We all want to build an independent brand, identity, our unique value. A “why I am smarter than…” story.
I have been intrigued by various conversations with well-qualified advisors over the past couple of years whose requirement for their client portfolios is that it should look different and be interesting. They would prefer to see “names” that are not well-known and that is not mainstream.
They believe that this will distinguish them from “the rest” and make them look interesting. Being interesting seems to be a selling point.
With the need to be interesting with your investment offering comes the additional pressure to outperform.
Some advisors are technically very strong and would love for prospective clients to be aware of this. This results in them focussing their initial conversation on this ability and strength, believing that it would create a basis for trust. As a legal advisor many years ago, this was my place of comfort. My way of distinguishing myself from “the rest”.
Looking back, I must acknowledge that it did not serve me all that well. The advisors with a high EQ (emotional intelligence) ran circles around the rest of us. EQ trumped IQ. Today I know better and realise that EQ sits higher on the advice value stack.
What will give you the most influence in your client relationships: being interesting or being interested?
Turns out that we should focus on being interested, not interesting.
People find you more interesting when you appear to be more interested in their story. We make better impressions when we focus on being a little more interested and stop worrying about trying to come across as interesting. Your influence comes from making it about them.
“To be interesting, be interested.” – Dale Carnegie
People care more about themselves and what is important to them. People find you super interesting when you show a deep concern about them. Management guru Jim Collins recalled a lesson learned from his mentor John W. Gardner:
“One day early in my faculty teaching career, John Gardner sat me down. “It occurs to me, Jim, that you spend too much time trying to be interesting,” he said. “Why don’t you invest more time being interested?”
You create lasting impressions in others by becoming genuinely interested. To be interested in other people – and consequently get them interested in you – is a significant social skill one must develop.
Some points to consider:
- Don’t talk too much or too little.
- Have more than you show, speak less than you know.
- Don’t pose as a listener, be one.
- Be impressed and interested, not impressive and interesting.
When you are more interested in your clients story you surprisingly become interesting, and this separates you from the competition. Isn’t it fascinating that what makes a person more interesting is that he is interested in others?
It’s a common stereotype that a great salesperson can “talk to anybody.” The interesting fact is that the opposite is true. What if, instead, you could listen to anybody? A great salesperson emphasizes listening, not talking.’ – Shari Levitian
As Calvin Coolidge famously said, “No one ever listened themselves out of a job.”
You don’t find the need to be different or interesting in other professions. You must be competent. I don’t consult with a doctor, psychologist or engineer because they are interesting or different. On the contrary, I want them to understand/diagnose my need or problem.
Great advice practices are evolving from the product economy to the experience economy. This relies more on EQ and active listening skills. Your ability to listen with empathy will make you interesting and build stronger client relationships.
Do you know how to listen?
The above article was written by Marius Kilian.
*Ty Bennet, tybennett.com, “Be interested and not interesting”.
*Shari Levitin, sharilevitin.com, “Active Listening activities guaranteed to improve sales performance”.
*Nagesh Beluddi, rightattitudes.com, “Be Interested”