How to stop wasting time on frustrating prospects

Posted by May04, 2015 Comments Comments Off on How to stop wasting time on frustrating prospects
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If I stand in front of the ferry terminals at circular quay in Sydney and hand out $50 notes, it is likely that most people will be reluctant to take the notes from me because we all tell ourselves a story. That story might go something like this; “no one would hand out $50 for no reason at all. They probably want something in return and I don’t know what it is. I’m scared. I’m not taking the money. I’m better off without the $50 than taking the risk of getting hassled or stooged or something like that”.

There is very little we can do to change the stories that people tell themselves. For example, I could put up signs saying that the “money is free and without obligation”… but people probably still won’t believe it. Stories are shaped by our upbringing, our personality, our experiences, our belief and value systems and so on.

Would you take a $50 note from a stranger?

People tell themselves stories about investing, property and mortgage brokers too. Things like:

  • I don’t need any help. I am just as smart as they are. I can work it all out myself.
  • Brokers are just in it for themselves. You don’t care about me. You only care about yourself.
  • Property is too expensive. The market is going to crash.


  • I’m hopeless with money and really need help.
  • I’m not an expert and don’t have time – I need to find someone to work with.
  • I have procrastinated for too long – I’m ready to take action.

I had an experience with a new prospect recently. He was a retired Professor with plenty of wealth and wanted to understand if he should borrow to invest in another property. He booked a meeting with me via a staff member in my office. He then called me the day after and asked if he really had to come into the city because it’s a pain and secondly, is it worth meeting or is it going to be a waste of his time? I didn’t promise I could add value (how do I know until I meet him) but said it would be worthwhile and yes, he’s got to come into the city. He emailed through his financial information after the phone discussion. He emailed me at 6pm the night before our meeting to cancel and requested a phone call instead. I told him a face-to-face is better and to contact me after he returns from his 6 week holiday when he has more time. He called me after he received my email response to complain – saying that I was rude and didn’t value his potential business (he told me he used to be the Dean of his university, that he knows everything, that I probably could think of any ways to help but he was open to listening in case I did, etc., etc.).

It was clear to me that this prospect was telling himself a story. His story goes something like:

  • He is smart. He is wealthy. He is a Professor.
  • No advisor is smarter or knows more than he does.
  • His time is more important than mine and it’s not worth traveling into the city.
  • He doesn’t really think anyone can help i.e. he doesn’t really have a “need” – something we can help him with.

There were plenty of signs of the “story” he was telling himself. Little hints, the way he spoke, the words he used, the questions he asked, what he did, the statements he made and so forth. He’s probably been telling himself the same story for many years. It’s almost certain that there was nothing I could do or say to change this story.

The point is, you need to look for the signs or hints that indicate what story a prospect is telling themselves. And you must understand that there is nothing you can to change their story.

Instead, find the prospects that are already telling themselves a story that is congruent with the service and advice you offer and provide a narrative for them to use (and to attract them). For example, a prospect might be telling themselves that “they are hopeless with money, need help and want to find someone they can trust”. Your narrative (marketing story) then should be something like (for example) “X% of Australians are poor at managing their money. You help your clients grow their wealth by doing X, Y and Z. You have literally 100’s of testimonials from happy clients you have worked with for the last 8 years”. This narrative will appeal perfectly to this prospect.

Mortgage brokers waste too much time trying to convert poor quality prospects and get frustrated in the process – the prospects get frustrated too because you are trying to sell something they don’t want to buy. I believe that it is the prospects that you choose NOT to deal with that determine how much profit you make – not the other way around. Not every prospect is going to want to buy what you are selling. Spend most of your time with the prospects that are telling themselves the right story. And help the other prospects to move onto another broker or bank that suits them better.



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