Looking for partners for your business will be an ongoing part of your business – usually until you get a solid team up and running. Even once that happens, most people are open to scouting good talent and recruiting and training new business builders.
Over time, you develop your own rhythms and ways of working and talking, and it’s always good to go into the conversation with the mindset of the ‘headhunter’ or talent scout. In the early stages, everyone just wants someone to be interested, to buy into their idea or concept, or product – partly because you’re really keen to get things moving and partly because it’s validation of your excitement and vision – it helps to reinforce your good decision.
You have to remember though, that there is technique and style and a skill set to be learned, and what works for you might be different than what works for the next person. The key though is to be authentic, and to be genuinely you. It’s not to have a pitch that’s perfect, or know EVERY single detail about your company or its’ products. It’s much more important to have certain questions you ask to assess interest, and to learn how to listen carefully to the answers. So, that means you can start day one and do really well, and improve over time.
There are as many types of prospecting situations as there are people, but let’s take the deliberate call to invite someone to take a look. This is a pretty important one, because it’s almost always what people do first. And, the thing is – you do it when you’re brand new, so having some basic guidelines to follow can be tremendously helpful.
You must have a list to work from. If you have a list built, great! If not, please read my post: Network Marketing Prospect List Building (September 2009) for step-by-step simple guidelines to building your list.
Your list will likely have a mix of people – some local, some distant, some you talk to frequently, others you may not have been in touch with for a while.
If you have some people you think would be great, but you haven’t contacted them for some time, the first thought that will likely pop into your head is: We haven’t talked for a long time, how can I call them now and ask them to take a look at something.
Here’s how to think of it. What if they were calling you instead? And said something like: Hey (friend, cousin, old neighbor), I know we haven’t talked in ages, but I’ve got a new project and your name just popped immediately to mind and I wanted to call you and talk about it, and I’d love to catch up too – do you have time right now? Or could we make a time? How would you feel? Flattered? Happy to hear from them? Glad they called?
Remember, if you haven’t talked in a long time, they haven’t called you either. We’re all busy. Not hearing from someone doesn’t mean you don’t like them, don’t care about them, don’t want to connect with them. Keep all this in mind and call them!
Here’s how you should approach it. And, if you’re nervous, say so. That kind of honesty and transparency works. When you admit you’re a bit nervous, most people have the natural inclination to want to put you at ease, so they’re on your side instead of defensive. And, you can feel nervous or intimidated calling anyone– it could be your brother, or your best friend, or your neighbor, sometimes it’s just a little scary – maybe you’re worried about what they’ll think, or that you’re imposing on them. Hey, it’s just a question! If they’re not interested, be OK with that, if they are – you’re further along in your business.
Try this – start by saying something along these lines: Judy, it’s Amy from down the street – hey listen, I’m actually calling you on business, and it’s kind of weird, because I’m a little nervous, I’ve been working myself up to this call for a while (doesn’t matter if it’s 5 minutes or 5 days as long as that’s the truth!)
Usually you’ll get a response like: scared to call me? Why, what’s up?
Well, here’s the thing – I’ve started a new business, I’m looking for someone to partner with. I thought of you right away because:
THIS IS WHERE YOU FILL IN THE GENUINE REASON YOU’VE CALLED THEM. No phony flattery here, no sappy stuff, just the real truth. For example – I always enjoy talking to you when I run into you, you’re upbeat and easygoing, and that’s the kind of quality I’m looking for in a business partner. Or: everyone knows you’re the go-to person when you need something done, and that’s the kind of quality I’m looking for. Or: I know you’ve been successful in business, and that’s exactly what I need in my business. SAY WHATEVER IS TRUE FOR YOU, ABOUT THEM. Keep it short, and simple, but be real and authentic.
Then, you go on to say: Here’s the thing – I don’t know if you’re keeping your financial options open, but if you are, I’d like to have you take a look at what I’m doing and see if it grabs you at all – would you be open to that?
At that point, most people are going to say one of two things: Sure OR What is it?
You have to be very careful right at this juncture. What you do right here is critical to your success. Practice this on your spouse, your best friend, you kids, your dog, whoever – make sure you are comfortable with what comes next. The first time and every time it will be the key to getting people to take a look which is your ultimate goal ALWAYS. Not to get a decision, but to get people to honestly commit to looking, then to look, then to say YES or NO!
If they say NO, I’m really too busy right now to look at anything, or I’m not interested in a business, or whatever they might say that means NO, keep your cool, and thank them. Say something like: well, thanks for being honest, I really appreciate that – let’s talk again soon – or see you at soccer practice, or whatever is relevant. Just be polite and make it easy on them so it’s not awkward next time you see them, for you or for them.
If they say sure I’ll take a look – you’re done. Stop talking, tell them what you’re going to send, and get a follow up appointment. For example – Great Judy, thanks, I’ll be excited to hear what you think. What’s the best email to send a web link to? Or – would you be available to attend a live online presentation? Whatever it is that you’re are wanting them to do, schedule that, and schedule the follow up.
The answer you need to prep for a bit is the famous: What is it? You don’t want to answer that in the phone call – it’s very important NOT to present, but you also don’t want to be evasive. So, you need to have your quick 30 second business overview you can say and then send them info to look at.
Here are some examples. Say you represent a technology company – you might say something like: we offer a cutting edge internet service, it’s a cool concept, we’re doing something non one else has though of YET. I’ve got a quick online video you can watch and you’ll know in 5 minutes if the concept appeals to you. And listen, no pressure, if you like what you see, we’ll talk further, if not I’ll appreciate you having spent the few minutes to see if it grabs you.
If you represent a health product, you might say: this is a totally cutting edge company in the wellness field we’re doing something no one else is. I’ve got a quick online video you can watch and you’ll know in 5 minutes if the concept appeals to you.
If they press you for more – say, you know the video does such a good job at giving a quick overview of the whole picture – it really will make more sense to you. And, let’s talk after you’ve looked – if you like what you see, you’ll have questions. If it doesn’t grab you, I’ll just thank you for your time. When do you think you’ll have (amount of time it takes to watch whatever you’ve got for them – 10 minutes? 30 minutes?) to check it out and then I’ll call you back.
Set a time and follow up when you said you would. Be sure to see my article: Network Marketing: The Fortune is in the Follow Up (September 2009) for details on this important step!