“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford
Initial consultation training has such a huge impact on your results and the peace of mind your clients get after meeting with you. As you can imagine such training breaks the process down into numerous parts. One of the main components in a consultation, whether with potential clients or potential referral sources, is the ability to connect. If I had to pick ONE of the parts of the process that is most important and also most misunderstood, I’d have to say it’s Rapport.
Rapport in short could be described as “they like you or don’t like you.” We usually talk about whether you’ve made them feel comfortable or uncomfortable (moment by moment in the conversation or meeting). But that’s not all it is. There has to be a comfort level as well as a level of trust and confidence. Is all this achieved or not achieved by what you say or don’t say? Certainly not—there is no possible script that can line up winning meetings for you without the rest of the ingredients it takes to build rapport and confidence.
If you pay attention to how people sound telling you what the next step is, asking if you’re planning on handling your decision now or if you’re wanting to continue to wrestle with it… listen the tone, the wording, the eye contact, the body language.
There is a fine line between comfortably expecting someone to do what’s in their own best interest—and pushing them (away)—or meekly, tentatively suggesting something with little or no certainty woven into what was said.
After you hear other people ask you to take a next step – listen to your own tone, maybe see what you look like when you’re speaking. It’s so tough to hear it or see it in ourselves! In an effort not to be pushy, often we sound weak or perhaps appear as though we lack real confidence in our own advice. Or perhaps we feel so certain that it comes off arrogant and uncaring. Practice asking people at home or in the office to take a next step you’re recommending.
Don’t fall asleep at the wheel. Remember to be present in your meetings. You’ve been through a thousand estate planning consultations but your client may have only been through this “one.” Are you engaged? Comfortable? Present? Interested? Curious? Or is this getting old. It’s only as interesting as you make it. Your interest, commitment, expectations and confidence in what you do will show way before anyone hears it.
Research for 50 years has pointed to the fact that between 70% and 85% of the effectiveness of our communication is non-verbal. What do you look like, what do you “feel” like inside and what do you expect—while you’re asking people to make a decision that will help them sleep better at night?
Director, Member Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Ave Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92123
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