An even more challenging translation is required by
the prospects who do not give you honest answers to
your want, need, and DBM queries. Another prospect
shows up for an interview. During the initial
conversation you ask her how school is going, and she
replies, Okay, I guess, but Ill be glad when its over.
You get to the point of asking what she wants after
graduation from high school. She tells you that she
wants to get a college degree. You ask what she feels
she needs, and she replies, Nothing much, Mom and
Dad will pay for everything. She continues to tell you
that she just hasnt decided on a college yet, even
though she graduates next month.
Some prospects are going to tell you what they feel
they are expected to say. It is up to the recruiter to pick
up on clues and get the real answers. If this prospect
wants a college degree and the needs to that end are
already met, why then has she come to the recruiting
station? Other clues are that she will be glad when
school is out this year and she has not yet decided on
a college. That procrastination should tell us that she
has not been convinced that is what she really wants. At
this point, we cannot challenge our prospect by saying
we dont believe she really wants a college degree.
Instead, we can let her know that yes, a college degree
is important. The Navy can certainly help her with it,
but what else does she really want in life? The ability
to translate what our prospects tell us is an art form that
starts with good listening skills.
The purpose of the conversation step of the sale is
to get the prospect listening to you and liking you.
There are no magic bridges in the conversation step. It
should be a natural interaction between the recruiter and
prospect that allows them both to relax and be
comfortable with each other. You are getting to know
the prospect and, just as importantly, the prospect is
getting to know you. First impressions are important.
People normally make their first judgement about
someone theyve just met within the first 7 seconds.
Thats not long to impress the prospect, but a
professional appearance, warm greeting, and genuine
smile can make a positive effect. The following
paragraphs provide guidance on establishing and
with the prospect, some
conversational ideas and rules, and the conversation
Establishing and Maintaining Rapport
The first goal in the conversation step is to set
rapport. To accomplish that goal, the recruiter should
keep in mind the primary rule in making a favorable
first impression to forget about yourself completely.
Instead of thinking about your own nervousness, think
of the prospects and do everything within your power
to relieve that discomfort. Your most valuable tool in
establishing and maintaining a conversation is the
question that requires more than a yes or no answer, an
Prospects are usually more
comfortable when they can participate in conversation
by answering questions.
CONVERSATION IDEAS. Asking open-ended
questions about mutual interests or acquaintances can be
a great conversation starter. You might start with an
example-type story about someone you know who went
into the Navy who has something in common with the
displays, pictures, or
Navy-related items around the office to generate a
conversation. Curiosities, compliments, and services are
all ideas you may want to try for openers. Some very
successful recruiters like to use a trial close as a
conversational starter. They ask their close in a
lighthearted way thats easy to back away from if
needed. An example would be, Weve got our ship
parked out back, are you ready to get aboard? or
Come on in, Ive got two chairs here, one for those
who are ready to join, and one for those who want to
talk about the Navy a little first take your pick. The
prospect card, itself, can be a great conversational tool
when used correctly.
CONVERSATIONAL RULES. Even though the
conversation step of the sale is highly individualized, a
few rules that everyone should follow to make this step
fulfill its purpose are as follows:
l Listen carefully, providing verbal and physical
l Smile be relaxed and pleasant,
l Dont smoke.
l Dont handle your prospect.
l Watch your prospects body language and be
aware of yours.
l Dont challenge your prospects beliefs.