By Lance Gordon
In a world overflowing with messages of all kinds (marketing, social, entertainment, political, religious, etc.), how do you get someone to listen to your message? And how do you attract their attention without them even realizing you are doing it?
One way to do it is piquing—an effective prospecting strategy I learned many years ago. I continue to use it today because it simply works, and it doesn’t cause people to cross to the other side of the street when they see you coming. It’s actually a lot like fishing.
Instead of throwing out your line and waiting for the fish to bite, in piquing you throw out casual comments and questions and wait for feedback. Those comments aren’t just idle chatter; they are specifically designed to trigger some kind of an emotional response within a person who is experiencing pain. That pain could be a result of several factors (which we will discuss later), but if they have pain, and you offer some kind of relief from it, they will most likely respond to your piquing comment. If they don’t, then you probably don’t have a legitimate prospect, and you don’t have to waste a lot of time pursuing that person.
Here’s an example: Suppose you are at a party and someone makes a comment about how they are worried about their kids going to college and how they are going to pay for it. A piquing comment might be, “You know what? I found a way I can send my kids to any college they want to attend and it’s all taken care of.” The trick is to say nothing more about this topic in the conversation. If the prospect doesn’t ask you a question about how this could be done, they are not really interested. If nothing happens, you just drop it. Now, keep in mind that if he or she doesn’t respond right away, it doesn’t mean they will never respond. They might bring it up when you see them again, or, if the heavens really align, they might actually call and say something like, “I remembered what you said about paying for college and it’s been on my mind ever since! What did you mean by that?” Of course that kind of delayed response doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s nice to know you have a prospect that’s really interested.
I actually got my start working with the Javalution Coffee Company that eventually became part of Youngevity. It launched during tax season, and as a CPA, I was pretty busy. But I did have a steady stream of clients coming into my office, so I took advantage of the opportunity by doing some piquing. My favorite piquing question was simply, “Do you like coffee?” If they showed some interest, I would ask them if they would be open to exploring an opportunity in the coffee business. If I got a positive response from that, I would go into a short presentation (1-2 minutes) about the company. I didn’t provide a lot of details—it was simply a vehicle to stimulate excitement and curiosity. After they heard that presentation, I would ask, “What did you like most about that?” It’s important to “take their temperature” to find out if they are really interested. Usually they say they liked what they heard, but they need more details. In that case I would say, “great, but before we go on I want to make sure you are really interested so we don’t waste each others’ time. Did you like what you saw?” If they answered “yes” I would tell them we could proceed to step 2 and I gave them a few sales aids that covered the company mission, products, and comp plan. Later I would follow up and get them involved in the business.
Curiosity is the secret to success with piquing. Don’t give them all the information right at first. Find out what the “pains” are in their lives. If someone complains about his or her health, I say, “Listen, I might be able to help you improve your health situation. Are you interested?” If they’re not, I move on. I don’t try to talk them into it. Youngevity Ambassador Tom Chenault uses this same principle with his “Coffee Shop Interview.” It’s a way to look for pain in people’s lives, and then piquing their interest that you might have a solution. I thought it was brilliant! Sometimes I like to ask a thought-provoking question with 3 possible answers. The question is, “If you had a choice to have one of the things: health, free time, or wealth. Which one would you pick?” Of course everyone wants all 3, but it’s interesting to watch them contemplate the options. 80 percent of the people pick “health,” but what really keeps them awake at night is how they are going to make it to the end of the month financially. The immediate need is money. After discussing their answer, I ask, “What if I could show you a way to obtain all 3?” After you practice piquing for a while, it almost becomes second nature. I now do it without even thinking. My kids and friends sometimes ask me why I am so “nosey” and why I ask so many questions.
But I sincerely like to get to know people and they generally enjoy the attention. They open up and you can really develop a relationship. You can pique anywhere! Think about the waiter at a restaurant, the salesperson at a retail store, the person who cuts your hair. Many of these workers would really rather be doing something else and/or need more money. Ask piquing questions that will ultimately get them to ask what you do for a living. When that happens I tell them I help people start, own, and operate their own businesses. And I tell them I do that with no capital investment. Let me tell you, for the right prospect, that idea is very exciting! But let me emphasize the secret again. If you tell people everything at first, you will have nobody talking to you. Once you start selling, the wall goes up.
So, I wish you luck in your piquing activities. At Youngevity we really do have the solution for people’s pain, whether it be physical or emotional, and we can alleviate it. In the process, we will develop lasting friendships that enrich our lives.
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