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Each Lead Represents Interest – A President’s Message

In these articles and in various speeches over the years, I have tried to pass along some of the wisdom that I learned from my Dad and from others who are experts in sales. It is amazing that you can sense or feel an idea but when it is put into words the concept suddenly becomes crystal clear. Or the opposite; sometimes you can hear an idea but you do not truly understand it until you see it put into practice in real life.

The latter happened to me. For years I heard my Dad say: “Don’t do the other guy’s thinking for him. Let him decide what is right for him.” Well, I heard him say it over and over but I never really understood what he meant.

That is, until one day I was in the field and I was making a presentation to a nice, older Hispanic man. I went through the presentation and I quoted him the premium for an adequate amount of coverage. He indicated that it would be fine. And then, perhaps because he was so nice, I felt a little sorry for him and asked if it would be better if we tried to find something a little more affordable.

And that’s when I found out about what my Dad had been talking about. The man was offended. You see, here I was some young guy who shows up at his home to sell a funeral plan and he indicated that he wanted and could afford the plan I presented, and after he indicated that he wanted it, I second guessed him. And in the process, I insulted him.

That’s when it hit me. I had tried to do his thinking for him. Because of his outwardly modest living circumstances, I had made the superficial judgment that he could not afford the plan I had presented, while in reality he knew much better than I about what he could or could not afford.

Everyone does this, but salesmen especially have a tendency to pre-judge situations. I used to work with someone who was utterly convinced that people in green houses would always buy. So he went out of his way to call on green houses, and he approached them with such confidence and enthusiasm that he usually turned out to be right. It’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And almost every salesman will think that he can tell if a lead is good by looking at it. I’m not sure what we think we can tell by the name, address, age or handwriting, but the whole process of pre-judging a lead limits our effectiveness in working it.

The truth is that every lead represents an expression of interest in our product at the time that the person responded. We do not know if the person is very interested, or mildly so, or is simply confused. We do not know if they can afford the product or if they have so much money that they do not need the product. The only way we find out these things is to call on them and present our product to the very best of our ability, and then let the chips fall where they may.

“Don’t do the other guy’s thinking for him.” Good advice 35 years ago and good advice today.

President Tom Londen The Londen Companies Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance


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