If you’re in the professional services business, you’ll know selling yourself effectively is 90% of success. Clients are buying your persona just as much as your expertise.
If a new client relationship is developing well, you may notice the service has been effortlessly bought in without question and you’re expected to take your place at the top table as a trusted adviser.
But when clients respond to your pitch with pointless questions, calls for endless changes, and then demand a discount, it’s a safe bet your persona has been disregarded and your light is hiding beneath the proverbial bushel.
In the first scenario, clients feel the instant rapport that stimulates them to lower natural barriers of distrust. In the second, listeners are probably unable to experience the personal charisma that you’re hiding somewhere.
Traditionally, service providers have focussed on enhancing their technical skills to increase their value in the market place. But it’s not how many courses, seminars or workshops a professional has attended that may determine whether he or she makes a sale.
Charisma can do many things for all of us, but it can also help sell professional services. In previous posts we have looked at the “don’ts” – unconscious behaviours or acquired communication habits that can alienate clients or rouse their suspicions.
Now it’s time for the “dos” – a review of success factors in communication to see where each person can use his or her innate resources to increase influence.
This post is not about “sales technique.” Just the reverse in fact – it’s about recognising and uncovering inner authenticity that wins trust over time, rather than adopting a rules-based formula whose effectiveness may be short-lived.
To view a definition of what charisma is and how it works, visit www.communicatecharisma.com.
Charisma is an amalgam of seven classic personality areas. These form the bedrock of all social behaviour, and for each individual we find a unique distribution of energy in each of these dimensions. What’s common to all charismatic people is that they are able to lower barriers of distrust and to quickly build a rapport that allows them to influence others.
The seven dimensions and the classification of energy types come from the Communicate Charisma methodology. This allows anyone to visualise, map and measure their own charisma, using a simple online self-assessment. Via the work of Carl Jung, Communicate Charisma shares a common ancestor with other well-known methodologies based on personality typing.
We commonly associate charisma with being engaging, energetic, popular. But using charisma doesn’t mean being a popstar or someone famous for their power and influence. The quiet, influential and possibly grumpy person at the back of the room who crystallizes everyone’s thought and leads the group to a unanimous conclusion, is every bit as charismatic. Likewise in terms of effect, the dogged persuader who convinces the other 11 jurors to change their verdict is every bit as charismatic as the TV evangelist. It’s all about results!
Because charisma can manifest itself though restrained as well as effervescent styles, we will review the effects of both high and low energy. However because we are trained to support the “Goldilocks approach” or Golden Mean of behaviour that is “neither too hot nor too cold,” many of the most effective communication styles will lie right in the middle of the energetic range.
It’s important to state there aren’t any Rights or Wrongs, just communicative behaviours that are appropriate to circumstances – or otherwise.
The charts below are extracts from the charisma mapping methodology developed by Communicate Charisma. This is based upon a simple online self-assessment available to those contacting Communicate Charisma here to request a referral code. The self-assessment test creates a report that shows in detail how each individual projects his or her charisma, and what essence that charisma is composed of. The seven dimensions of charisma look like this:
Let’s review the seven dimensions of charisma and see what delivers effectiveness to communicators both at the upper and lower ranges, and in the middle.
High-energy Strengths: Positive aggression and confidence are certainly key attributes for alert service providers, helping to shift perceptions and drive buyer decisions. If don’t feel 100% confident of your service, why should a client?
Low-energy Strengths: Few CEOs want to be outshone by external advisers or consultants. So a combination of sensitivity and intuition helps those with modest Self-assurance to use tact to deliver positive outcomes.
Golden Mean: Confident.
High-energy Strengths: Communicating what we know to be true without ambiguity or compromise galvanizes potential buyers and makes them want to “be part of it.” Expressing convictions – sometimes fervently – can de decisive.
Low-energy Strengths: Leaving would-be buyers to make up their own minds earns healthy respect. So quiet confidence and values-based conduct often earns more client trust than operating from an evangelist perspective.
Golden Mean: Convinced.
High-energy Strengths: Sharing spirits are contagious. Work is enriched when we’re sensitive to group dynamics and the needs of our clients. Collaboration types can build trust and get the best interaction with temporary colleagues around whom they’ll be working during an assignment.
Low-energy Strengths: Self-starters such as consultants must initiate tasks independently and take responsibility for tough decisions. Then they will be valued by managers and leaders. Outsiders are often chosen precisely because they must be detached.
Golden Mean: Team Player
High-energy Strengths: Clients can recognize true change agents able to fire their people up and push them further. This hyperactive rush of energy wins sympathy for new ideas even when the style is demanding and perhaps even forceful.
Low-energy Strengths: A mature “laissez faire” approach that’s sensitive to circumstances can contrast favourably with misguided enthusiasm or dogged insistence.
Golden Mean: Motivated.
High-energy Strengths: Emotional intelligence breaks down rigidity and mistrust that often confronts external consultants. The rapport generated by open-hearted solidarity wins over those team members suspicious of ‘outsiders’.
Low-energy Strengths: Cutting through emotional clutter to focus resolutely on the goal in hand gets results for external advisers. Making hard business choices is a lonely and responsible activity that calls for discipline and detachment.
Golden Mean: Understanding.
High-energy Strengths: When invited into the client workplace, those presenting ideas with integrity are ensured a following and will win the trust that increases influence. Firm refusal to accept compromises or yield to pressure also confers authenticity.
Low-energy Strengths: External consultants or service providers must frequently keep positions open, showing tolerance and open-mindedness about other values as they negotiate a bigger role.
Golden Mean: Coherent.
High-energy Strengths: With Vision comes the power to influence and persuade clients to make changes, by showing them what’s just over the horizon. This can unite people and show them short-term difficulties will pass.
Low-energy Strengths: A solid, fact-based view of life avoids dangerous ‘leaps of faith’ and unproven or untested propositions. Focusing only on what is known to be true avoids disappointment, while reassuring clients of integrity.
Golden Mean: Perceptive.
Every adult knows their behaviour should be context-sensitive and they should be attuned to the body-language of those around them.
But that advice is hard to follow because of the “somatic” power of old habits. As we begin communicating, we automatically slip into a default “transmission mode” built up over years. Influences from family, school and the workplace have forged our emotional anatomy in such a way that we may unconsciously use communication styles that frustrate our own purposes.
One way to get a handle on this is to visualise what we are really doing, to understand why we are doing it — and then begin a process of change.
Traditionally, this is how actors learn “method.” But few business people — let alone service providers — are ready for drama school. Instead, visualising charisma by mapping, measuring and eventually managing it, offers a personal development route toward balanced and effective communications.
And when we communicate effectively, we create a rapport that allows us to influence others. And of course, that can mean selling more too.
If you’d like to find out more about the Communicate Charisma methodology and our interactive workshops, please visit our site to request a self-assessment.