Many practitioners seem to waste time worrying about their value.
It's one of the reasons people take qualification after qualification, because they want to feel credible.
I've often spoken with advisers who say things like: “I can’t go and speak to xxx (for example, a particular high-net-worth prospect or professional connections) because I don’t have xxx qualification.”
Years ago, I used to share an office with an adviser who had so many letters after his name he needed an extension on his business card just to fit them all in!
He wanted to be impressive, but the fact was his client relationships were often superficial because he was too consumed with how he came across.
He knew clients didn't warm to him, and he thought that more qualifications would take care of that problem. But alas, that was never going to be the case.
Clients expect you to know what you're talking about. It's a given.
How many times have you been asked for your qualifications by a prospective client?
For me, not once in nearly 30 years. This is not what people are concerned about.
Far more pressing is what is going on in their own lives.
In the book The trusted advisor, the authors make the point that:
“Since clients are often anxious and uncertain they are, above all, looking for someone who will provide reassurance, calm their fears and inspire confidence.”
Clients can be afraid of opening up because they don't want to feel vulnerable. They don't want to admit their mistakes and appear stupid. They are fearful of the future and the unknown.
The way to deal with this is not by pulling out your extended business card and showing them how clever you are.
Don't get me wrong - I think it’s great to get qualified and continue your professional development. But when this is couched as trying to be the expert or impressive, it creates a barrier.
It doesn’t pull people in. It pushes them away. It shuts things down and prevents people from warming to you.
If I am a client, what I want to feel is that you are deeply interested in me and my world.
Creating exceptional, transformational client relationships has its foundation in one thing - human connection, and there is one activity, above all others, that takes care of this.
It is deep listening.
Yet hardly anyone does this.
One of my coaches, Annika Hurwitt, taught me that the first step towards deep listening is to practice listening and not responding.
This does not mean do not ever respond. That would make you look weird.
It means letting someone finish what they are saying and giving them time and space even when you might be tempted to think they have finished. When you pay full attention, you will know when someone has finished speaking and thinking.
So, there is a massive opportunity right in front of you.
Deeply listen to the next person you encounter. Forget completely about your value and get into their world.
Everyone, without exception, who begins to practice this tells me that it immediately transforms the quality of their interactions and relationships.