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softening up your prospects

Feb 29, 2008
I'm curious about something and I wonder if you wouldn't mind clearing it up. . .

Just so I'm absolutely understanding what you're saying. . .

Fantastic. That makes total sense. And so that I'm really getting where you're coming from . . .

Once we get past the basics of rapport and criteria elicitation, we can then feel free to put a little polish on our persuasion package.

Softening statements and questions are just that. When we elicit criteria, the basic structure is, 'What's important about X? What's important about Y? And ultimately, what's important about Z?'

Okay. So once we are comfortable with criteria elicitation, we can then add some softeners to sooth and encourage our prospect.

'I'm just curious, tell me, what's important to you about finding a new real estate agent to represent you?'

'Well,' says our prospect, 'I'm just not feeling comfortable with my current advisor and I'm looking for a change.'

'Fantastic. Absolutely. That makes excellent sense. And just so I'm fully understanding you, what's important about feeling totally comfortable with your current person?'

'Well, I just really want to feel solid in knowing that I am being taken care of with my best interests being looked after. I am not finding that to be the case right now.'

'Absolutely. I completely agree. And just so that I'm absolutely clear, ultimately, when you find this secure feeling that you're being taken care of, what will that mean to you?'

'It will mean that I don't have to worry about my family or my financial future.'

Using softening statements when we talk with our prospects, puts them at ease by showing them we truly understand, empathize and comply with what they need and desire.

Like playing a musical instrument, persuasion can either be taken directly off the page as written, but its power is best utilized when we get the basics down and then do a little improvisation. Obviously, without the basics, we get a lot of nonsense, but when we combine a solid foundation with these flourishes, it can be a beautiful symphony.
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches strategies to earn the business of affluent prospects using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion strategies.
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