CS: Prospecting – The 5 Steps of the Initial Meeting

The Clarity Series is a series of posts all on one subject.  This particular subject is prospecting.  While the context is commercial real estate, these steps and principles can be applied to any sales.  To read the introduction of this series, click here.  To read an overview of the entire prospecting system, click here.  Thank you for reading!


Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve discussed the first 5 steps of the killer prospecting system:  geography, specialty, database, use the mail, and make the dang cold call.  You have done these 5 steps and now have a meeting with a prospect.  Here is what I used to do.

I would go into the meeting guns blazing about why me, why my company, and why now.  It was all about me.  I would give my canned listing presentation.  I would use this on a 2 acre piece of raw land just like I would with an $8MM apartment complex.  I cringe thinking about this.

With some experience and some great coaching, I learned a better way.  Remember, if you are following my system, this initial meeting should be short.  Actually, you told the prospect that it would be short.  If you connect and the prospect starts asking questions – great.  You may be there 2 hours.  However, you told them short.  Prepare for short as you are making an impression as someone with integrity…or not.

5 Steps of the Initial Meeting

Your purpose in this meeting is two-fold.  First, you need to find out if there is a problem or an opportunity.  Second, you want to leave with an appointment for a second, longer meeting.  This second meeting is where you will make your proposal.  Here is how to pull it off.

  1. Ooze Gratitude and Excitement – Too many brokers or salespeople act too cool.  If you have done your homework and worked the system, then you are sitting with someone who you want to do business with.  You are sitting across from someone who you have pursued.  Don’t act like you could care less.  Show the prospect that you are excited.  Let them know that you are thankful they have given you some time.  Gratitude and manners go a long way.  “Mr. Prospect, I lost sleep last night I was so excited about meeting with you today.  Thank you so much for the time.”
  2. Arrive Bearing Gifts – To get the meeting, you may have offered them something of value – information on a comparable sale effecting their property’s value, etc.  Be sure you have it.  It is likely they aren’t meeting with you because of your reputation.  Deliver this information in the context of a story.  Stories are a great way to communicate the emotion of the deal.  It will help you connect with the prospect.
  3. Make the meeting about them – This is contrary to a salesperson’s natural inclination.  Don’t drone on about your experience or your company.  You should have researched the prospect.  Try to quickly connect around some common ground.  Did you go to rival colleges?  Do you have children of similar ages?  Ideally, you will be in their office.  This gives you the opportunity to see pictures, awards, diplomas, etc.  Pay attention to detail.
  4. Ask Great Questions – Here is where you are trying to uncover motivations that could lead to a transaction.  Better stated – you are trying to uncover opportunities to serve the prospect and build trust.  Asking open-ended and insightful questions is how you will do it.  Try to find area of frustration or pain.  Ask them what keeps them up at night regarding their property.  The answer could be about an opportunity they are excited about.  It could also be about pain they are having.  Ask them about frustrations they have had with previous broker relationships.  The answers to these questions are gold.  This is the information you will use to prepare your customized proposal to win their business later.
  5. Ask for the next meeting – Now that you have conducted your needs-analysis meeting, ask for the next meeting.  Explain that you will need a little more time for the next meeting to propose how they might achieve their highest interest (this is the same highest interest you learned in step 4).  Once you leave with an appointment, it is now time to prepare for your proposal.

What are your thoughts about an initial needs-analysis meeting?  What are some questions that you would ask?  Please leave your comments below!


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What is WOW and 5 Steps to Make it Part of Your Business

My wife has an angelic voice (right now she has laryngitis and is confined to a whisper).  She is a beautiful Southern girl.  Before she gave it up to marry me, her dream was to go to Nashville and be a country singer.



I don’t like country music as a rule.  The main exception to this is I liked the Keith Urban music that she would play.  One year, as a gift to her, I took her to a Keith Urban concert in Memphis.  By this time, I knew his music.

My first observation of that concert was that it was my wife and me and 15,000 17-year-old girls.  I felt completely out-of-place.  Then he started playing.  The songs that I thought were good were suddenly outstanding.  I found myself wondering why the same songs were so much better live.  I was completely blown away.

I think there were a couple of reasons.  First, I play guitar.  I appreciate talented guitar players.  Keith Urban might be the best guitar player I have ever seen live.  I did not expect this to be the case.

Second, the energy in the place was off the charts.  I found myself moved.  I did not expect this either.

Third, the sound and lights coupled with the excellence of the live delivery shocked me.  Urban and his band were awesome musicians.  They played with passion and authenticity.  I could feel the emotion and the connection they had with the music.  Then you add the lights and multi-media experience, and I was loving it.  I completely didn’t expect that.

A couple of months later, I ran a mini-marathon (it didn’t feel mini!).  You know what I listened to for about 2 hours?  Keith Urban.  His concert completely exceeded my expectations.  It gave me goose-bumps.

That is what WOW is – goose-bumps.  I’m still not a country fan, but I will listen to his music anytime.  I’ve had an experience with it.

In his book Platform:  Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Michael Hyatt begins that you must start with WOW.  So how do we know what WOW is?  It is constantly exceeding the expectations of your clients, prospects, customers, volunteers, etc.  It is delivering goose-bumps.

So let’s consider how you can apply the concept of WOW to your business.

How to Apply WOW in Your Business

  1. Be Intentional – you don’t succeed in the WOW category on accident.  How many hours of planning and practice did Keith Urban and his band put into that concert?  Purpose to exceed your clients’ expectations.
  2. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes – Have you ever tried to think like your customer?  What is their experience like when they call your office?  Or walk into your waiting room?
  3. Understand their expectations – You can’t be purposeful about exceeding expectations if you don’t understand what they are.  Ask your clients.  Write down what you think.  Involve your team.
  4. Examine every aspect of your business – What I am talking about here is looking at every point where your business touches a client.  Or you can take it a step further and consider how you can exceed the expectations of your employees or team members.  Think about business development, customer service, leadership development, HR, IT, follow-up, etc.
  5. Define the win – You need to be specific about what WOW looks like.  I read a great book called Mr. Schmooze (it is way better than what the title suggests).  In this book, the author uses the term elevate.  Ask yourself constantly how you can elevate the experience of your clients – how can you give them goose-bumps.  Write it down!

These are next practices!

Now ask yourself – do I deliver WOW on a daily basis?  What would your referral business look like if you did?  Share in the comments below how you could do this in your business!


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