Chasing whales: How to contact a list of larger-than-life prospectsBlog added by Sandy Schussel on July 30, 2013
Sandy Schussel

Sandy Schussel

Princeton, NJ

Joined: December 10, 2011

My Company

Sandy Schussel, LLC

Bill is a financial services representative who told me that one of the greatest challenges for him was his fear of reaching out to the already successful people in his community whom he thought he could help.

“I have a list of these people I never call,” he told me. "The thought of reaching out to them gets my stomach churning, and I just can’t bring myself to do it.”

Bill’s list of special potential clients had at least 50 names on it. These individuals were promising high-earners who seemed like larger-than-life prospects. He called it his “whale list.”

“What’s the actual challenge in contacting them?” I asked him. “Why is it that you have no trouble contacting other people, but you’re paralyzed when it comes to contacting the whales?”

Bill thought for a moment and then nearly gasped at his own answer.

“They might think I’m a fool to believe that I could help them.”

“Bill, do you believe you can help them?” I asked.

“Well … yes, I think I might be able to.”

"So, all you’re really saying is that they might say no to you,” I pressed on. "And if you think about it, how is that any different from when anyone else says no to you?”

Again, there was a silence, and then Bill replied. "Well, I guess it really isn’t any different."

“So, if you weren’t afraid to pick up the phone and ask them if they’d like to work with you," I asked, “what would you do differently than you do with anyone else you call?”

“Nothing different at all," he quickly conceded.

"Could you commit, then, to just one whale call a day?” I asked, and Bill agreed that he would.

After a week, I could tell we had created some magic. Bill had already made five whale contacts, and while three of them had politely told him they had no interest in speaking with him about their situations, two of them made appointments with him. None of the whales were rude to him or refused to take his call.

A few weeks went by, and Bill was still too intimidated by these local “movers and shakers” to make more than one whale call per day — but he has also successfully converted one of the whales into a promising new client.

If there are whales on your list whom you’re terrified to contact, challenge yourself to call just one a day, or even one each week. Prepare and rehearse what you’re going to say, and then make that single attempt to connect. It could change the entire course of your practice.
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