Use Your Charisma to Sell Professional Services: Part I
- If you’re a provider of professional services, do you have trouble convincing clients they should hire your firm without demanding any discount?
- Do you have difficulty convincing buyers there’s no need to request any alterations to your pitch, as yours is already a premium service that’s perfect for their needs?
- And, if you’re one of several bidders, do you struggle to position your firm as the top dog?
If so, you are not alone. The world over, professionals are besieged with ever-louder customer demands for rethinks, redraftings, new interpretations, something different; and always something much, much cheaper than the original asking price.
Architects exprience this; so do workaday lawyers, accountants, advisers, editors – and above all management consultants, who must sometimes reinvent and redefine their product a dozen times before winning grudging client acceptance.
Being part of an organisation with a powerful brand certainly helps, but services are people-driven and the client is buying your competencies, not the institution itself.
Service providers, of course, are basically selling their time and if not their own intellectual property, then diagnostic and troubleshooting skills they’ve built up over years of experience. So accepting a discount is a de facto skills devaluation, implying lower worth to the client. Acceptance can mean sagging self-esteem.
Now there is a way for you to turn all this around. This blog post is dedicated to helping service professionals to differentiate the way offerings are presented, and so drag themselves out of the “discount bracket.”
The answer is charisma, something that lies within you but may be hidden from view. When it works, the effects are immediate. We’ve all experienced that moment when it’s clear that by some magical process we have been “bought in” and the client regards our presence at the decision-making table to be both natural and necessary.
We’ll show you how you can use charisma to boost your influence, nurturing behaviours that win acceptance, lower barriers of belief and gather trust.
To find out more about charisma and its application to modern business life, visit www.communicatecharisma.com. You’ll find diverse blog entries exploring such themes as power and influence, communicating through effective body language, and whether charisma is an innate gift or learned behaviour.
You can also decide whether you would like to take a self-assessment test to find out more about your own charisma. To do so, you’ll first need to contact us via email or the comment space below. You may wish to join one of our workshops.
But first let’s focus on the practical application of charisma. What separates one group we’ll call the ‘Influencers’ who sell they work for top dollar, from the ‘Malleables,’ who may be forced to accept discounts even though their work may be of just as good quality?
We all know ‘Influencer’ service providers whose product is accepted unquestioningly because they are opinion formers or fashionistas. If we work in the same narrow field we may recognise glaring weaknesses that clients are wholly blind to. Yet somehow that doesn’t matter one bit.
On the other side of the fence we find the ‘Malleables.’ These are people whose work, however worthy, gets squeezed, questioned, and downgraded.
If business life is a metaphorical cocktail party, then these are the waiters handing around trays loaded with canapés or drinks at cocktail parties where favoured guests continually plead favours or special treatment. “This is full sugar. Can you fetch me a Diet Coke?” Or “Have you got any vegan paté/kosher crackers back in the kitchen you could find specially for me?” Or “I can’t believe this is all you have to offer me.”
So what divides the two groups and what determines whether one idea must be offered with a discount, while another commands a premium? You might expect the short answer to be a mix of “chutzpah,” “braggadoccio,” and sheer assertiveness.
But we all know that’s not the answer. Sometimes the most effective sales people who get clients eating out of their hand seem to be hardly even trying, and they certainly aren’t pushy or aggressive.
It all comes down to charisma. Winning influence, gaining trust and being rewarded with acceptance, are all classic charisma attributes. To explore the definition, you can visit the Communicate Charisma website and get to know the Seven Dimensions of charisma.
Nor does success necessarily mean using those high-wattage charisma attributes we associate with extroverted energy such as self-assurance, drive or vision. Often, establishing common ground through empathy, collaboration or values will prove just as effective in triggering an “uncomplaining buy” signal from those needing services. Fundamentally, of course, any vendor of services must be able to transmit the unquestioning belief that his or her solution will add the most value for clients.
It comes down to much more than luck, or hope. A lucky few have developed the skill – often unconsciously – of deploying their natural charisma assets to best effect, and this translates into sales. You’d never dream of haggling with a heart surgeon or a trial lawyer, or demand that either adopts different tactics. So why shouldn’t people regard what you do in the same way?
To get there, the rest of us may need to adopt a more conscious learning process, which has three stages.
- First, we need to visualise, map and measure the charisma we already possess (and yes, everyone has some of it).
- Second, we can learn to recognise authentic charismatic behaviours in ourselves and others as well as gaining insights into the style of “Great Communicators.”.
- Finally, we initiate a process of personal development and awareness that over time, helps us manage and makes best use of our charisma.
These three stages form the core of the Communicate Charisma approach which combines online self-assessment tools, workshops, and guided personal development.
In the next posting, we’ll analyse each of the Seven Dimensions of charisma and see how service leaders use them to help the sales process.