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How to Influence Yourself, Your Clients, and Prospects

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Several weeks ago, I hosted my M2 Mastermind meeting in Clearwater Fl. These are handpicked financial advisor clients of mine who come together several times a year in a study group to mastermind, strategize, and to really talk about best practices and what’s working.

Typically, when we have these multi day retreats, I always present a new training, a new concept to the group and they get it first. This past meeting, I unveiled “Getting the ‘Yes’. How to influence yourself, your clients and your prospects”. 

What I want to do today is share with you a short excerpt of that meeting and what I’d like you to do is watch or listen to it (if you’re listening to the podcast), take some notes. I hope you find it valuable.

Here’s what I’m finding. This has been true in my entire 25-year career. Very few advisors have any kind of formal sales training and if you’ve had informal training, where it’s very generic and not built around our industry.

If you’ve learned anything around people, it’s going to be product driven. Here’s how you talk to somebody about annuity, here’s one for life insurance, this is how you sell this and that.

While you might be good in that one area, it doesn’t give you the depth of the relationship that we all need to have. Couple that with the following that as an industry, we really and truly operate and explain things logically. We’re logic based.

Things like planning software, financial DNA, investor behavioral stuff, and behavioral finance tools are tools that double and triple down on our logic. How many of you guys run Riskalyze? You get a number and you tell your clients to round that number and it’s a logical process because it’s software driven.

As an industry, we’re losing the skill set if we haven’t even had the heart of the conversation with people. If I were to build a human like robot advisor, they’re going to have incredible communication and influence skills. I won’t make them the smartest one in the room because that will give them a bias. But I will make them like a person who can connect with anyone.

This background of mine came from Cialdini, Jay Abraham, and Tony Robbins’ work through NLP and neuro-socio groups. I melded all those together when I built my program 12 years ago. So, what’s changed in 12 years? Well, Technology.

A lot of times now we’re not even sitting face to face with our clients or prospects. We’re either doing it over the phone or through Zoom. Now there’s a whole other river here that we have to get through to connect to people. 

If your brain tends to be analytically based, you’re going to communicate in your natural style. That would be great if you’re dealing with somebody like you. There are people that you just connect with and you don’t know why you like them so much, but there’s just that natural level of rapport.

There’s no issue with those. It’s when you have that one that you want to help but you’re not like them. They’re not going to come to you. You’ve got to go to them to be in a position of influence. That’s the skill set that we’ve forgotten. Likability is a foundation of everything. If your prospect doesn’t like you, it is highly unlikely that they’re going to be a client in our space.

Other professionals who are transitionally oriented, likability is nice to have but not a must have. For example, you may need surgery and may get referred to a surgeon that’s at the top of their field. The number one in the area.

You meet them and they’re an ass and you don’t like them but, they’ll get the job done. You’ll hire them to do the surgery even if you wouldn’t want to have dinner with the person right? Same thing with criminal defense attorneys. I need somebody who’s going to solve a problem for me. I do not have to like them.

Advisors follow a totally different set of rules. You have to be liked in order for people to engage an advisor. Likability is high enough on their board when they make decisions.

If you don’t resonate with that prospect, it doesn’t matter what you show them or how impressed they will be with your reporting. They will never say “Yes” to you because they’re not connecting to you. 

Our industry has a different set of rules. That’s why you just can’t be good at what you do. As for a lot of this people in our space that have all this intellectual capital: MBAs, JDs, Masters in Financial Planning, etc. but, they can barely make ends meet in their business.

Why? It’s because they think it’s all about, ‘Well, everybody else is smart I should get hired because I’m smart’. But the client or prospect doesn’t like you because your attitude is bad.

No amount of education is going to overcome that in our business. The other thing is this, ‘Influence is a battle of congruence’. The person who is the most congruent wins the deal.

This is why the morning ritual is so important. I’m going to make a better business case for the morning ritual today than I did in business planning.

Clients, prospects or team members, when you need them to do something, you have to influence them to do it. When you sit with a client and you have to give them a new set of recommendations, you’re selling them on ‘why they need to do it’ and they’re selling you on ‘why they don’t want to do it’.

You’re sitting with a prospect. You’re going to influence them to say “Yes” to you and they’re going to try to influence you on, ‘well, let me think about it’ or ‘I can only make certain changes right now’. Whoever is more solid in their conviction is going to win that battle 9 out of 10 times.

Some of you may have or may know somebody who has experienced this. People that first got in the business don’t know a thing. But they are excited. While they’re intellectually deficient, emotionally they are bundled with enthusiasm and excitement which is contagious.

They didn’t get somebody to say “yes” to them purely out of their own beliefs. Then they get smart and lose their “power”.  My point is, bring them both together in this room. Have them both if you’re capable of having both.

Being an influencer is a skill set. This is a learned skill. I’m an introvert but yet I influence every one of you to do the right thing for yourself. I stand up in front of this room and I’m teaching today, but I’m an introvert.

One of my belief set, which I’ve had for 30 years is I can build rapport with anybody. How many of you here are similar to the person next to you? There’s a lot of difference, right?

But why am I able to be effective with all of you? It’s because I go to where you are. If you were to record all my coaching calls, you’ll see that I talk differently to each one of you.

It’s because if I don’t “go to where you are”, you won’t “hear” me. That’s true power. It all starts with likability.

What’s the foundation of likability? It’s rapport. Physical Rapport. Match and mirror. If they talk soft, you talk soft. If you’re doing a video conference with a client or prospect, notice the tilt of their heads, or their shoulders.

You’d want to match that. When you do, go and build a “communication bridge”. That’s power. They don’t know why they like you but they will. It’s all because of mirroring.

They’ll see that you’re just like them. If anybody has done any neuro-linguistics, you’ll know that matching and mirroring is one of the most powerful tools of influence.

These are the core principles of the program. We need three things. One is ‘Yourself’. If you don’t know why you’re with that person, then you have a problem that you cannot overcome. 

Related: Advisors: Here’s How to Handle Adversity

If you don’t know if you’re qualified to help them or how you can help them and all that “head trash” rolling around, then you’re already defeated. You better hope they’re motivated by themselves to say “yes” to you because you’re going to mess it up. How do we do that?

The answer is good old “Morning Ritual”. If I were to sit with a prospect, I would ask myself, ‘Why am I sitting down with them? What is my goal? What is the outcome I seek?’

Let’s talk about prospects for a second. What percentage of time do you literally say: ‘I’m going to match and mirror, I’m going to build massive rapport’, and ‘I’m going to do whatever it takes to help them. I’m going to commit to that process’ and say it consciously to yourself. Not ‘I show up and I hope that it works’.

When you start dictating outcomes in advance to yourself and you’re buying what you’re selling, your congruency level goes up and that is the battle we face. All of you have lost opportunities for new clients because somebody was better at selling you on why they couldn’t do something than you were better at selling them why they needed to.

You bailed because you were not solid on yourself. Your own mental foundation was weak and you caved. You didn’t dig in. In every influence situation there’s a moment and how you treat that moment, determines the outcome. Sometimes it’s early in the process and sometimes it’s in the latter part.

There will be something in that person’s mind that will make them go, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ You will then need to articulate why it’s in their best interest. The only way you’re going to know that is if you have enough rapport to them that they will open up to you.

All of you have had a meeting, so have I, where you get in front of somebody and you just can’t get them. They won’t talk or answer any questions. They just want to be pitched.

How many times do you get that person as a client? The answer is none. What happened? They were so guarded that you didn’t spend enough time breaking them down, building enough rapport with them, matching and mirroring with them to build a communication bridge so they trust you. That all happens here in the foundation.

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