My son, Cory, is the place-kicker for his football team. His kicking coach has told him a thousand times that, “Only about 10% of kicking has to do with mechanical skills. The remaining 90% is all mental.” Many of the coach’s drills are exercises in visualization—painting mental images of the ball going through the exact center of the goal posts. Indeed, high-performance athletes, of all types, know the importance of visualization.
Terry Orlick, noted sports psychologist, says in his book (In Pursuit of Excellence), "Athletes who make the fastest progress and those who ultimately become their best, make extensive use of performance imagery."
I write and train on all aspects of prospecting, and if there’s one thing I know about that facet of the industry, it’s this: Prospecting is a contact sport. The image in a place-kicker’s mind can win or lose a game on a last-second field-goal. Likewise, the images you hold in your mind as you prospect have a dramatic effect on the outcome of your prospecting encounters.
The key is to sharpen your prospecting vision. So, how does one go about that? Pretty simple really—just make sure you look through the correct lenses. You have three prospecting lenses and when they’re all in focus, you see with the clarity of 20-20 prospecting vision. The results of having this clarity may astound you.
The first lens you look through when you prospect is the physical lens. This lens determines how you see the environment around you. When you walk into your favorite fast-food restaurant, do you automatically walk to the table in the back corner, or do you look around for a viable prospect to sit near? When you pull in to fill your car with fuel, do you look for the pump with the most convenient access, or do you look for a sharp-dressed business person who you can park next to in hopes of initiating a conversation? When you focus your physical prospecting lens properly, you maintain an “eagle’s” eye everywhere you go. Many reps struggle to find prospects. The truth is that we don’t have to search for them at all. They’re all around us. We merely have to focus our physical prospecting lens and open our eyes.
The second prospecting lens you look through is your emotional prospecting lens. This lens brings into focus the why of your prospecting efforts. Situational prospecting hinges on approaching people we meet in random, everyday encounters. This activity is well outside of the comfort zone of many reps, especially those new to the industry. You need a compelling reason to step outside of your comfort zone. That reason is your why. Why are you involved in the business? Don’t tell me, “for more money” That’s a superficial answer. You’re not in for the money; you’re in for what the money can do for you. So what is it for you? More time with family? Is it a particular cause? What is it that gets your blood moving? That is your why. Focus your emotional prospecting lens and your why will compel you to step out your comfort zone, to initiate a conversation, to make a new friend and to offer the good news of your opportunity.
The final prospecting lens is one that few people stop to consider—the mental prospecting lens. This is the lens you look through in order to “see” the prospect’s reaction to your offer. We all use our mental prospecting lens, but tragically, most reps look through it backwards. When you look through it correctly, you see the prospect’s sincere enthusiasm as you offer your opportunity. This visualization is a powerful tool because the more vivid the image you “see,” the more it affects your outcome. Be careful though, because this tool works in both directions. If you look backward through the mental prospecting lens, you see the opposite image, one in which the prospect rejects you offer. This visualization is just as powerful, but the reverse image sets the wrong expectation. Your expectations tend to dictate your results. So, make sure you set the right expectation by focusing on the correct image. It’s a given that you’re going to use your mental prospecting lens so you might as well look through it in the proper direction.
Your opportunity has within it, the potential to change lives, even destinies. While prospecting really is a contact sport, it’s not about blocking, tackling or putting points on the board. It’s about connecting—with respect, generosity and purpose. So, polish your lenses and get some clarity. Once you have 20-20 prospecting vision, you’ll be on your way to the hall of fame.
Russ McNeil writes and trains for the Network Marketing and Direct Sales industries. His content is laser-focused on the subject of prospecting. When he first entered the industry years ago, he was completely ill-prepared. Eventually, through trial and error, extensive personal development and sheer determination, he mastered the art of prospecting. Through his engaging presentation style, hard-won experience and appealing sense of humor, audiences and readers from a wide range of companies have learned fresh insights into the crucial, yet often misunderstood subject of prospecting. To discover more, visit www.AhaUniversity.com. You are free to reprint, distribute and share the article above as long as this paragraph remains intact and attached. © 2011 Russ McNeil.