clients will only remember three concepts from any meeting. Those memories will be among the first things they hear or the last. They will remember very little in the middle.
The tough question: How do you get their three most important needs? The answer: The “let’s assume” technique. If you have done a bang-up job of probing, you have learned a lot about your prospect/client. You know their disappointments, worries and even those loved ones they want to protect. But if you present solutions to all their needs, your prospect/client will walk away confused, unable to implement any of your ideas and suggestions.
Wouldn’t it be great if one question could reveal their three biggest needs? If you could then focus on their three most important needs in your presentation, would you get more business?
At the end of your probing appointment, ask this: “Let’s assume it’s three years in the future. What happened that let you know we had a great financial plan and a great relationship?” They might ask you to repeat the question. Just rephrase by saying, “No problem. Let’s assume it’s now 2022. Looking back to today, what happened that let you know the retirement plan worked out well. What did you get?”
There are three steps to the “let’s assume:”
1. Don’t interrupt.
It will be tempting for you to jump in and talk about what you can do. Resist the temptation. You won’t get all three needs.
2. Drill down their emotions into numbers.
“I want to have a happy retirement” isn’t a plan you can present. Ask what will make them happy. How much in retirement income? What is the number?
3. Recap and trial close.
Psychologists know to always clarify what a client says. They are trying to get meaning and intent from a psychotherapy client. Use these words. “If I heard you right, you said you wanted ------------, ------------------- and --------------. Is that what you said?” They will correct, add or subtract from what you heard. Trial Close is always, “If we could take a look at ------------------, ---------------- and --------------, would that be helpful?
Years ago, I thought I knew exactly what my prospect’s needs were during a coaching evaluation. I presented to those needs. The client said, “It all sounds great, but it’s not for me. Thanks anyway,” click.
Today, no matter what I think a prospects needs are, I always ask the “let’s assume” question. Prospective clients rarely stall or say no. I always tailor my presentation to what they said they wanted to buy. If you want to increase your closing ratio and present exactly what prospects and clients want to hear, use the “let’s assume” technique.
Write me at [email protected] or call 714-368-3650 and I will send you the exact wording for this technique and a video on how to use the approach when you probe.
Dr. Kerry Johnson is “America’s Business Psychologist.” He is the best-selling author of nine books and a frequent speaker at financial conferences around the world. Peak Performance Coaching, his one on one coaching program, promises to increase your business by 80% in eight weeks. To see if you are a candidate for this fast-track system, click on www.KerryJohnson.com/coaching and take a free evaluation test. You will learn about your strengths and what is holding you back. Or call 714-368-3650 for more information.
Read more articles by Kerry Johnson, MBA, Ph.D.