Developing client relationships, significant ones, is the key to your business success. It’s a vital skill you have to master to be truly productive and profitable.
In the business world you will generally experience three levels of relationships:
- The first level is superficial, simply addressing the features and benefits of a product or service.
- The second level is more sustaining and addresses the client’s motives and values of why they would take action.
- The third level is your significant relationships, where you understand the client’s emotional blueprint and their core personality which drives their behavior.
In gathering research for my own professional development, I conducted a survey in which I interviewed more than 200 successful entrepreneurs. I asked them specifically why they would or would not engage with certain professionals in financial services. My intention was to gain a better understanding of what their deciding factors were. The number one reason why they would not engage was they felt like they were being sold. It was most often put in these terms, “I got the feeling they were putting their interests ahead of mine”.
The number one reason why they chose to work with someone was that they “liked them” and they “had a good feeling about them”. The good feeling was about the individual, not their product or service. It became very clear to me that my first responsibility was to have people like who I am and be able to present a personality they could work with.
Think about the best relationships in your own life—personally and professionally. What is the one thing those relationships all have in common? It is that both you and the other person appreciate each other for who you are. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else around them. You are being a first-rate version of yourself, rather than a second-rate version of someone else.
We live in a culture that places little importance on self-reflection. My entry into sales and marketing was not a path chosen with much clarity or self-awareness. Like many, I was recruited and trained without a clear understanding of why I chose the career, what I would do and how I would do it.
Without a clear sense of understanding on these core questions, you can appreciate that confusion, rather than clarity, was the rule. Because of this my growth strategy was that I turned my will over to others to tell me what to think, say and how to act. My empowerment strategy was simply to imitate the actions of others that I viewed as “successful”. This resulted more often than not in added stress, conflict and inconsistent levels of activity and performance. I felt inauthentic, adversarial and uncertain. My head and heart were not in alignment. Finally these feelings manifested in a career-changing understanding and decision to grow and improve.
These experiences led me to begin the discovery process to better understand how to create and develop significant relationships, starting with myself. The opportunity before me was to have the courage to see my current reality and confront it. To choose to acknowledge that some of my beliefs about relationships were no longer effective and working. I sought to have a better understanding of why I acted the way I did and for the most part, why I was not using my talents and abilities in a consistent manner.
Most people are anxious to improve their circumstances, but unwilling to improve themselves. They are either reluctant to do the inner work of self-reflection or simply don’t know how. However, consider this: it is easier to change yourself than it is to try to change others. When you realize this simple truth, you will begin to understand the importance of uncovering and understanding your authentic self.
The problem is that we are not taught how to learn. Most training focuses on product knowledge and company information, which, although important, has nothing to do with how to relate and communicate with others. The sales process learned utilizes memorization of standardized scripts that are not related to the individual’s values, unique abilities or experience. We are taught how to do something before fully understanding why we would do it.
As a coach to trusted advisors, I have worked with and studied people’s behavior for the past twenty-five years. I have observed that people who create and sustain sales success over a long period of time understand and operate from certain patterns that produce effective results. These three key patterns, or drivers, I have identified as:
- Clarity: They are being clear about who they are.
- Confidence: They are confident in what they will and will not do.
- Capability: They are capable of aligning their intentions with actions.
Top Advisors have developed what I call an “authentic mindset”, or a state of mind that allows them to maximize their performance. They embrace and operate from powerful attractor patterns that produce success, not just imitate the actions of others. They are clear on their intentions, who they are and the values and qualities they can share. They are confident on how they can serve and the actions they deliver. They are capable of honoring their agreements and keeping their promises and above all, committed to the necessary effort to produce the desired result.
Here are three questions to ask yourself that will help you build an “authentic mindset” and be a first rate version of yourself:
- Why did I choose this profession? (Why do I get up in the morning?)
- What will I do? (What is the best way I can serve others?)
- How will I do it? (What roles demonstrate how I can serve others?)
I will emphasize these key drivers throughout this series of articles. The understanding of these drivers will increase your state of readiness and allow you to go to another level in developing your client relationships. They are fundamental to building an authentic mindset, which allows you to attract, connect and commit to significant client relationships. Remember, when the advisor is ready, the client will appear.
Click Here for a complimentary tool on Building to an Authentic Mindset and my personal responses.