STRATEGIC NARRATIVE INSIGHTS
The Silent Key to Success
Let’s turn to today’s message…
Suppose we’ve said everything about the importance of listening. Have we grown tired of hearing about it?
The dominant narrative in selling professional services isn't about listening – it's about talking.
Package, present, pitch, persuade,… and the famous “Let’s tell our story….”
Traditional selling in professional services is deeply rooted in the idea that being a great presenter is critical to making a sale.
However, what clients indeed seek is quite the opposite.
Clients value our ability to understand their needs, challenges, and goals before offering solutions.
As advisors, the first skill we should sell is our listening ability.
So, perhaps we do need to hear more about the art of listening.
Sell like an expert
Being an expert doesn't mean talking more.
Instead, it involves selling our ability to focus on someone else momentarily–to care for others genuinely.
In doing so, we signal that the interaction is not about us but about the other person.
As advisors, our primary task is to examine our "patient." That requires curiosity and silence. Even though ironically, studies have shown that an average doctor in the US will interrupt their patient just 14 seconds into the consultation.
Flip the “salesroom”
Working as an advisor requires us to concentrate on the other person.
To achieve this, we must demonstrate it and make our sales meetings about listening.
Minimize your "brag zone" and save presentations for outside sales meetings.
Flip the conversation, much like teachers have flipped their classrooms, and make your point of view, perspective, and intellectual property available on demand and publicly.
Let your content tell your client success stories when you are not in the meeting.
Flip the conversation by pushing most of your presentation content into the pre-read or probing steps of your sales process, allowing you more time to explore your client's desires.
Can you stay focused entirely on the other person?
Embrace the silence, as it is your ally.
Silence allows people to reflect and grants them agency.
Silence can give clients a sense of control over the conversation, empowering them to express their needs, concerns, and desires more openly.
Clients who feel heard and understood are more likely to trust and engage with the advisor's recommendations.
Refuse to pitch
When you accept to pitch when a client wants you to, you activate the wrong narrative.
You give way too much leeway for your prospects to “grab the wheel” and take you wherever they want in the conversation.
Pitching destroys your narrative power by positioning you as the auditionee in front of a panel unqualified to judge your abilities since they are not the expert.
As Blair Enns said, even if we pitch and win, we lose. We have set up the wrong dynamics between the client and us.
Instead, demonstrate your expertise by leading your own sales process,
As advisors, the first thing we should sell is our listening ability.
“Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens” - Jimi Hendrix.