Trust often begins with an emotional attachment
by Scott HogleScott Hogle is a VP of Sales at iHeart Media Honolulu with over 25 years of experience in developing client relationships. He is the author of the best-selling book, “Persuade: The 7 Empowering Laws of the SalesMaker,” and an authoritative speaker who helps financial advisors create better relationships with clients and grow their businesses. www.ScottHogle.com
In any government, society, or industry, there are invisible laws reflecting customs and cultural nuances that govern successful dealings between people and businesses. Knowing these laws, how to leverage them with integrity, and exercise them intentionally, can mean the difference between success and failure. It is the same in the field of selling financial services. There are certain laws that, when followed, lead you to not only great business success, but great relationships with your clients. It all begins with the Law of Connection. A critical element in your career success is to connect emotionally with potential clients before you communicate financially with them. People must buy into what you are saying before they will buy what you are selling.
Ask About ‘Them’
When meeting people for the first time, it’s human nature to want to impress them by talking about ourselves. However, if you want to empower them, ask about them. Putting the focus on the client keeps the focus off of ourselves, which can neutralize fear or call reluctance. The first rule in relationship-building is to discover how to add value before you ask for value. Serving others’ needs is the surest way to create a quick connection. Most salespeople are taught to do three things:
- Present their product or service with strong benefits.
- Position their company above the competition.
- Impress the client with what they will gain by going ahead.
Utilizing this strategy may help close sales, but it can backfire if it is employed before an emotional connection is established.
Rather than trying to impress others by talking about yourself, your abilities, and your company, focus on elevating them. Connecting with people on a level that makes them feel appreciated and uplifted will build your position in their minds as an influencer. When a client feels a connection with you, they will give weight to your words and follow where you lead.
Reach Out… And Risk Rejection
Connecting for the first time can be uncomfortable for both sides. Why is that? Everyone has a degree of insecurity about themselves—you and the clients. Insecurities can include feelings of not being smart enough, thin enough, fast enough, likable enough and more. This list of not-enoughs can create emotional deficits that make us fearful which shows up, even subconsciously, during our meetings with clients. These insecurities become barriers to connecting. This is because insecurity causes us to direct our attention inward instead of outward. When our attention is directed inward, we are self-focused whereas connecting requires an “other-focused” approach.
Meeting someone for the first time requires us to reach out and risk rejection. No one wants to be rejected or in situations that make them feel uncomfortable. On the client’s side of the situation, they will be uncomfortable because they won’t trust you at first, just because you are a salesperson. They will be skeptical of everything you say until you connect with them.
10 Strategies for Creating Connections
Developing a high-level ability to create connections, avoid conflicts, and build relationships is non-negotiable if you are to reach your sales and income potential. Each of us develops an inherent level of connecting skills as we grow and experience life. In the Law of Connection, there are ten strategies you can used to confidently and comfortably connect with others. Here’s a brief overview:
1. Common Ground
This is one of the easiest ways to identify a connection with your clients. It’s as simple as asking questions to discover someone you both know, some place you’ve both been to, what motivates both of you, achievements you have in common, or goals that are similar.
2. Higher Ground
Potential clients don’t hang out with salespeople for fun. It’s important to quickly determine clients’ ultimate goals for meeting with you whether their purpose is to fulfill a need or resolve a problem.
3. Credible Ground
When you can demonstrate that you’ve done your due diligence, taken advantage of the program yourself, and realized benefit from it, you have credibility to speak as one who has walked the proverbial “mile in their shoes”
4. Relevant Ground
This may change with each new client as what is relevant to each can be very different. Your job is to determine what’s most relevant to them and focus on those points in your presentation. What is meaningful to us is often meaningless to the customer.
5. Emotionally-Charged Ground
Pay attention to both the positive and negative reactions clients have to what you say. When you hit a positive “nerve” encourage them to tell you more about why it’s so important to them. Ask for elaboration which creates engagement and deepens connection.
6. Strengthening Ground
Every human contact either strengthens us or drains us. Our goal in sales is to strengthen by making emotional deposits into our clients. You can do this by affirming them in an area of strength that is unique to them or by acknowledging a past success or decision they have made. When you become a ‘depositor of strength’ into your customers, it creates a magnetic pull between you and them.
7. Comforting Ground
No two clients will have had the exact same experiences or have the same needs. Use similar body language as theirs. Rephrase a point made by the client to demonstrate that you were listening intently and that you understand.
8. Shared Ground
Open doors to shared interests by asking questions about what potential clients do for fun, wish they could do more of, and what they do not like to do. Your goal as their advisor will be to help them make decisions that allow them to enjoy more of what they love and avoid more of what they do not.
9. Spiritual Ground
People don’t always agree on spiritual matters, but most are aware of “larger forces” and the resulting beliefs. When you learn what they believe or have experienced, you will gain a better understanding of how to connect with them.
10. Sacred Ground
If you could only spend one hour with someone you would possibly never see again, how would you spend it? The answer to this question will provide you with a strategy to connect deeply and personally with your clients. Focus on the impact you want to make in their lives during that time by probing about their past, present, and future.
By utilizing the Law of Connection and its strategies, you will close the distance between you and those you serve. Whether you are focused on creating a new client relationship or strengthening an existing one, employ these ideas for deepening each interaction. With connection comes trust. Trust builds relationships and long-term clients. ◊