Several years ago I was fortunate enough to come across and even get to train a couple of times with the great Steve Chandler. Steve has written over thirty books and is a world famous success coach to high-achieving business people, CEO’s, best-selling authors and Fortune 500 companies.
For me, Steve is by far the best I have ever come across when it comes to teaching people how to sell, both powerfully and with total integrity. He will teach you none of the conventional, oft repeated and, frankly, out of date material that is still the bedrock of most sales training.
Instead, he teaches you to get out of your world and into the world of your client because this is only place where value is created. He said in his book ‘The joy of selling’, “Be willing to listen deeply and be the first person in their lives to tell them the truth. Be real and tell the truth about how you really see their problems. Don’t hold back.”
It seems to me that one of the biggest challenges for anyone selling a professional service is to STOP thinking about themselves and really get into the world of the client. For example, I wonder how many people hold back from telling the truth about how they really see their client’s situation because they are afraid of a negative reaction from the client.
At a recent workshop I ran for advisers I asked participants the question, “What is the first thing you do when meeting a potential new client?”
Some people said “I like to tell the person about myself and what I can do for them.” But is doing this in the world of the client or the world of the adviser?
Imagine you have pain in your stomach, so you call up a doctor for an appointment. You get to the surgery and, without asking you why you are there, the doctor says “Please, sit down and let me tell you about myself and what we can do for you.”
What would you think? Is your response going to be, “Wow, I am so glad to know this, my stomach is feeling better already!”
Any form of self-interest will usually come across as needy behaviour because it is in your world, not the world of the client. Fear (neediness) is always what kills the opportunity for real human connection because it turns your attention inwards. And fear can show up in many different ways – fear of not being liked, fear of rejection, fear of losing out, fear of wasting your time or fear of telling the real, raw truth.
So what is the antidote?
It is actually really simple (but this doesn’t always mean easy). If we see our fears as coming from the situation then we will always be in fear. If you think your well-being is dependent upon whether someone likes you, what they decide, whether they do business with you or not, whether you make your numbers for the month or not, then you will live your life as an insecure person, no matter how ‘successful’ you become. And no one actually wants that.
The fact is that when we truly understand that fears are made up thoughts about one possible future amongst an infinite number of possibilities, they cease to have any power over us and we just naturally drop them. When we stop reacting to our fears we are then free to focus on what is in front of us rather than what is in our heads.
There are only two emotions. Love and fear. When we allow our fear-based thoughts to dominate our minds we play a small, fear based game of scarcity and invite push-back and a lack of respect from clients. In the absence of fear what we have is love. In your professional world, love is a fearless commitment to serving your client and making a difference.
One of the most important things I learned from Steve Chandler is that there is no resistance to love. When we are truly in service to another human being then the result is a meeting of minds, a sense of genuine collaboration and a natural ease to communication. Clients love to work with people like this.