“This is what it means to serve: improving another’s life and, in turn, improving the world.” Daniel H. Pink, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
Being an effective influencer and confidently selling your services are essential skills if you want to build a thriving practice based upon getting great results for your clients.
And yet it seems that many advisers feel uncomfortable and lack confidence in this area.
For instance, they may feel under pressure, fear rejection or have negative thoughts and feelings about selling and asking people to act.
One of the reasons selling has got a bad name is because it is often done very poorly but when done well it is an act of high service to your client and an experience people enjoy (both adviser and client).
Do you want to be a more powerful influencer whilst feeling completely comfortable and free from pressure?
As we explore the key factor behind what makes someone highly effective in this area I will look at three common symptoms that can emerge from feeling under pressure.
1. Thinking you need to use sales techniques
A while back I worked with an adviser who was convinced that sales techniques were essential to getting a client to ‘sign up’.
In particular, he said you had to be a good ‘closer’. So, we did a little reflection together.
I asked him to think of one or two of his very best clients. People who he liked and trusted and who liked and trusted him. People who did good, regular business with him.
I then asked him about the process.
He said when he was with these people he was never thinking about any kind of technique. He always gave them time to think through their decisions and ask as many questions as they needed to.
The relationship was completely open and there was no feeling of pressure whatsoever – not for him or his client.
I then asked him to think of a situation when things did not flow so well.
He thought of a client that he did not warm to and found ‘difficult’. They did not have a good rapport and the client always questioned the advice and rarely took it.
I was curious.
How come when things were flowing naturally and easily he was not even thinking about any kind of technique?
And, surely, if techniques were so important then they should help you overcome the more challenging situations?
The truth is that as soon as you start thinking about applying a technique (like trying to ‘close’ someone) it can easily compromise trust because it dehumanises the process.
Also, there is an assumption that techniques get the result for you. But if this were true they would always work, but this is not the case.
Something far more important is always at play.
A fundamental truth
What is far more important is to realise is that clients will pick up on how you are feeling.
If you are feeling comfortable, clear minded and completely free from pressure, clients will have a great experience of you. Conversations will feel natural, easy and enjoyable. Business will take care of itself.
However, if you are feeling uncomfortable, under-pressure and self-conscious then the clients experience of you will be a poor one. Any attempt to use a sales technique from here will come across as manipulative.
In part 2 we will look at 2 further symptoms and the ultimate solution to pressure free selling and influence.