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Main Menu -> Detailed PPR with Red Letter Language
Detailed PPR with Red Letter Language
Introduction to Client Action & Acquisition 

INTRODUCTION TO THE PRIORITY PLANNING REVIEW

The Priority Planning Review allows you to approach suspects comfortably through a 15 minute appointment, during which the suspect learns about the type of work you do and determines how you can be of service.  No selling takes place during this interview, yet you learn a tremendous amount about the suspect.  The end result is that with a minimum investment of time, you are able to extract people from your suspect pool with whom you want to do business and who are open to your ideas and services. The end result is a stream of prospects into your sales system!

An Overview of the Priority Planning Review

The Priority Planning Review is a six-part form with a "check off" format that is designed to:

1. Help prospects understand the type of work you do.
2. Help define prospect needs.
3. Help disturb prospects about their current situation.
4. Help you understand prospect priorities.
5. Eliminate poor prospects.
6. Set the stage for your next meeting with favorable prospects.
Let's take a look at the contents of the Priority Planning Review.  If you have not already printed a copy of the PPR, please do so now.
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Requests key personal information about the prospect, spouse and children.

PERSONAL PLANNING PROFILE
Asks the prospect to check those statements that reflect his or her current planning.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION
Asks the prospect to check those boxes that best reflect his or her current financial situation.

FINANCIAL PLANNING PRIORITIES
Asks the prospect to check those needs that most closely reflect his or her financial priorities.

CURRENT PRIORITIES
Asks the prospect to check those priorities of current interest.

FUTURE PLANS
Asks the prospect to check any planned changes in his or her situation.

BUSINESS OWNERS ONLY
Asks business owner prospects to check any business planning items of current concern. Note: The VSA also provides you with a Business Priority Planning Review designed specifically for approaching small business owners.

With the Priority Planning Review, you have:
  • A low-key approach that evaluates a prospect's potential.
  • A way to eliminate poor prospects without a large investment of your time.
  • A tool that provides you with a tremendous amount of information about the prospect and his or her situation and priorities.
  • An approach that lends itself to daytime activity.
  • An approach that establishes an excellent environment for future selling interviews.
Now, let's discuss how the Priority Planning Review is used to contact various types of suspects.

 


CONTACTING SUSPECTS

Contact Guidelines

These guidelines should be observed as you use the Priority Planning Review to contact various types of suspects:

1. You use the Priority Planning Review to contact a variety of suspects.  The opening of the contact will vary, depending on the type of suspect.  You can use the suggested language that follows -- OPTIONAL LANGUAGE -- or substitute language you are more comfortable with when, for example, contacting a referred lead.  The request for an appointment, however, is the same, regardless of the suspect type, and must be used verbatim.  This RED LETTER LANGUAGE should be drilled and rehearsed until you know it perfectly.

2. Use the suspect's prospect card from your prospect/client inventory control system to record qualifying information, as well as the date of next contact (appointment or callback).

3. The Priority Planning Review is designed to be completed during the daytime.  You can, however, choose to make evening appointments.

4. Your objective is to qualify prospects and eliminate negative suspects.  If there is resistance to your second request for an appointment, why push it?  If this is someone who has potential as a prospect and/or referror, simply ask for permission to call back at a future date.  Make certain to note the call back date on the prospect card and file it appropriately in your prospect/client inventory control system. 

Initial Contact -- Red Letter Language

Remember, your objective is to put the suspect at ease and, in so doing, make an appointment for a Priority Planning Review interview.  You accomplish this objective as follows:
 
RED LETTER LANGUAGE

I don't want to sell you anything now.  However, I would like to ask for just 15 minutes of your time to show you the kind of work I do.  I promise I won't take longer than 15 minutes and that, during our meeting, I won't ask you to buy anything.  In addition, any future meetings will depend entirely on whether you feel my services would be of value to you.  Is that fair?

Fine.  Could I see you on Thursday at 10 a.m., or would another time be better?


 

Why Red Letter Language Works

When initially contacted, a suspect has three primary objections to seeing a salesperson.  Let's take a look at what these objections are and how they are countered by the RED LETTER LANGUAGE.
 
Suspect Concerns
Countered by RED LETTER LANGUAGE
They don't want you to waste their time.  You are requesting just 15 minutes of their time.
They do not want to be sold. You are promising that you will not ask them to buy anything during this initial meeting.
They don't want someone "chasing" after them. You are promising that any future meetings will depend entirely on them.

Now, let's take a look at the various types of suspects with whom you can use this initial contact RED LETTER LANGUAGE.  For each type of suspect, OPTIONAL LANGUAGE to use in opening the conversation is suggested.  In each case, this OPTIONAL LANGUAGE is then immediately followed by the initial contact RED LETTER LANGUAGE.  We begin with contacting members of your natural market.

 

Contacting Your Natural Market

OPTIONAL LANGUAGE

Hello, John?  John, this is ____________________.  Do you have a moment to speak? (Small talk as necessary.)

You do know that I'm with ________________now, don't you?
 

RED LETTER LANGUAGE

I don't want to sell you anything now.  However, I would like to ask for just 15 minutes of your time to show you the kind of work I do.  I promise I won't take longer than 15 minutes and that, during our meeting, I won't ask you to buy anything.  In addition, any future meetings will depend entirely on whether you feel my services would be of value to you.  Is that fair?

Fine.  Could I see you on Thursday at 10 a.m., or would another time be better?


 

Contacting Referred Leads

As you identify referred leads, you may send them the following pre-approach letter prior to telephoning for an appointment.  Alternatively, you can send them a prestige piece, with a note or cover letter.  If you do use a letter and/or prestige piece, you should carry samples of them with you to show to referrors as you request permission to use their name in approaching referred leads.
Dear Mr. Jones,

I recently had the pleasure of meeting with our mutual friend, Steve O'Neal, who thinks highly of you.  He in no way indicated that you were in the market for insurance or any financial service.  However, Steve was impressed with the way I conduct business and thought we should meet. I would like to take 15 minutes of your time to show you the kind of work I do.  During our meeting, I will not ask you to buy anything.  In addition, any future meetings will depend entirely on whether you feel my services would be of value to you. With this in mind, I will contact you shortly to arrange for a mutually convenient time for us to meet.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact Steve about the type of work I do.

Sincerely,


 
You then follow the pre-approach letter with a telephone call, using the following OPTIONAL LANGUAGE, or other language with which you are more comfortable, followed immediately by the RED LETTER LANGUAGE.  
OPTIONAL LANGUAGE

Hello, John (or Mr. Jones)?  Mr. Jones, this is ____________________.  Do you have a moment to speak?.

 Fine.  You may recall receiving a letter I wrote to you (or some information I sent to you) at the suggestion of our mutual friend, Steve O'Neal. (Pause, but with or without a response, continue.)  As promised, I'm calling to set a mutually convenient time when we can get together.

OR, if nothing sent:

Our mutual friend, Steve O'Neal, mentioned your name to me recently.  He in no way indicated that you might need any insurance, but he did think that we should meet.

RED LETTER LANGUAGE

I don't want to sell you anything now.  However, I would like to ask for just 15 minutes of your time to show you the kind of work I do.  I promise I won't take longer than 15 minutes and that, during our meeting, I won't ask you to buy anything.  In addition, any future meetings will depend entirely on whether you feel my services would be of value to you.  Is that fair?

Fine.  Could I see you on Thursday at 10 a.m., or would another time be better?


 
Contacting Personal Observation Suspects
OPTIONAL LANGUAGE

Hello, John?  John, this is ____________________.  Do you have a moment to speak?

 You may not remember me, but (describe how or where you met the suspect).  I decided then that I would like to get to know you better.


 
RED LETTER LANGUAGE

I don't want to sell you anything now.  However, I would like to ask for just 15 minutes of your time to show you the kind of work I do.  I promise I won't take longer than 15 minutes and that, during our meeting, I won't ask you to buy anything.  In addition, any future meetings will depend entirely on whether you feel my services would be of value to you.  Is that fair?

Fine.  Could I see you on Thursday at 10 a.m., or would another time be better?


 
Contacting "Cold" Suspects -- By Telephone

Yes, cold calling can work, but you must use cold sources of names intelligently by targeting your suspects.  Use association lists, company directories, etc.
OPTIONAL LANGUAGE

Hello, Mr. Jones?  Mr. Jones, this is ____________________ with __________.  Do you have a moment to speak?

 I have been calling (members of the __________ association, employees of the __________ company, etc.) concerning the types of financial services  I can offer.  I work very differently from other people in the financial services field.

RED LETTER LANGUAGE

I don't want to sell you anything now.  However, I would like to ask for just 15 minutes of your time to show you the kind of work I do.  I promise I won't take longer than 15 minutes and that, during our meeting, I won't ask you to buy anything.  In addition, any future meetings will depend entirely on whether you feel my services would be of value to you.  Is that fair?

Fine.  Could I see you on Thursday at 10 a.m., or would another time be better?


 
Contacting "Cold" Suspects -- In Person

Keep some Priority Planning Reviews with you at all times for this purpose
.  For example, if an appointment cancels, you may want to utilize the time in face calling.  Large office buildings and business parks provide excellent opportunities for a cold canvass approach.
OPTIONAL LANGUAGE

Every time I am in this area, I tell myself that I should drop in and introduce myself.  I am ____________________ with __________.  (Followed by introduction and small talk.)
RED LETTER LANGUAGE

I don't want to sell you anything now.  However, I would like to ask for just 15 minutes of your time to show you the kind of work I do.  I promise I won't take longer than 15 minutes and that, during our meeting, I won't ask you to buy anything.  In addition, any future meetings will depend entirely on whether you feel my services would be of value to you.  Is that fair?

Do you have 15 minutes now, or can we set up a time for later?


 

Contacting Customers/Policyholders (Experienced Advisors)

OPTIONAL LANGUAGE

Hello, John?  John, this is ____________________ with __________.  Do you have a moment to speak?

John, it's been some time since we sat down and reviewed your insurance program.  As part of that review, I have a new financial service I'm offering to all of my clients. 
 

RED LETTER LANGUAGE

I don't want to sell you anything now.  However, I would like to ask for just 15 minutes of your time to show you the kind of work I do.  I promise I won't take longer than 15 minutes and that, during our meeting, I won't ask you to buy anything.  In addition, any future meetings will depend entirely on whether you feel my services would be of value to you.  Is that fair?

Fine.  Could I see you on Thursday at 10 a.m., or would another time be better?


 

Contacting Orphan Policyholders

If you have been assigned a group of orphan policyholders to service, the Priority Planning Review interview is an excellent first step in the client building process
OPTIONAL LANGUAGE

Hello, John (or Mr. Jones)?  Mr. Jones, this is ____________________ with __________.  Do you have a moment to speak?

 Mr. Jones, I've been assigned to service your policy(ies) number ______.  My manager has asked that I meet with you to see if you have any questions about the policy(ies).

RED LETTER LANGUAGE

I don't want to sell you anything now.  However, I would like to ask for just 15 minutes of your time to show you the kind of work I do.  I promise I won't take longer than 15 minutes and that, during our meeting, I won't ask you to buy anything.  In addition, any future meetings will depend entirely on whether you feel my services would be of value to you.  Is that fair?

Fine.  Could I see you on Thursday at 10 a.m., or would another time be better?


 

 Contacting Property and Casualty Clients

A reciprocal relationship with a property and casualty agent can be a productive way to expand both of your client bases.  You approach the property and casualty advisor's clients with the Priority Planning Review, and you refer your prospects and clients with property and casualty needs to the property and casualty advisor.
OPTIONAL LANGUAGE
Hello, John (or Mr. Jones)?  Mr. Jones, this is ____________________ with __________.  Do you have a moment to speak?

Mr. Jones, your property insurance agent, __________, asked that I give you a call.  You see, I'm with the financial services side of the company and __________ wanted me to meet you.

RED LETTER LANGUAGE
I don't want to sell you anything now.  However, I would like to ask for just 15 minutes of your time to show you the kind of work I do.  I promise I won't take longer than 15 minutes and that, during our meeting, I won't ask you to buy anything.  In addition, any future meetings will depend entirely on whether you feel my services would be of value to you.  Is that fair?

Fine.  Could I see you on Thursday at 10 a.m., or would another time be better?


 
Contacting Group Clients
OPTIONAL LANGUAGE
Hello, John?  John, this is ____________________.  Do you have a moment to speak?

You know, John, I've worked on your group insurance for several years now, but I work in several other areas also.

RED LETTER LANGUAGE
I don't want to sell you anything now.  However, I would like to ask for just 15 minutes of your time to show you the kind of work I do.  I promise I won't take longer than 15 minutes and that, during our meeting, I won't ask you to buy anything.  In addition, any future meetings will depend entirely on whether you feel my services would be of value to you.  Is that fair?

Fine.  Could I see you on Thursday at 10 a.m., or would another time be better?


 

Overcoming Resistance -- Red Letter Language

Believe it or not, you may encounter some resistance to your approach!  For those who answer, "No, I'm not interested," or "No, I don't think that's fair," reply with the most powerful word in your arsenal: "Why?"  
INSTRUCTIONS
RED LETTER LANGUAGE

May I ask why you feel that way?
Then listen to the suspect's response.  After the person explains why, use the RED LETTER LANGUAGE to the right to respond.  Most objections will be "No, but...'" objections, such as, "No, but I have a friend in the business.'"or "No, but I'm insurance poor.'"  Etc., etc.  Many times the "no" will be implied and only the "but" will be verbalized.  Regardless of the response, your answer should be:

I see.  (Pause.)  I had no reason to assume you were in the market for my services.  I just wanted to take 15 minutes to show you the kind of work I do.  With that in mind, is there a convenient time during the day when I could buy you a cup of coffee?
If the suspect then agrees to your request for an appointment, thank the suspect and request the qualifying information, as described shortly.

If the suspect continues to object, why push it?  You are trying to qualify prospects who are receptive to your ideas and services.  Simply respond with:



I see.  (Pause.)  However, things have a way of changing.  Would you have any objection to my keeping in touch and trying again at a later date?
If the suspect agrees to your request to call back at a later date, request as much qualifying information as appropriate to the situation. Since the most important item to get is a date of birth, you can end the conversation with:

Thanks.  If you'll give me your date of birth, I'll get back to you in the future to see when we can meet.
With the suspect's date of birth, you can then use your inventory control system to schedule a call back for the month of the suspect's birthday or six months from the suspect's birthday, whichever comes sooner.

 

Qualifying Information -- Red Letter Language

When a suspect agrees to an appointment,  you should always confirm the date, time and location of the appointment.  In those cases where you know little about the suspect, you should then request some qualifying information, which you record on the prospect card.  Always end by expressing thanks.
RED LETTER LANGUAGE

Good, I look forward to seeing you on (date) at (time) in your (location).  Let me get just a bit of additional information.  Your last name is spelled?  (Check spelling.)  Your first name and initial?  Your business address and telephone number.  (Residence also if you are to meet there.)  What is your title there?  (Obtain any other information you need and record it on your prospect card.)  Last but not least, what is your birthday?

 Thanks, I'll look forward to seeing you on (date).  Again, my name is _______________.  If something comes up, just call me at (telephone).

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PRIORITY PLANNING REVIEW INTERVIEW
Interview Guidelines

Keep the following guidelines in mind as you conduct your Priority Planning Review interviews:

1. Remember that the Priority Planning Review is not a fact finding form, but a method to identify prospects who are interested in and receptive to your ideas and services.

2. Complete the PERSONAL INFORMATION section of the Priority Planning Review with the information you have about the suspect prior to the interview.

3. Allow the suspect to complete the balance of the Priority Planning Review.  Remember that this is a low key approach designed to tell the suspect about the type of work you do and to determine how you might be of service to the suspect.  Keep the interview simple and comfortable for both of you.

4. Do not sit and watch the suspect while he or she completes the Priority Planning Review.

5. Take the Priority Planning Review with you.  Do not leave it with the prospect.  It is packed with valuable information and insights about the prospect.

Your objectives with members of your natural market are (1) to qualify or eliminate them as prospects and (2) to request referred leads.  Since your natural market forms the foundation of your client base, it is very important to achieve both of these objectives through the Priority Planning Review interview.
 

Confirming the Appointment

You may wish to send a confirmation note in advance of your appointment.  Regardless, it is wise to call to confirm the appointment by saying:
OPTIONAL LANGUAGE

John, this is _______________ with _______________.  I am running just a bit behind schedule, but I should be there by 9:00.  I just wanted to let you know.
You are not calling to see if it is okay to keep the appointment, just as a courtesy in case you are late.  Of course, if the prospect has forgotten the appointment, this will serve as a reminder!  

Priority Planning Review Interview -- Red Letter Language

INSTRUCTIONS
RED LETTER LANGUAGE
You may begin your first meeting with "small talk," but quickly get down to business by saying:

John, the purpose of our getting together today is to review the type of work I do.  I've found that the best way to accomplish this is to ask you to complete this short form I have here called "Priority Planning Review."  What this is is a brief overview of your financial plans and priorities.  You'll find that the information and opinions requested in the form will tell you about the type of work I do.  Your answers will tell both of us if there is any way I can be of service to you.  Before you begin, however, I'd like to get a bit of personal information from you.
Now, open the Priority Planning Review and complete the PERSONAL INFORMATION section with any information you do not already know about the suspect.  (Remember that you completed the PERSONAL INFORMATION section with what you already knew about the suspect prior to the interview.)

Once you have completed the PERSONAL INFORMATION section, turn the Priority Planning Review around and give it to the suspect, saying:



John, the "Priority Planning Review" helps to focus your financial plans and priorities.  All you need to do is read through it and check the boxes that best reflect your situation and priorities.  It shouldn't take you more than 6 or 7 minutes to complete.
Smile as you make that last statement and hand the suspect your pen.  That's it!  Don't complicate things.  Let the suspect complete the form in a relaxed manner.  This means that you cannot sit and watch the suspect.  This is bound to make anyone nervous.  Instead, you should excuse yourself for about 5 minutes.  Ask to use the telephone, go to the rest room, work on something in your briefcase.  If you are meeting in the suspect's office, walk around and identify new suspects, such as co-workers.  Just remember that this is a low-key approach and you want to keep it that way!

Evaluating the Suspect

The Priority Planning Review is designed to tell the suspect about the type of work you do, to disturb the suspect into realizing that he or she might have needs, and to provide you with a tremendous amount of information about the suspect...to turn the suspect into a prospect.

 If you left while the suspect was completing the Priority Planning Review, be sure to return in about 5 minutes, as the suspect is completing the form.  Take three or four minutes to review the Priority Planning Review.  Initially this will be somewhat difficult, but will become second nature as you develop your Priority Planning Review diagnostic skills.  You will find that the prospect will fall into one of four categories:

1. A poor prospect, someone you want to discard.
2. A single need prospect.
3. A total needs prospect.
4. A "not now" prospect, someone with a possible future interest.
Let's review how to proceed with each type of prospect.
 
Poor Prospects -- Red Letter Language
INSTRUCTIONS
RED LETTER LANGUAGE
You may decide that this is not someone with whom you want to work.  The suspect's income and/or assets may be below your minimums, or you simply may find the suspect uncooperative or negative...someone you just do not like.  In any of these circumstances, the suspect does not meet the requirements to qualify as a prospect.  When this happens, you say:

John, based on your answers, it looks like you have everything pretty well taken care of.  Can you think of any way in which I can be of service?
We can pretty much guarantee the answer will be "no," in which case you hand the person a business card and say something like:
OPTIONAL LANGUAGE
John, I've enjoyed meeting you.  If there's ever any way I can be of service, please give me a call.

Single Need Prospects -- Red Letter Language

The CURRENT PRIORITIES section of the Priority Planning Review provides a solid indication of the prospect's priorities.  A single need prospect is generally someone who checks such current priorities as:

  • Mortgage protection coverage.
  • Ways to protect my income in the event of sickness or accident.
  • Insurance on my spouse.
  • Insurance on my children/grandchildren.
  • My automobile or homeowners insurance.
In addition, the following priorities could also be single need sales, depending on what you learn about the prospect:
  • Insurance on myself.
  • Converting temporary insurance.
  • Tax-favored investments/annuities.
  • A systematic savings plan.
  • Long term care
INSTRUCTIONS
RED LETTER LANGUAGE
When you diagnose a prospect as a single need prospect, you say:

John, based on your answers, it looks like (mortgage insurance, disability income, insurance on your spouse, etc.) is a real priority to you.  Would you agree?
Sure this is how the prospect feels about it!  The prospect has just told you it is in the Priority Planning Review!  All you need now is to set the stage for your sale by scheduling a second appointment, usually a closing interview, as described later.

When you diagnose a single need prospect, you will want to get some additional information, such as the desired face amount/amount of disability income, or the premium the prospect is willing to commit in order to prepare a proposal.

Remember, too, that today's single need prospect has a way of developing into a total needs prospect, as you work to gain this person's trust and confidence!
 

Total Needs Prospects -- Red Letter Language

As in the case of single needs, the CURRENT PRIORITIES section of the Priority Planning Review provides a solid indication of the prospect's priorities.  A total needs prospect is generally someone who checks such current priorities as:

  • A complimentary financial analysis.
  • Planning for retirement.
  • How to pay estate taxes.
  • Ways to protect my family's lifestyle.
  • Existing policy review.
In addition, the following priorities may indicate a total needs prospect, if the individual is uncertain of the amount of coverage needed or the amount to save/invest:
  • Insurance on myself.
  • Converting temporary insurance.
  • Tax-favored investments/annuities.
  • A systematic savings plan.
Finally, a prospect who checks several of the single need priorities may also be a total needs prospect.
 
INSTRUCTIONS
RED LETTER LANGUAGE
When you diagnose a total needs prospect, you say:

John, based on your answers, it looks like it's time for a review of your overall financial picture.  I'd like to suggest that we arrange a time when you, your spouse and I can get together for an hour or so to discuss how we can answer some of your financial concerns.  Would you agree?
Your next step is then to schedule a sales interview.

 

Scheduling a Sales Interview -- Red Letter Language
INSTRUCTIONS
RED LETTER LANGUAGE
You set the stage for the next interview when you ask the prospect: Is that how you feel about it?  If the prospect agrees with your diagnosis, you then schedule the next appointment by saying:

Since you feel that way, I believe I can help.  However, my 15 minutes are up.  Could we schedule another appointment next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m., or would another time be more convenient?
 
"Not Now" Prospects -- Red Letter Language
If you have diagnosed your prospect correctly, you will get a positive response nine out of ten times and be able to schedule a sales interview.  There may be times, however, when you incorrectly diagnose the situation, or the prospect has no interest currently but may in the future (a "not now" prospect).  There are many reasons why a prospect with very good future potential will not express any interest when first presented with a Priority Planning Review.  In this case, you should simply ask for permission to call back in the future.  
INSTRUCTIONS
RED LETTER LANGUAGE

Well, John, while there doesn't appear to be much I can do for you today, you certainly seem like the kind of person I would like to have as a client some day.  Things do have a way of changing.  Would you mind if I kept in touch?
With the prospect's agreement to a call back, you should then mark the prospect card with your planned call back date and file the card appropriately in your prospect/client inventory control system.

Keep an alphabetical file of the Priority Planning Reviews completed by "not now" prospects.  When you return for a subsequent interview, simply hand the prospect his or her completed Priority Planning Review.  Ask the prospect to review it and see if there are any changes.  You should then proceed as described earlier for a single need or a total needs prospect.


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Preparing the Proposal

The last step requires "knowledge" and you have at least two choices. 

First, call in an expert...a financial services professional in your agency or community who specializes in your prospect's area of interest.  Knowledge costs, so split the business if necessary.

Your second choice is to do it yourself.  A wise man once said, "I may not know all the answers, but I do know where to go to find them."  One good source of help is The Virtual Assistant (VSA). You can use any one of the 100's of VSA personal, retirement, business or estate and charitable planning presentations and calculators. They are all comprehensive and complete and, most important, already prepared for you!

Click here for "Training-Only" Client Presentations. Everything (and perhaps a lot more!) that you need is inside the VSA, but don't let it overwhelm you.  Just use what you need in order to make a specific sale.
In order to start using these compliance approved materials with clients, click below:
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