Day 46 – Prosper

15 02 2010

I received a sales call today from Prosper, Inc trying to qualify me for their coaching program. Let me tell you, as someone who has been through many, many sales training technique classes, and as someone who has learned all of the right things to say when faced with not closing a sale, I have to say these guys did a really good job. I almost went for it!

Here is what they were trying to sell me – 1 year coaching to learn the stock market. This included 7 weeks of 1 on 1 coaching once a week, daily availability to a team of coaches, access to 12 pre-recorded seminars to train me on some details, and access to an online “Success Center.”

After about 30 minutes of “qualifying” me to see if I could be someone who not only could afford their service, but was someone they wanted to work with, they would consider offering me an opportunity to pay their tuition. They did all the right things… showed me the testimonials, got me to reaffirm my goals for the year and for my life, got me to say ‘yes’ 3 times (I actually wrote that on my notebook and circled it when I heard them ask me 3 positive questions… if you have been through any multi-step sales training, one of the key things to do is get your customer to say “Yes” 3 times. Somehow, subconsciously, that makes you more willing to feel good about the purchase and go through with it. I think there is even a Progressive Auto Insurance commercial that uses that technique!).

And they spent another 20 minutes working with me on my current financial status so they could evaluate the level of tuition they thought I could handle. The price? Well, let’s say it was more than 3 mortgage payments for a condo in Downtown San Francisco. WOW. Good for them for going for it. I did get the offer to join their group in the end… It almost took me longer to get out of accepting at that point!

Throughout the sales process, though, they did give me a few key tidbits of information for what they would expect me to commit to. Those few bits were key nuggets that will help me learn the best practices for learning the stock market on my own. Funny, besides the hard work, and the personal coaches, I think those few nuggets could allow anyone to learn the stock market on their own just as well – without the large up front cost.

The questions going through my head? If I were really one of these very successful stock traders, why would I want to spend so much of my time working with other people, who I have never met in person,  to train them on the basics of this field? Wouldn’t that be causing more competition in the market and couldn’t they be spending their time elsewhere vacationing? or enjoying their life? And if the Sales team really believed in what they are selling, wouldn’t they take the courses themselves to get out of the daily grind of a work life in a call center?

Now, I’m not saying this program, with it’s expensive price tag, wouldn’t work. In fact, I think it would work very well for anyone committed to it. This program is full of motivational elements which really helps people stay focused. I think I could learn a lot from them… But I wonder if I could take their principals and apply them to myself and learn as much on my own – through books, online information, and other sites? Could this work?

This might just be my next challenge – my “class” for February. Maybe… I need to think about this… See if I can set this up as a true challenge for a specific amount of time for myself. Let me do a little research to discover what online resources and books are out there for me to leverage. I think this could be interesting.

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