Don’t try to answer someone’s prayers until you know what they are praying for.

By Larry Kendall, chairman of The Group, Inc. and author of Ninja Selling

Most salespeople have been taught the traditional three-step sales presentation:

  1. Make a connection (build rapport);
  2. Make a presentation of features and benefits;
  3. Close.

My observation is that most managers use this three-step approach in their recruiting, as well. After building rapport, they immediately launch into their spiel: “Let me tell you about the exciting things we are doing in our company – technology, lead generation, brand, staff system, etc.”

There’s an old rule of selling , “Don’t try to be the answer to someone’s prayers until you know what they are praying for.” The traditional three-step sales presentation violates this rule. The manager (or salesperson) who is telling and selling never discovers what the recruit (or customer) is praying for. If you don;t accidentally hit a hot bottom, your presentation starts to sound like “blah, blah, blah.”

What would happen if the manager used the Ninja Four-Step Consultation instead? This is the process we teach in our Ninja Selling classes, and it works great for managers who are recruiting. Let’s face it; a recruiting interview is a sales interview. Here’s how the four-step consultation works.

Step 1: Connection

Recruits want to work with someone they like and trust. They decide this in the first two minutes. Do they feel a connection with you? Do they like you, trust you, and want to go down this path with you? They will feel the connection if you ask questions about them. WE recommend you ask F.O.R.D. questions- Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dream (goals). Most people are very comfortable talking about these four areas of their life, and you are building rapport and connection.

Step 2: Information (Pain/Pleasure)

This is critical transition step. In the traditional three-step sales process, you would now be at the presentation stage, where you launch into your pitch of features and benefits. Most managers love this step because they get a chance to strut their stuff on stage.

There are two problems with this approach: first, the manager is trying to be the answer to their prayers without knowing what they are praying for; and second, the manager has time of possession (is doing all the talking). After a few minutes, the recruit stops paying attention, drifts off, and the connection is lost.

Instead of launching into your spiel, listen carefully to how the recruit answers your question about F.O.R.D., especially about their business (occupation). Listen for pain and pleasure. This is what they are praying for. Here are my two favorite pain and pleasure questions:

Pain: “What is your greatest challenge in your business right now?”

Pleasure: “If you could wave a magic wand and have your business just the way you want it, what would that look like?”

Step 3: Solution (Create Potential Solutions)

Now, formulate potential solutions that solve what they are praying for. How can you connect what you have to what they want? I once had a top producer tell me she was so busy, and the market was so hot, that she couldn’t make a move at this time. When I asked her about her greatest challenge, she said she was working all the time, and business was falling off her desk.

Step 4: Proposal (Propose Solutions)

I showed her how our staff systems would save her time and make her money. We could dramatically increase her income per hour so she could have a life. She had also talked about a goal of having more time with family and this solution resonated with her. She joined us right away because she wanted the solution.

Be a master recruiter. Stop selling and start selling.^

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends Inc. Copyright 2016.

The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry. 











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