Aug 4, 2008

Prospecting for Your Nutrition Business: Icebreakers

Being able to bring up the topic of nutrition or the topic of home businesses during a conversation is an important part of prospecting. We develop a formal technique for cold calling but we want to be able to talk to friends, acquaintances, and certain strangers in a warm, easy, natural, and informal way. In some ways bringing up a business topic in informal situations is more difficult than it is in more formal settings.
The best advice is to be conversational and natural with people.  In informal situations topics should come up easily and naturally.  The conversation should not be forced and good humor should be used.  However, what people often don’t appreciate is that being “easy and natural” generally has to be learned and practiced.  Good conversational ice breakers may not seem natural to a person when first used.  But with good practice and usage they become natural.  Remember how uncomfortable it felt as a child to talk to people?  Practice, practice, practice.
So, what are some good ice breakers?  See if some of the ideas in the list below help you.

Carry Dr. Ray Strand’s book, What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutrition May Be Killing You.  The book can be placed in a location that will cause people to notice it and ask questions.  Or when you see someone glance at the book you can make an appropriate comment about it to get the conversation started.  A good provocative statement to use early in the conversation would be, “This book helped me to think about nutrition in a very different way.”
Carry Robert Allen’s book, Multiple Streams of Income.  As with Dr. Strand’s book, place this book in a convenient spot and wait for comments and opportunities to open a conversation with.  Also, use a similar provocative statement like, “This book helped me to think about wealth and income in a very different way.”
There are numerous other books, even magazines that you can carry to accomplish the same goals.  The choices are up to your imagination and familiarity with the literature.

As with books, product brochures and catalogs can also be carried and placed in such a way as to spur a person’s interest.  One of the advantages of a brochure or a catalog is that it can be given to the prospect who has shown interest.  The brochure should have your name and contact information on it somewhere.

Business Cards

It’s hard to start a conversation with a business card, but they should be handy to give away once the conversation has been started.  The card can have an interesting design or provocative facts to help elicit a comment and further conversation.

Carrying Bag

This is not an ice breaker but it is a good idea to carry books, brochures, catalogs, business cards, and products with you in your car.  Put them into a canvas bag that can be purchased at a craft store or a discount store inexpensively.  Have your children decorate the bag and you’ll enjoy keeping it in the car at all times.  You may think of additional items that you want to have handy in the bag.  That way you will be prepared for a variety of situations.


Have you noticed how many people have magnetic signs on the side or the back of their vehicle?  They are quite noticeable and not prohibitively expensive.  The signs produce many questions and comments, and if the phone number is easy to read and remember, you’ll receive some phone calls.  It pays to advertise.

Lapel Pin

I’m sure you notice the pins that people wear on their shirt or jacket.  Well, other people will notice yours if you wear one.  Either someone will ask you about the pin or you will notice someone glancing at it and you can start a conversation about it.  Call it a pin of achievement so that you can talk about success.

Similar to a lapel pin, a good button can initiate a conversation.  Buttons often are humorous, sometimes large and gaudy, so the conversation they start may be different from the one started by a lapel pin.
Friends and Acquaintances

How are you doing?  Certainly this is the most obvious ice breaker question to ask and it is appropriate to ask of strangers as well as of friends.  If the person goes into some detail about how they are feeling and doing healthwise, you have the perfect opportunity to talk about your nutrition products.  Do so with a conversational tone and ask numerous questions about the other person’s health.  Since people like to talk about themselves this will build a significant amount of trust.  Then, add some testimonials from your own experience or from someone else’s experience.  The stories help to ensure your position as an expert on the subject.
If the person does not respond to your question with details about their own health, you do have the opportunity to talk about your own.  You can talk about how you recently recovered from a cold or slight illness that didn’t last nearly as long or was nearly as severe as such illnesses used to be.  The reason?  The new nutritional supplements that you are now taking.  Be sure to add that these products have gotten you to thinking about health in a very different way.

Perhaps you have not had an illness in a very long time and your health is super.  That’s good to talk about, and the reason your health is so good is because of the nutritional supplements that you have been taking regularly.

Has someone in your family recently recovered from a mild illness?  Talk about them.  Or perhaps someone in the family is not taking the same nutritional supplements that you are and they have had some recent illnesses that they did not recover from quickly.  Both types of stories will allow you to talk about the nutritional products and the business opportunity that goes with it.

What have you been doing lately?  People usually respond to such a question with remarks about working hard as usual and not having enough time for anything else.  They’re busy, busy, busy.  This presents a good opportunity to talk about how a good home business would allow them possibly to replace their current income and give them the time freedom that they want and deserve. 

Ask the person if there have been any layoffs at their workplace.  If there have been, then you’ll be able to talk about backup plans and residual income.  You can point out how wise it is to take action now just in case something happens to their current job.

Usually the person will return the question and inquire about what you have been doing recently.  With that opening you can freely talk about your favorite business opportunity in appropriate detail.  Be sure to ask some questions here so that you know how much detail is appropriate.  Avoid boring the person and losing out on the chance to follow up with them at a later date.  Your objective is to inspire their curiosity and then ask their permission to send them more information about the products or opportunity or to make a personal presentation.

Have you found any good money making ideas?  It’s okay to ask an off the wall question of someone who knows you.  Their answer may surprise you.  You may find that they have no desire to do anything other than what they have been doing for years.  Or you may find that they have been actively looking for a good idea.  Probably they will ask you if you have found a good money making idea. Give an enthusiastic response and then ask for their permission to share your idea with them.

How are you doing?   The same advice applies here as under the Friends heading.  Look for the opportunity to say good things about the nutritional supplements that you are using.   Be sure to add that these are not just good products but this is a good business.

What do you do?  Listen intently to their answer so that you can detect any dissatisfaction with their current situation.  Ask a few appropriate questions and show an interest in what they do.  Hopefully they will return the question to you.  Even if they don’t return the question you have the chance here to give them your 30 second introduction.

You should have a 30 second intro, sometimes called an elevator speech, already thought out and rehearsed.  This short speech should mention the problem that you help to solve, give a short statement about how you solve the problem, and provide an opening for the other person to learn more.  If it is provocative and with some humor, so much the better.

Here’s a short example:  “You know how as people get older they start to think more and more about their health and about retirement?  What I do is teach people how to improve their health and how to add sources of income to their lives.”  If you are truly in an elevator or some other very brief meeting situation you might add, “Could I talk to you sometime about some ideas I have that would benefit you?  Perhaps we could meet?  Do you have a card?  Here is mine.”

If the time element is not so short you should have the basis for the start of a good conversation.  Just keep it lively and full of self confidence.  Let the other person pick up on how satisfied you are with what you are doing. 

Practice, practice, practice as many of these ideas as you can.  Add your own ideas.  A few failures will help to guide you to success.  A few successes will build your confidence.  I believe that the learning curve is fairly fast here, and eventually you will find that being able to bring up your products and opportunity in a conversation is easy and natural.

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