a new definition for prospecting

John David Mann calls it the “central skill of our profession”. Robert Butwin calls it “the life blood of our business”. Denise Clements calls it “the most vital skill of all”. And John Milton Fogg says that “in network marketing, it rules!”
Can any of us argue? Prospecting produces the fuel on which our business runs. A rep with a stagnant names list, in all likelihood, has a stagnant business as well. Surely we all agree that prospecting is important, but still, what is it? Well, perhaps we should start by pointing out what prospecting is not.
Prospecting is NOT… asking someone if they would like to be part of your business
How long have you been involved with your company? Have you been participating in training? Have you been using the product for a while? Well, the prospect doesn’t have any of those experiences. He doesn’t know how your comp plan works. His belief hasn’t been bolstered by countless testimonials of income and product results. In short, you have a huge information advantage over her. It’s not feasible to bridge that information gap in the first encounter. The prospect does not know enough to make a qualified decision about participating and it isn’t fair for you to ask—not in the first encounter. Of course, you should make an offer, but your offer shouldn’t be for the prospect to join your team.
Prospecting is NOT… trying to convince someone to look at your DVD or magazine
Merely assuming that the prospect is interested is arrogant and self-serving. Of course, our motive isn’t arrogant or selfish, but our motive is not what matters. The prospect’s perspective is what matters. Put yourself in the prospects shoes: a total stranger strikes up a friendly conversation and in no time at all, he starts babbling about a great way to make money and shoves some kind of tool into your personal space. It is this very scenario that causes many reps to avoid situational prospecting altogether. What a waste. It’s not the fact that you’re a stranger and it’s not the fact that you offered a tool that gives situational prospecting a bad reputation. The difference between win-win prospecting and fail-fail prospecting is determined 100% by how we go about it.
Prospecting is NOT… trading business cards and expecting the phone to ring
Use the tools produced by your company. They have been carefully designed to create maximum positive impact—auditory, visual, and emotional. It’s a rare person indeed that can convey the same impact in a 30-120 second, random encounter with a total stranger. Even if you do have the talent, does your team? The idea is to duplicate yourself. If your pattern of prospecting isn’t duplicable, it’ll be hard to create sustainable growth on your team.
Another, less obvious, advantage to using tools is that it fosters a pattern of exchange between you and the prospect (you offer opportunity, he responds positively, you hand him a tool, he gives you a phone number, etc.) In other words, tolls help you to activate the Law of Reciprocity. Business cards don’t have enough perceived value to create the same perception of exchange.
Prospecting IS… focusing on the other person
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Everything you say and do should take into account the perspective of the prospect. For example, if you use the word “I” you’re speaking from your perspective, not the prospect’s. Practice rephrasing your conversations to use the word “you” instead of “I”. (Hint: ask questions instead of making statements. This will automatically shift your focus to the other person.) Make an offer based on what your opportunity can do for the prospect, not so you can qualify for the upcoming bonus trip.