How to double your closing ratioArticle added by Annette Bau on February 25, 2010
Annette Bau

Annette Bau

Tempe, AZ

Joined: October 01, 2007

Part of a training course I recently attended included strategies to help the participants improve their sales. The instructor asked a typical question: "What is the worst thing a prospect can say to you when you ask them to do business with you?" He and the 200-plus people responded how most respond, agreeing the worst reply would be, "No, I am not interested in doing business with you."

This is actually one of the best-case scenarios that can even improve your closing ratio. To better understand why this isn't the worst scenario, read on.

Step 1: Understand the three levels of prospects

How a person presents themselves in their life naturally dictates how they will behave in the future and what kind of client they will be when they do say, "Yes, I want to do business with you." For example, a level one person saying "yes" is generally not a good thing, unless you enjoy misery. To better understand how the different personality levels think and act, let's review them.

Level One. Level one type people are short, defensive, rude and unhappy. They gossip, complain, blame others, and have excuses for everything. They don't listen and spend their time telling, rather than asking. If issues come up, they ignore them, hoping they will go away.

Level Two. Level two people are over-extended. They generally lack focus, time and/or money. Level two people will either convert to a level three prospect or revert to level one.

Level Three. Level three people are balanced, grounded and positive. They are clear on what they want and focus their days on high-value fixed daily activities (HVFDAs). When challenges come up, they quickly resolve them. These people are present and take responsibility and action for their lives. While people can change levels, your job is to determine a prospect's base level, which is where they spend 90 percent of their time. To sum up the type of people, level one are not even aware that something has happened. Level two are people who wonder what has happened, and level three make it happen.

Step 2: Understand how different levels respond

Understanding how each personality level responds will help you to improve your sales and focus your energy. When approached by an advisor to meet to discuss their situation and assist them with their financial decisions, typical responses from the different levels of personalities include:

Level One. Level one people will respond, "No, I am not interested." They will be rude, short and defensive. Or, they may say, "Yes, but..." They will lead you to believe they are interested. They will set an appointment and then miss it. They will set an appointment and then not have money. They always have excuses for why now is not the time. These people will complain to you about an issue -- weight, health or money -- then when you give them a solution, they will spend hours giving excuses for why it won't work. Their problems are working so well for them that they have no reason to change. "Yes, buts" are the worst clients because they waste your time and destroy your closing ratio. And if they do become your client, they will do their best to make their problems your problems.

For example, a typical conversation with a level one type of person goes like this: They state, "We aren't going to be able to retire as planned." You respond, "I might be able to look at your portfolio and give you some ideas on how you can produce additional income." They then -- without listening -- spend the next 30 to 50 minutes telling you why it won't work.

These are the type of people you need to get out of your business and your life, because they either lead a life of excuses or they give you a false sense that you might be able to do business with them. Ultimately, level one people waste your time, deplete your energy, and make you want to get out of this business.

Level Two. When level two people are asked, "Would you like to meet to review your portfolio?" they will respond, "Yes, I am interested, but not now. Please contact me in three or six months." Or, "No, I am not interested now, but check back with me in six months." The best strategy for this type of prospect is to set up an automated drip system and check in with them every three to six months. At some point, they will either become a client or revert to a level one. These are the people you stay in touch with, and 10 years later, when they sell their business or inherit money, they call you to manage the money.

Level Three. Level three people will respond, "Yes, I am interested" or "No, I am not interested." The difference between a level three and a level one person is that level three people are mature, respectful and polite. They are masters of relationship marketing. They don't make it personal and don't get defensive.

As you can see from these character descriptions, the worst-case scenario is not for a person to say, "No, I am not interested in working with you," but for them to say, "Yes, but..."

Your closing ratio will soar once you clearly understand that the best-case scenario is a level three saying, "Yes, I want to start working with you." The next best responses would be "No, I don't," followed by "No, but check with me later." The worse-case scenario is, "Yes, but..."

Now you can spend all of your time focusing on the types of clients who can make things happen.

Step 3: Become a level three producer

Attracting level three clients requires that you become a level three producer, because it's difficult, if not impossible, to bring someone's energy up. While level one prospects may want a different result, they don't want to change their beliefs or actions to achieve that result. So, unless you want to join them in the insanity club, just get rid of them.

Just as you can't listen to radio station 100.3 if you are tuned in to 99.9, you can't attract a level three client if you are a level one producer. Level three producers are the top producers, and they're not just top producers from the perspective of income, they're top producers from the perspective of their entire lives.

When top producers ask questions, they listen without planning a response. They want input from their clients and prospects because they understand that is the key to quantum leaps in production. They don't have their own agenda -- they're seeking information. Then they're going to determine how they can best serve their clients.

Level three producers understand that regardless of the business they are in, a large part of it has to do with numbers, which is, after all, why it's called a "numbers game." They understand they are in the qualifying and sifting business. They qualify and sift through prospects to get rid of level one people and to fill their pipeline with level three prospects. When you have enough ideal suspects in your funnel, you understand that you don't have time to waste on level one prospects.

They focus on what they want rather than what they don't want. They are also crystal clear on their desired result and take the time to build a solid foundation, which includes everything regarding their time, money, health, relationships, etc. Once they are clear on what they want, they set affirmative goals and HVFDAs for each goal, which keeps them on-task. They also understand that once they decide what they want, they don't have to worry about how it will come to fruition.

Finally, level three producers understand that to perform at this level requires them to be at their best, which includes a solid foundation. They take time for their inner work, get adequate sleep, eat an excellent diet, think positive thoughts, and surround themselves with people who also operate at a level three. They recognize that when they are not at their best is when they revert to a level one or two.

Hopefully, you now understand why "No, I am not interested in doing business with you" is not the worst thing a prospect can say to you.

Once you determine when you are at your best, you can then apply it to be a level three producer. Then, you will be able to attract and work with level three prospects and achieve a top closing ratio.

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