Ideally, you are spending some time this week on your prospect efforts — whether it be calls, letters, or meetings. You believe your goal is to secure as many meetings as you can, in the hopes of converting these prospects into clients. I would suggest this is not your goal. Your goal should be to secure as many meetings with qualified prospects as you can.

You should have 3 essential questions you ask your prospects to ensure they are the people you want to work with going forward. These questions should be asked to ensure you secure both your commission, and (most importantly) long term relationships with quality people who have quality networks.

I was in New York last week, and I had the occasion to meet with a few prospects. The first one I had never worked with before, but he called me indicating that he had several agents in his office who were simply not producing. Worse, these agents had tenure. They’ve been working there between five and fifteen years each. They had hit a plateau. He wanted to know what we could do with these agents to help them get unstuck and start moving their business forward.

I asked the managing director 3 simple questions:

1. Do they recognize they’ve hit a plateau? He responded, “I think some of them do, but not all.”

2. Are they willing to change, to implement new strategies and new approaches to get unstuck? He said, “probably not.”

3. Most importantly, if they recognize they hit a plateau, if they’re willing to change, would they be willing to invest in themselves (both time and capital) to ensure their personal growth? The managing director shook his head and he stated, “No, these folks will not invest in themselves, in fact, they never invested themselves.”

I looked at him and smiled, we shook hands, appreciative of the new relationship — but knowing (and sharing with him) that we could not help these unproductive agents. After thousands of coaching iterations, we have learned that unless you’re willing to make the change and invest in yourself, real changes cannot be implemented for long term success.

After this meeting, I went to my second meeting. This time with an inactive client (that is, someone we’ve worked with in the past but ceased working with) who was looking to initiate a new venture. She was very excited about building her team, and I asked her three similar, yet different questions.

1. Would she be recruiting people who have a passion for growth? She said, “Absolutely, that’s all I will recruit.”

2. Will these people be willing to implement new strategies and tactics if they recognize this will have an exponential impact on both their commissions, as well as their personal lives? “Yes, that’s all I will recruit,” she responded.

3. Finally, will these people be willing to invest in themselves to achieve such growth — or will they look to you as the broker for this to be accomplished? She said, “Yes, they must invest in themselves. These are the only people I will recruit.”

I smiled. We agreed to do business once again.

What are your three critical questions you ask your prospects before you give them the honor of your time, the honor of your efforts? You need three critical qualifying questions. One of the best I ever heard was as simple as “what does success look like?” Based on this response, you will know if the prospect is realistic in their expectations.

If you have a qualifying question, I would love to hear it — please share in the comment box.

If you wish to secure long-term success with quality clients, while increasing your commissions AND your personal time — it starts with the people you work with.