Read an Excerpt
GETTING OVER THE LINE
As a basketball coach, I spent a lot of time recruiting new players. Every year, I'd travel the state, talking to young people and their parents, convincing them to come to my school and play on my team.
After I left coaching and entered the financial services business, I was equally successful in convincing people to allow me to invest their money. Since I had always been pretty successful in getting these commitments from players and my clients, I didn't think too much about it until colleagues began pointing out how easily I was achieving one of the most difficult tasks in the sales process - getting over the line.
Getting a relationship "Over the Line" can be described as creating a need in someone else's life for you or your product in a friendly, trusting, non-threatening way . . . to the point that they feel a need to deepen the relationship. It may be a need they do not even know they have until you help them discover it by using the concepts and processes of what I call "The Conversational Science Model."
The definition of "Over the Line" is basically initiating or moving a relationship to a deeper level where by there is enough trust and confidence involved to have a more formal and meaningful conversation which can benefit both parties.
It is built on the philosophical psychological foundation that people judge your intellect and expertise more by the questions you ask than the statements you make which also simultaneously establishes trust.
In real life, "Over the Line" is reference to getting a prospect to sit down for a formalized meeting about their situation or helping them make a decision to take action onsomething they may not even know they need to do.
It the most overlooked conversation in all the sales training that I have been a part of and also the most important to master.
I often say that once a person gets in front of a prospect in a formal setting that the close ratio is at least 80%. I believe almost anyone can be trained to execute The Conversational Science Model, our process of relationship building once they get the appointment.
The difficult part is getting the appointment, which takes a fair amount of talent and intelligence as well as a tremendous amount of practice.
Our Conversational Science process is designed to make the prospect decide that he or she needs to sit down for a more detailed conversation. They don't feel like they are being sold to, rather that they are in control and understand some of the needs they have that are not being fulfilled or they have doubts about.
I like to say our system is not designed around selling but more around the client buying . . . and it's a much more comfortable environment and relationship development process for the prospect and the sales person.
It's also a much easier process to execute because it is built on common sense psychology and has a definite sequence of steps and it's a process that's unique because it's mostly conceptual with enough definitive signals to help you know exactly what to do at every part of the conversation.
Learning and being able to execute in this conversation works in any type of relationship you are thinking about beginning or improving. It's helpful for cold call-type relationship building as well as friendship and acquaintance relationship development. Heck, it even works great with a spouse or children!
Conversation Science is designed to help the person you're working with come to the conclusion to do what you would like for them to do. As you will find, it's much better to help people make their own decisions that can be highly beneficial to them than to try to sell, tell, or force them into a decision that is mutually beneficial.
When you can help your client discover a need they didn't even know they had, it can be a "light bulb" type of experience and very exciting for your customer - and for you.
Learning how to execute Conversational Science skills to accomplish the creation of a need in someone else's life separates the average from the great relationship developers.
Michael Jordan is still considered the greatest basketball player who ever lived. He was also one of the most gifted physically to ever play the game. With his quickness and leaping ability, along with his tremendous desire to be great and win, Michael could have been very, very good without much detailed fundamental training. He was extraordinarily talented.
With the great coaching on the fundamentals he received from Dean Smith at North Carolina, he became the greatest. But remember, he had the mental and physical tools before he ever arrived at North Carolina.
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, on the other hand, were also great players during the same era but their road to greatness was different than Michael's. Neither Bird or Magic had what you would call great physical tools. Neither was more than average in quickness or jumping ability. If you think about it, you very rarely -- if ever -- saw either one of them slam dunk the ball. They were both average in their ability to move laterally and defend a dribbler and neither of them was fast when it came to sheer foot speed.
The characteristic they both did have was the driving desire to become great players like Michael. However, they had to do it by mastering fundamentals of the game and working much, much harder to perfect those fundamentals.
Both Bird and Johnson had tremendous work ethics. It was common for them to arrive at the arena 3-4 hours before a game and work on the fundamentals to improve themselves.
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are examples of people with what can be described as "average" physical ability becoming ever so close to being as great as the greatest that has ever played . . . and they did it by learning and then working tirelessly to master the fundamentals of the game.
The same can happen with the system of relationship development we're going to discuss . . . especially when you master the conversational science it takes to move to a deeper and more meaningful place.
For the purposes of our discussion, we'll call this "the formalized appointment." But, this also is about greatness. Learning and perfecting these skills can definitely take someone who is good to the category of greatness in business and communications much like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson did in professional basketball.
Let's look at a few examples of people the Conversational Science system has helped take from a high level of natural ability and average execution to a level of greatness and totally unexpected success.
I was fortunate enough to hire "Linda" because other people failed to recognize her tremendous natural ability and her almost insane amount of drive and desire to be successful. She interviewed several times with other people and they just missed seeing her for what she was.
With those great qualities, she was going to be quite successful without learning how to better structure her conversations. However, by learning and mastering the Conversational Science skills, she truly became a super star. In only five years, her income went from around $100,000 in her previous life to more than $500,000. in the financial services business.
But Linda had another rare quality that is often missing in very talented people: She was very coachable and had a tremendous desire to learn how to be better. Her ego never got in her way of accepting the fact that she had to change some habits and behaviors to become great. After being coached in Conversational Science, she worked very, very hard at making changes and improving her skills.
"Will," the second example that immediately comes to mind, is quite an inspirational one . . . for me and for anyone who hears his story.