Cold Market Prospecting – Tips to Break the Ice

cold market prospectingI SUCKED at cold market prospecting.

I’m not an introvert but I have never been the one to initiate a conversation with a total stranger. However, if someone initiated a conversation with ME, I’d always engage in it.

Over the last several months, I’ve been working on initiating and carrying on natural small-talk with people…and to my surprise, I’m actually quite okay!

My next issue w/ cold market prospecting was transitioning from small-talk to inviting them to take a look at my business. In most cases, it just doesn’t feel natural to bring it up during the conversation and I’d unnaturally blurt it out at the end. To avoid that, I refrained from the invitation when I felt as though I didn’t have an opening. In retrospect, most of the conversations I didn’t bring it up in now seem like the ones in which I SHOULD HAVE.

Now that I am more confident in my cold market prospecting, I don’t care about slapping it on the end of an unrelated conversation. I smile, ask them IF I can ask them, and then ask them. What do I have to lose?

The times that I felt most comfortable discussing it is when someone asks me, “What do you do?”. I simply tell them and then I go into asking them to check out what I do and to give me their opinion. Since the only way to succeed is to fail first, my delivery improved each time I delivered.

I had a phone conversation w/ a friend who mentioned to me that when I’m talking to anyone I’ve just met, I should have a flow to fall back on to avoid having the conversation coming to an awkward pause. That reminded me of a key structure I knew of. Once I started using it, it made cold market prospecting MUCH less awkward for me.

Cold Market Prospecting Using F.O.R.M.

What is F.O.R.M.?

Family.
Occupation.
Recreation.
Message.

A structure I was aware of but never used.

Family:
When you are cold market prospecting, these are easy to ask, ice-breaking questions that can be brought up right after the initial greeting and introduction.

  • Where are you from?
  • Do you live around here?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children?

In general conversation, most people are very comfortable talking about familiar things such as their surroundings and the people close to them.

Occupation:
When I am cold market prospecting, I sometimes skip family and open w/ this step.

My ideal prospect is an upscale individual who is dressed sharp, may drive a nice car or just carries themselves in a professional manner that says, “I am about business!”. When I encounter an ideal prospect, I start by finding something to compliment them on. Then I might ask them:

  • What do you do for a living?
  • Sounds interesting. So what are some of the pros and cons of being in your position?
  • Overall, do you enjoy [occupation/business]?
  • On an average week, how much of your time is required to work in your job/business?

If they work in a field that I am familiar with, I use this as an opportunity to share a little of my knowledge and experience of their line of work. Naturally, most people will ask me the question in return. Depending on the situation, this can that great opening for me to explain what I do, the services I offer and the benefits that I provide. From there, I can make the transition to invite them to see an overview of my business.

Recreation:
Nothing breaks through the ice in my cold market prospecting more than getting my prospects talking about the things they enjoy!

This is a good opportunity to connect with my prospect on common activities we may share.

  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • Do you have any hobbies/talents/interests?
  • Are you actively involved w/ your community or church?
  • What places have you visited?

I pay close attention here, as this is the part where people may give away their amount of disposable income.

Message:
You should have gathered enough information in the last three steps to determine if your cold market prospect is satisfied w/ their current living arrangements, happy w/ their job and has enough time outside of work to spend doing the things they enjoy w/ the people they love. Most of the people I will talk to aren’t and believe it or not, I may have the solution to their problem!

This is the part where I deliver my message. I use what I have learned about them during the conversation and show them how I can help them improve their situation and add a positive change to their life.

Planting the Seed in Your Cold Market Prospecting

If they are open to the idea, great!
I present my cold market prospect w/ my business card w/ a link to your website or a DVD. I save the featured magazines for my ideal prospects. Regardless of the tool, make sure your contact information is written, printed or labeled on every tool you pass out. Everyone that accepts your tools won’t always use them and you never know where they might end up. If your promotional tools land in the hand of the right person, you want them to know exactly who they can contact to answer their questions.

Next, I ask my prospect if they mind exchanging their phone number as well so that I can follow up w/ them. If not, we schedule a day and time that I will follow up w/ them and I call them exactly at that time! Keeping a timely appointment shows your professionalism whether they do or not.

If they are NOT open to the idea, great!
I ask them if you can give them my business card in case they change their mind or might know someone who IS looking for an opportunity. Once again, you never know where your card might end up. I save the rest of my valuable tools for interested prospects. I shake their hand and thank them for their time.

You don’t want to get into elaborating too much at this point, that’s what the online presentation or DVD is for. If they start asking questions, refer them back to the tools. Your time is valuable and you don’t want to spend too much time w/ one person so after giving them a tool, make up a reason that you must leave and end the conversation.

This is not a blueprint for cold market prospecting but an example of questions I’ve asked and a technique I’ve used to break the ice and invite total strangers to take a look at my business.

Be creative, improvise and most importantly, HAVE FUN. Once developed, your communication skills will be the most powerful skill you have.

When you are cold market prospecting, remember…

the FLOW is in the F.O.R.M.,

and the FORTUNE is in the follow-up!


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