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OK, you’ve had some time to study and practice your friend-making skills. Now, let’s work on your influencing skills. You’ve probably learned a lot of the theory if you’ve been studying Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.

I suspect you’re anxious to go out and start finding new people to do business with. Before that, let me warn you of a group NOT to start prospecting in — your friends and family!

Yes, I know that is counter-intuitive and is contrary to much of the “sales training” people receive when they first dip their toe into the world of direct sales. When I started with my first life insurance company, the first thing my manager-trainer told me to do was write up a list of at least a hundred names of family and friends I could go visit.

Big mistake.

We will talk about how to share your opportunity and products later. Right now you aren’t ready to do that effectively so why stir up the aggravation and frustration.

You’re probably thinking I’ve gone off the deep end and you may be wondering, “John, why in the world would I not prospect in my warm market — my friends and family?

Well, consider this, what hurts worse, being rejected by a stranger or your best friend?

Rejection, especially early in a sales career hurts. It hurts bad. And rejection has killed many other-wise bright potential successes. I’ve been easing you into the prospecting process in a way that has been proven to minimize the pain of rejection in the hopes that your efforts will be successful and you can be happy.

So, if can’t talk to my friends and family yet, who in the heck am supposed to talk to?

That’s what this article is about.

There is an interesting theory — later made into a book, a play, and a movie — that we are going to apply. Perhaps you’ve seen “Six Degrees of Separation”? It was released in 1993. The play explores the idea that any two individuals in the world are connected by at most five others. As one of the characters said:

“I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation between us and everyone else on this planet. The President of the United States, a gondolier in Venice, just fill in the names. I find it A) extremely comforting that we’re so close, and B) like Chinese water torture, that we’re so close because you have to find the right six people to make the right connection… I am bound to everyone on this planet by a trail of six people.”

Here is how you can start applying Six Degrees of Separation in your business and in your life:

Jot down six names…that’s right, just six. These people can be anyone you know, and this is important, they must be contacts that you’ve not yet spoken to about your business.

Here’s a script that works. Read it over, practice is so you can comfortably SAY it rather than READING it! Of course, you’re going to edit it by adding your company information and your connection to the person you’re calling. For best results, please refrain from changing the flow of the script. (You can, of course, but this one has been tested and proven.)

You: Dialing the first number…

John: Hello…

You: Good evening, is John available?

John: This is John…

You: John, my name is _______. I don’t know if you remember me, (we met last summer at the company picnic down by the lake.)

John: Sure, I remember.

You: John, can we talk for a few minutes, or have I caught you at a bad time?

John: Yes, I have a few minutes… What’s up?

You: Well, let me tell you why I’m calling John, I’ve recently come onboard with a company in (city, state). It’s a (brief industry description) company that launched the (benefit-driven product description) business (time in business) ago. They’re experiencing tremendous growth, and I’m helping them expand the business into the (John’s city) area.

You: John, there is some serious money being made here. As a matter of fact, this is the first (company or product benefit statement) that allows the average person to actually profit from the future growth of (top-selling product benefit)!

You: As I mentioned, we’re helping them expand the business into the (John’s city) area… John, this may not be for you, but you might know the kind of people we’re looking for, and I was hoping you could help me out…

John: If I can…

You: Again, this may not be for you, but I’d like you to take a look at some information on our company so that you’re familiar with what it is we do. And based on that, I’d like to see if you might be able to recommend a few people who are dissatisfied with their present income or employment situation. Those who would be more than interested in earning a solid five-, to six-figure income on a part-time basis. If you know anyone like that, I’d sure like to talk with them…

John: Well, let me think….

You: Great! And before you put your reputation on the line and recommend anyone, again, would you like to get a better feel for what it is we do? I can get some information to you in a number of ways… What would work best for you? (Depending on what your company recommends for a pre-exposure, you may want to offer John an opportunity to listen to your five minute prerecorded business or product overview, or ask him to visit a selected portion of your Website, or actually mail him your business information pack. Remember, you need to talk with John and find out where his interests are before you send anything. After all, if John wouldn’t get involved, why would he recommend this to a friend?)

This approach works because it minimizes the possibility of personal rejection. Using this script on a good day, almost anyone can go six for six every time. Six calls, six requests for help, and six new exposures to your business.

Now the magic is in actually following through and getting them involved, or having them give you six more names to contact…those they believe might be interested. Either way you win! Another six calls, another six requests for help, another six exposures to your business. And on and on it goes!

Using the above script, your six contacts will fall into one of two categories: Either they’ll take a look, like what they see, and decide to get involved with you in the business or they may become customers and agree to give you referrals.

How you follow-up on those referrals is the topic for another article…

Stay tuned.

Now, take a deep breath, relax, and pick up the telephone. Dial the first number, and speaking your personalized script, experience the magic of the six degrees of separation.

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