We are now going to consider the Canvass, or actual sale.
Someone has said that "a sale resembles chimney-building in that it takes more time for preliminary scaffold-making than it does to build the permanent structure, once the scaffold is made."
As a preparation for this stage of your effort you should be in possession of all the obtainable information regarding your Prospect and you should have made a careful rehearsal of your Canvass. You need to know your policy so that you can explain it; not only to an expert in life insurance, but also to a man who knows nothing about the subject.
Throughout your statement let Logic and Fact be your guide-posts. Don't say anything but what will appeal to your Pros-pect's reason, nor anything but what you are prepared to substantiate. Remember that your success depends upon the creation of Confidence.
See that your Mental Attitude is right before you enter upon a Canvass. Key yourself up to a state of confident hopefulness and eager enthusiasm. Above all, banish every vestige of Fear and Doubt.
Remind yourself that it is no great matter whether you get this particular application or not. But that you are going to make an earnest effort to secure it and, even though you fail, you will be better and your Prospect will be better for your attempt.
A good Canvass is a profitable performance, though you don't make a penny out of it directly. Your work is not confined to reaping. An important part of it is tilling. Be willing to do something for the good of the cause. You are constantly benefiting by the labor of someone else. If we should all restrict our attention to ripe cases there would shortly be no insurance to write.
We will assume that you have made a successful Approach and that you are about to enter upon the Canvass of your Prospect. Let us consider your task in its psychological aspects.
There are nine mental states through which a Prospect passes from the first Approach of the agent to the signing of the application. These are: 1. Involuntary Attention. 2. First Impression. 3. Curiosity. 4. Associated Interest. 5. Consideration. 6. Imagination. 7. Desire. 8. Deliberation. 9. Resolve.
The first three of these, and sometimes the fourth, are associated with the Approach. The fifth, Consideration, ushers in the opening phase of the Canvass. Your Prospect's mind has become receptive to your proposition. He has decided to look into it. He has passed from the passively interested to the actively interested state, and expressly or tacitly invites you to pre-sent your policy. It is here that the blending of the thoughts begins and the actual selling commences.
If your presentation is lucid, logical and easily assimilable by your Prospect's mind it will excite his Imagination, which is an essential prelude to Desire. A man must have a mental picture of a thing before he can wish to possess it.
It is at this stage that you convey to your Prospect your own realization of the value of the policy you are offering and the many advantages it may secure to him. Your endeavor should be to make him imagine him-self in possession of it, not now but years hence and his beneficiary ultimately deriving the benefit of it. You will find Sugges-tion and the Association of Ideas more ef-fective agencies than explicit statements in arousing the desired condition of Imagination.
Imagination is a direct current operating Desire. The woman looking at a hat in a show window imagines it on her head. The man examining an automobile feels himself in imagination flying over country roads in it. The merchant considering an order for goods imagines himself selling them at a profit. Your Prospect should imagine his widow maintaining the home, his children being educated, his old-age passed in comfort on the proceeds of the policy you have presented to him.
If the thought rested on purchase, Desire would never arise. The thought must extend to after-possession and be associated with the ideas of enjoyment, utility, profit and beneficence. Introduce your policy as a three-year-old proposition and make it grow fast. It is fatal to let your Prospect's mind linger on the period of the birth.
At this point let me remind you of the injunction used in "Efficiency," not to mention the premium until the close of your presentation and then to couple it with the settlement. Don't refer to the child's birth until it has attained maturity in your description.
The presentation of your policy has been accompanied and followed by arguments and suggestions which have stimulated the Imagination until inclination or Desire is aroused. The blending of the minds is complete. You wish to sell and your Prospect wishes to buy. But he has not resolved to do so.
A boy may Desire an apple and be unable to summon resolution to climb the tree. A man may desire wealth and lack the decision to work for it. A woman may Desire health and be too weak minded to pay the price of it. In fact, most of us have more wishbone than backbone.
There is a distinct gap between Desire and Action. It is spanned by the bridge of Deliberation. The consideration of this final stage belongs to the section of our subject devoted to Closing.