The Magic When Leaders Meet Fact-to-Face

The Magic When Leaders Meet Fact-to-Face

For many years I have been partnering with an organization to provide leadership training for many different industries.
 

As with any long-term collaboration, we sometimes disagree or view the customer challenges from different perspectives. If we end up being on opposite pages of thinking, we talk it through to come up with a solution that we both could live with. But recently things started to change. There was a clean sweep of leadership in the organization and before I realized what had happened I started dealing with an entire new group of “names.”

I describe the new leaders as “names” because that is all I had to go on. I had no faces to connect to the “names”. The once close relationship I had enjoyed with this organization seemed to be fading and I became very frustrated.

What was missing here? How could I get to know these new leaders and build a relationship that I once had with this organization?

It then hit me. I needed to meet these new leaders face-to-face for them to see who I was and what made me thrive and for me to get to know what excites them.

It took awhile to set up a date because the new leaders all wanted to meet me. I actually became concerned at one point as they kept changing the meeting day. But when I arrived they all greeted me with smiles and apologized for changing up the date as they all wanted to be available to connect with me face-to-face.

The magic began.

As we sat around a conference table listening intently to what everyone had to share, it became clear that we all cared about each other. They wanted to hear about my experiences with the previous leaders and what I would change. I was thrilled to hear about their new vision and mission. I walked out feeling excited and looking forward to our follow-up plan to involve the other trainers.

What changes when leaders meet face-to-face?
 

WALLS ARE BROKEN DOWN
 

The moment I entered their new facility (and yes they had just moved) I felt a calmness come across me. I no longer had to visualize where they all worked or how professional the new offices were. I was shaking hands with the partners I only knew from our emails and phone calls. What a relief. The tension in our relationship started to melt away. They were all amazing and put me at ease immediately.

REAL EMOTIONS CAN BE SEEN
 

For someone like me who finds it helpful to view people’s facial expressions and body language, there is nothing more important than seeing the non-verbal cues. When emotions are revealed in real time:

  • Leaders can react more appropriately
  • Leaders don’t have to guess or put their own spin on how someone else feels
  • Communication is clearer and more open
  • Honest relationships can be formed
     

AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP IS REVEALED
 

Before entering into this face-to-face situation, I wondered what these new leaders actually knew about me. I tried to imagine what their leadership skills looked like. When we can’t put a face to an action or decision we sometimes jump to conclusions. And not always positive ones. I could hear from their thoughts and words how committed they were to working together. They were finally real leaders to me.

A FUTURE COLLABORATION CAN EMERGE
 

After spending a few hours sharing and dreaming and laughing, it became clear that we were ready to move full steam ahead with our collaboration. When we could banter back and forth and show each other how valuable we each meant to one another, the future seemed limitless. We were energized to have focus groups with the rest of the trainers and cultivate a true joint venture.

How have face-to-face meetings helped your leadership grow and change?

Terri Klass
Leadership
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Terri founded Terri Klass Consulting over 20 years ago to partner with organizations to create cultures of empowerment and develop future leadership. She delivers hi ... Click for full bio

Advisors: How to Prepare Before Calling an Agency

Advisors: How to Prepare Before Calling an Agency

Written by: 

You’ve read my other posts:

Related: Should You Work with a Marketing or PR Agency, or Neither?

Related: There's No Point in Paying for Outside Advice If You Have No Intention of Listening to It

And you’re finally ready to talk to a marketing or PR agency.

Or are you?

I’m amazed how many prospects contact an agency without any advance preparation whatsoever. It’s not just that they don’t know what services the agency offers. The real issue is, they can’t even explain why they’re calling in the first place.

You might be raising an eyebrow at my suggestion that you actually need to prepare before calling a vendor. Don’t. I want to help you maximize your time, and potential investment.

Here’s why: The best way to use a vendor’s time during an initial call is to conduct a mini-discovery session. At FiComm, we will ask: What is your vision for your business? How do your services address your market’s needs? Where are you headed as a company? What will get you to the next level? What marketing obstacles do you face? That information shapes our remarks, ensuring that everything we say will be directly relevant to you.

Many advisors find those initial conversations enormously valuable in their own right. They help clarify their thinking. But others feel put on the spot. They freeze. They respond in standard brochure-speak: “We were founded in 1984, we have four advisors, we serve 200 households with an average account size of $400,000.”

Or they say, “We were hoping you would tell us the answers to those questions.”

Well, that’s helpful.

Imagine you’re meeting a potential wealth management client for the first time. They have $700,000 in a brokerage account, $400,000 in a retirement account, two kids, a dog and a house in L.A. Great. You start by asking their goals for themselves, their money, and their family.

Puzzled, they tilt their heads and say, “We were hoping you would tell us.”

See what I mean? How can you possibly come up with a solution for clients who can’t even articulate their goals, or speak to their financial pain points?

The same is true for us vendors. Before we can help you, we need to know where your business is going and how you think marketing can help you get there. The answers don’t have to be “right” (and we’ll help you get there), but it you come prepared to participate, our conversations can be very fruitful. If you don’t—well, it’s hard to deliver value for you. We know we’ll constantly have to prove ourselves and remind you why you hired us.

“But, Megan,” some advisors say, “we’re not ready for that. We’re just trying to understand the basics. How will we learn if you don’t tell us?”

If you’re calling an agency just to get a general marketing education, then that’s what you’ll get—general information, most of it irrelevant to you, and lacking the specifics you’re really looking for.

So, don’t call an agency to be your marketing tutor. Instead, read. Advisors have never had better access to self-help insights and information—through trade pubs, custodian relationships, blogs, podcasts, other advisors and industry pundits. Be curious. Be inquisitive. If you hear something on a podcast that intrigues you, follow the host back to LinkedIn. Read what they write there. Email your questions. Attend a webinar. Be an active participant at industry events.

At some point, you’ll understand the basics. You’ll have identified your own issues. And narrowed down your questions. Then, finally, you’ll be ready to call an agency.

Instead of saying, “Tell us what we need,” you’ll say, “We need help with this.

Megan Carpenter
Marketing
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Megan is CEO & Co-Founder at FiComm Partners, LLC. Her team develops winning communications strategies for entrepreneurs in the independent advisory community, and busines ... Click for full bio