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Transform your sales

Scott Edinger

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Do you ever find that clients ignore what you do better than the competition? If great products and services are a given, how do you differentiate what you can offer to clients? In this session, Edinger explains how to use your selling efforts to set yourself apart and become a value-creating engine for which customers will pay a premium. Rather than sounding like a corporate mouthpiece, advisors can utilize this approach to combat the forces behind commoditization and establish value within the sales process.


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It’s hard to imagine that there has ever been a time when selling financial services and insurance has been more competitive than it is right now. As a result, it’s no longer enough to just tell your customers, your clients, how good your products or services are. It’s not enough to just simply tell them about the features and the benefits that you have to offer in the products. You have to do more than that. You have to create value in the way that you sell. The sales process that you engage in with customers has to be valuable.

And if you want to transform your selling efforts, meaning a fundamental and permanent change to the way that you bring great value to your customers, it’s about figuring out how you make the difference, how you become the advantage, because it’s not enough to simply communicate the competitive advantages of what you have; you need to be the advantage. You create the value and the process. The way you engage with customers and the sales experience that you create, that’s what’s valuable. And you create that value in the way you sell, not what you’re selling, and you become the advantage. You go from communicating the advantages to being the advantage. Not the product, not the services, not what you offer, but how you sell them.

And that’s what we’re going to be talking about today: How you can move forward in transforming your sales process and become part of that advantage, that valuable advantage that tips the scales in your favor when it’s time for clients to work with you.

Now, most of the time, clients are really unaware, as are we, of the impact that the sales experience has on influencing a buying decision. So when it comes to the influence of the buying decision, the sales experience is 25 percent of the decision. That’s from a research study by McKinsey & Company. They did this study looking at buyer behaviors, and it turns out that it’s not the best products that win. It’s not the best services, not the best brand, and not the best customer service. But the thing that tips the scales in your favor when products and services are equal is the sales experience.

Now, it gets even better because for existing customers, those existing clients whom you’ve been working with, their decision to continue doing business with you, for you to get those annuities, 53 percent of the decision was based on the sales experience—more than products and services and brand and value ratios combined. So if you consider that, the value that you create, it’s a chance for you to become the advantage in the sales process. That means you need to go beyond just communicating the value of what you offer and the advantages. You need to be that advantage.

So one of the things we know is that relationships are fundamentally important to selling. But the nature of what that relationship constitutes today is very different from what it was 15 or 20 years ago. Because traditionally, when we’ve thought about relationships, one of the things we’ve thought about is relationships in terms of almost a friendly kind of relationship, a collegial way—things like comfort and trustworthiness, and even being personable, likeable, maybe even charismatic. It’s hard to determine that those things don’t make a difference. We know they’re important.

Today, they’re no longer enough. They may be necessary for the sales process, but they aren’t sufficient to get you the value difference that it’s going to take for you to transform your selling efforts. Remember, if you’re transforming your selling efforts, we’re not talking about just incremental changes. We’re talking about fundamental changes in the way that you sell.

Those relationships are vitally important, but the way we define relationships today is about the value that you create in the context of that relationship. It has to be a valuable experience for your customers, for your clients. They have to gain the value in that relationship. And that value comes from your expertise, your insight, the way you share your perspectives with clients that help them to see things differently. So all of that is about you, not your products, not your services, not the brands, but rather you. You are the ones who make the difference in the decision to do business with you.

So, I was talking about relationships. Years ago, I was interviewing for my first sales job. I was sitting across the desk from the vice president of sales. I’d been through a few rounds of the interview process and had completed the last stage of the process, which was an assessment. So I was thinking things were going pretty well. I was expecting that this would be my chance to get an offer. And that’s when the vice president of sales looked at me and said, “You know, Scott, everything in our sales assessment says that you are not going to be successful in sales.” All right. That hurt. But he went on to say, “Our assessment data essentially say that you are going to be too focused on the client relationship. And that you’ll spend too much time being concerned with the clients’ issues and the client relationship to press for the close. I just can’t hire you.”

That was tough, and I felt awful. He said that I had “high closing reluctance” or something like that. It sounded like a disease or an illness of some kind: high closing reluctance. I was devastated at the time. But I got over it. And what I know now is that his data were absolutely right. It was the conclusion that he drew from that data that was misguided and wrong. See, I was very much interested in doing work with clients, working closely with them to solve problems and address issues and help them to meet their goals, much the way you work with your clients. I wanted those things.

But it was completely unappealing to me, this idea of being somewhat aggressive in the sales process and pressing for the close. Now, in their mind, that meant I’d be a lousy closer. Well, four years later, almost exactly four years from that interview, I was finishing up my year as the No. 2 salesperson worldwide in a division of a Fortune 500 company. After that, I went on to be a senior vice president of sales and an executive vice president of sales, each time leading companies to record levels of revenue and profit. And the difference, the reason that we were able to achieve those objectives, was because we focused on creating relationships that were based on value. By sharing expertise and sharing insight, and not worrying about what we were selling, the products or services, in a world of competing alternatives, the thing that makes the difference is the quality of the client relationship and how we use that relationship to create value for our clients. And that’s what we’re going to be talking about here today.

One of my mentors is a gentleman named Neil Rackham. Neil is the author of a best-selling book on sales called SPIN Selling and a handful of others. One of the things that Neil used to ask us is this question: Would customers pay for your sales call? Pretty lofty goal, right? Not the product. Not the service. Not the things that you offer or the capabilities you have or the things that you do. But you, the value you create on the sales call. That would mean that there have to be things you do in the sales process—the way you sell, the consultative approach, the sales experience that you design and deliver for customers. There would have to be value in that. Again, would they pay for the sales call?

Now, in my career, I have had the chance to observe thousands of sales interactions, well over 1,000 sales calls, where I had the chance to talk with the buyers after those calls. And one of the things I’ve also had the chance to do is to review the data on tens of thousands of other selling interactions. And in all of that work, in all those customer interviews, in all of those observations of sales calls, not once did I ever hear from a client, “You know the way the seller recited the features and the benefits of their products, it was like poetry.” Never once did I hear that. Now, I laughed; I cried; it was better than Hamilton, but I never heard anything like that.

There were things, however, that customers were willing to pay for that did represent great value. And again, when we’re talking about value here, I’m talking about value in the sales process. That’s you and the experience that you create, and how that experience translates into value for your customers. So think about that question: Would customers pay for your sales calls?

I want you to write down your answers to this question: What do you do on sales calls? What do you do that is so valuable that customers would pay for the sales call? Again, it’s not about your products. Take a moment and write your answers to that question.

All right. So I’d love to hear from some of you. And I know your peers would like to get a sense of how you’re answering this question. So at the microphones that are set up here, I’d like for you to give us some feedback on some of the answers that you came up with, answers to this question, the things you do on sales calls that are so valuable that customers would be willing to pay for. I’d love to get a few volunteers to share their perspective.

Audience: Good afternoon, I’m from Taiwan. When I’m in front of my customers, I would like to tell them that I have an idea that is as precious as a diamond. That is the love, the unlimited love, that you can pass on to your family.

Audience: I can speak a little English. First, I think she should like me. It’s very important. Then I can give my customer what she needs. First, she likes me. Next, I can give her what she needs to a point. That’s my answer.

Audience: Hi, I’m from Shanghai. I think the best way is that instead of talking about the benefits or the products we have, talk about the power of planning. Particularly, you have to help the customer to see the future. But you have to bring that future into the present. For instance, if you tell a man that smoking is bad for his health, he’s not going to listen to you to stop or to quit. But if you tell him what’s going to happen in 10 years if he keeps smoking like that, and then bring that picture into the present, he’s going to listen to you because you helped him to see the future. So I think this is very valuable.

Edinger: There were some great insights in that last one. It was about helping them to see the future. So every time you help clients look beyond the horizon and help them to see things that they maybe hadn’t considered, that’s huge value. The smoking example is powerful because it’s about helping people understand the implications of it. When you can help people understand the impact and see beyond the horizon, that’s valuable.

Audience: I come from Beijing, China. The key to relationships is I am a teacher. Customers are the students. He was saying that you treat customers like students so that they will respect you and listen to you.

Audience: Hello, everybody. I come from China. My answer is, what you give is what the customer needs, and what he needs now. He can’t solve the problems that you can solve. That’s my answer.

Edinger: So it’s that idea of being able to help them to solve a problem, where it’s not about your services or your product that you’re offering, it’s about their needs and their issues and how you can help them solve those. That’s definitely a way that we know is valuable. Many of us have been taught that.

This idea of creating enough value in the sales process that your customers are willing to pay for is powerful. Because again, it recognizes that today in financial services and insurance, it’s pretty easy to copy products from one company to another. Even if you do have something new and special, it’s not new for long until somebody else can do the same thing. So the only sustainable advantage you have is you. That’s the value you provide on sales calls.

A few years ago, I wrote an article for Harvard Business Review aptly titled “Would Customers Pay for Your Sales Calls?” In that article, I highlighted five strategies for how you can go about creating value for customers that has nothing to do with what you’re selling but has everything to do with how you sell and the process and the experience that you create. Let’s dig into those now. I’m going to share each of them with you with some illustrations from different industries that will help you understand in greater depth and richness just how powerful a strategy this can be for winning business. Because when you think about the impact that you have and what you’re able to influence, it makes all the difference and tips the scales in your favor.

So, the last person who answered said something really interesting. And we’ve all focused at some time or another, whether you’ve had formal training in this or not, on helping customers to solve problems. Helping them to solve problems or address issues is unquestionably valuable. But you get to massive value, really exceptional value, when you can help clients to see issues they hadn’t considered. It’s one thing to help clients to see something that they are working on, help them with a problem that they’re aware of. That definitely has value, but the impact in the ability that you have to surface issues that they hadn’t considered is tremendous.

You’ve all heard the phrase “the tip of the iceberg.” That phrase reflects, in a figurative sense, that what you’re seeing is only a hint or a suggestion of a much larger or more complicated issue. And that is why we often recognize that so much of an iceberg’s mass is beneath the surface. We all realize that sometimes what you’re not seeing is as important as what you are seeing.

Let’s take this example of a chemical company, a $30 billion chemical company that completely missed a couple of really important risk factors for its business. I learned about this chemical company while working with a transportation company. It’s a provider of shipping and logistics. And when companies need to ship truckloads full of product, that’s what they do.

They have a service called “dedicated contract carriage,” and dedicated contract carriage is kind of like having a lease. You get a dedicated fleet of trucks and drivers except without all of the headaches of trying to manage operations and maintenance and staffing. It’s a really great service. You get your own trucks that have your logo and your name on them, uniformed drivers, great service, not a low-cost option.

So there’s a salesperson for the transportation and logistics company. Her name is Anne. And Anne is calling on the vice president of operations at that $30 billion chemical company that I just mentioned. So Anne is with the transportation company and the VP of operations is her customer. And it’s a good opportunity for her because that chemical company ships 9 billion pounds of petrochemicals a year, so it’s a great opportunity for her that’s right in front of her.

But when the idea of dedicated contract carriage comes up, the customer is mostly indifferent. He had always hired and managed different trucking services, and it had always worked just fine, so he saw no need to change. But throughout the sales cycle, Anne learned a lot about the company, including that the chemical company was gearing up for massive growth. It had big plans for growth. She also realized that it hadn’t thought a lot about some of the more complex issues related to transportation. Why would it really? Because after all, the chemical company is focused on what it does well, and it never had any problems hiring other shipping services.

But because of her expertise and her knowledge about the industry, Anne was able to surface a couple of really important things during the sales process. First, there’s going to be a shortage of truckers to drive for logistics companies. Forty percent of the logistics-driver population is going to retire in the next three to five years. That’s going to leave a void. Additionally, factor No. 2 is that the demand for shipping services is going up. There is a sharp increase in construction, particularly in the southeastern section of the United States where a lot of the deliveries are.

Those two factors create one big problem. The chemical company might be gearing up for all this growth and preparing but not be able to get its product out the door to customers. That’s a major issue. But because of her experience and the value she was able to create in the sales process, Anne was able to help her client to see an issue he hadn’t considered. She helped him to see that lurking issue way beneath the surface of the iceberg. And as a result, all of a sudden, recognizing the problems that the shipping industry would have, it made a lot of sense to have a dedicated fleet of drivers and logistic services and to be able to lock that in now. As a result, Anne was able to sign a five-year contract worth millions of dollars with the chemical company for dedicated contract carriage. And that is part of the power of being able to help clients see issues that they had not considered.

When you can help clients to understand a problem that they were not aware of, where they say, “That is huge. I better address that,” and if you think about your industry when you’re working with clients and financial services and insurance, there are all kinds of risk factors that they may not be aware of. You can help to surface them in the sales process where they feel like that was valuable. And regardless of the solution you have for them, your ability to address that creates the value.

So that’s part of value driving for option No. 1, which is how do you create value by helping clients to see issues that they hadn’t considered?

While that is valuable, helping them with issues that they hadn’t considered, it’s also valuable to help them to see solutions that they had not anticipated. Did you ever know that moment where you’re like I didn’t know we could do that? I didn’t know that that was possible. When you have those moments, that’s when you know you’ve stumbled on option No. 2, which is helping clients address problems with solutions that they hadn’t considered, helping them to see issues that they were not aware of and helping them to see “Here’s how I can solve this. I never would have thought about that on my own.”

Here’s a personal example. I live in Florida where it is incredibly hot. You think Los Angeles is hot; Florida is boiling. And I live in an old home. It’s about 100 years old. A few years ago, I had to get a new air-conditioning system. It’s a strategic purchase in Florida, very important. So I spent a lot of time thinking about it. I looked around. I asked friends. I got a number of bids. And it was further complicated because that 100-year-old house was built before we really did buildings with insulation, didn’t even know what it was 100 years ago. So there was no insulation in the building. Part of what I realized is that I’ve got a house where it’s 10 degrees hotter inside the house than it is outside. And then in the winter, it’s 10 to 15 degrees cooler in the house than it is outside. So I still haven’t figured out how that works, but that’s the problem with insulation.

It’s a one-and-a-half-story plan with a big upstairs, so heating and cooling is a real challenge for me. It creates some major issues. I met with a few air-conditioning specialists, and the first two were very similar. All of them were referred by friends, as an aside, so they all came with good reputations, much like you do when you go to meet with new opportunities. So they all came with plenty of qualifications, and the first two were very similar. They came in, and they took their measurements. They measured the square footage. They looked around. They took a look at the floor plan, and each of them came up with the same thing. It’s what I thought I needed, a bigger air-conditioning solution. But that wasn’t the solution I really needed.

And the third air-conditioning salesperson helped me to see exactly what that was. The third person had a totally different approach. He came in and measured all the windows in the house—all of the windows. And he calculated something called the “heat load” off of each of those windows in different spots of the house. He also evaluated the airflow throughout the house. He took a look at how the air was flowing through the house, and he tested all of the ducting. It was a very different approach. Then he went and did some calculations, and he came back with a solution that was three times the amount. Three times the amount. And that’s whom I went with.

Now, why on Earth would I choose to spend three times the amount of money that I had to for an air-conditioning system? Well, it was pretty simple actually. He didn’t propose a bigger system. He actually proposed two smaller systems, and with those two smaller systems, he was going to reroute the airflow throughout the house differently. And in doing that, he was going to change the ducting. So that was the expense, but he had a solution that clearly was going to work. He was also able to help me understand why the other solutions would not. In fact, just getting a bigger and better system would push more air through the house, but parts of the house would be freezing, and other parts would be warm. So that wouldn’t solve my issue either. His ability to do that and help me to see a solution that I had never considered was powerful, and I was willing to pay him a premium for it.

Now here’s what’s interesting. In addition to the heat load and the airflow and all of that stuff, the losers—well, they’re not losers really, the people who lost the air-conditioning business—were all very friendly. They all had great follow-up. They all had great knowledge of products about air-conditioning systems and knew precisely what to do. And they all had lower prices. But because of the expertise of the air-conditioning salesperson, the third person, because of his expertise, he knew what it took to get a house cool. So he knew what it would take to get a cool home, and, as a result, I went with his solution.

And that’s the power of helping your clients to recognize solutions that they hadn’t thought about, those moments when they’re like, “Man, that’s great. I didn’t realize I could do that.” That’s hugely powerful, and that’s value. You can do that. You do that in each of your interactions. You have access to financial instruments and options that your clients would never think of. But because of your expertise and because you know how to help them, you know how to use those instruments for their benefit.

That air-conditioning salesperson No. 3—air conditioning and all the peripherals were just tools for him. His focus was on how it was going to help me and address the needs for my house. And that was value I was willing to pay a premium for. It was three times the value, and it felt like a no-brainer decision, because we have all spent too much money on something that didn’t work. So having a solution that we hadn’t considered is hugely valuable. And that is the way you create value in option No. 2.

There’s a third way I’ll introduce to create value. That third way is to help people see the implications of things that they hadn’t realized. So, the third option here is to help clients examine issues they thought were benign but really weren’t. Now, all of us have issues that we miss. We’re humans, right? So there are always factors and implications of our decisions or the impact of our nondecisions, right? You see that a lot with your clients. Their nondecisions and their desire to maintain the status quo have an impact too. And helping them to see that can be really valuable.

Here’s an example that I think you’ll find interesting from the auto industry. In an automotive manufacturing plant, they use these clips. [visual] They’re called V-clips or alligator clips, and they’re used in the auto plant on an electrostatic paint line. They’re used to hang the auto parts, usually bumpers or tailgates, as they go through the electrostatic paint line in the auto manufacturing facility.

Now, there is a salesperson for an industrial supply company. His name is Calvin, and Calvin sells a lot of things. Calvin sells a ton of things, tons of industrial supplies. One of the things Calvin sells is those V-clips. And his customer is the director of purchasing at that automotive facility. But Calvin does not show up simply to be a purveyor of clips; he’s much more than that. Calvin is actually the person who helped that company and that director of purchasing realize a savings of $1.25 million per hour. $1.25 million per hour. Now, how did he do that? I mean, it’s clips, a commodity.

Here’s the thing with the clips: They break. And when the clips break, it creates line stoppages and production delays. And in an auto manufacturing plant, when the line goes down, we are losing $1.25 million per hour. Now, in most manufacturing environments, there is a lot of downward pressure on costs, to keep costs down, to keep expenses down, particularly in this area of non-product-related items, things that don’t even make it to the customer. So the lowest price usually wins with these things like the clips.

But in the sales process, in the sales cycles, and in his interactions with the director of purchasing, Calvin was able to calculate and factor in the cost of production stoppages, delays on the manufacturing line, even factoring in things such as overtime for the staff related to delays caused by the clips. And after factoring in all of these costs and recognizing the $1.25 million an hour impact of it all, the client was able to buy much higher-quality, with longer lifespan, clips. And pay a lot more for them.

The reason they were able to do that is because Calvin helped them recognize the cost of failure, the cost of something going wrong. It’s a classic example of cost versus price. You see it all the time in your industry. There are different fee structures and different values and benefits to those things. And your ability to help clients see the implications, the issues that are related to the blind spots they have, has huge value. In this case, it helped Calvin sell something that was a complete commodity, seen as no different from the competition, and it was able to help him receive almost twice the price for the same-looking commodity. Even though it had greater value, he was able to create the value, and he did it in the sales process.

Here’s a fourth way you can create value. [visual] Let’s take a read of that. Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever felt that way? It happens to me all the time. And that’s because you can look at a client situation and see solutions and opportunities for them that they simply aren’t seeing. And that’s the fourth way we look to create value, to help clients see opportunities they missed. Now, if that is not a missed opportunity, I don’t know what is. So helping clients to see opportunities they missed has huge value.

Most of us who’ve been through any kind of sales training whatsoever recognize the power of helping clients to find problems, even unrecognized problems as I mentioned earlier. And this is another way of looking at it: I kind of think of this as two sides of the same coin. One side is the problems that they haven’t recognized, and the other side is the opportunities. And in most sales training, we’re taught to really focus on the problems, the problems clients don’t see and the issues they have. But it’s just as powerful, maybe even more powerful, to help them see things that will help them to raise the bar and improve their condition. And that has great value.

Now, I know from working with my financial professionals and insurance professionals that they’re frequently helping me to see an opportunity that I had missed. Whether it’s an opportunity to increase coverage on something that would be valuable to me or an opportunity to use an investment vehicle that I wasn’t aware of, these are opportunities that you can help your clients find in their circumstances. And that is just as powerful, maybe even more powerful, than helping them see unrecognized problems and unrecognized issues.

And then here’s the last way I’ll share with you. The fifth way to create value, the fifth strategy here, is to help clients connect with additional support resources. Across your firms, you have expertise. Sometimes it’s not with you, but maybe it’s a portfolio manager, or maybe there’s a subject matter expert. I work with a money management firm in Greenwich, Connecticut, and one of the things that helps them to win that is valuable for their clients is that when they take their portfolio managers on the road to talk with clients about their investment strategies, that knowledge and that insight and that subject matter expertise tips the scales in their favor. So think about what you offer. What’s your subject matter expertise inside your firm? In every business, there are always opportunities we lost that we should not have. Or there are clients who are no longer with us, and we lost them for a reason that we were unaware of. In almost every case, what we hear is the refrain “If only we had applied the right resources. If only so and so had been involved. If only we had done this.” So think about what those options are inside your business. This is another way that you can create value, value that customers would be willing to pay for in the form of premium value in your sales calls, the value you create.

So now, I’ve given you these five strategies from that article. I want you to do that exercise again. I want you to take out a piece of paper and ask this question: Would customers pay for your sales calls? And write down the things that you would value, the things that your customers would value so much that they’d be willing to pay for them. Think of the ways I just described here.

  1. Unrecognized problems
  2. Solutions that clients hadn’t considered
  3. The impact or the effect of things that they were aware of but didn’t think were a big deal
  4. Your chance to help them see opportunities
  5. Being a broker of resources, an orchestrator of your capabilities

So think about that. I want everybody to write down at least three ways that you create value in the sales process. And for those of you who want to overachieve, go for five. So three ways. Those things you do that are so valuable that customers would pay for the sales call.

OK, imagine if you did that before, as part of your planning for every interaction you had with clients. And part of our goal today is for you to walk out of here ready to create value for clients. That has nothing to do with what you’re selling and everything to do with how you sell. That is how you’re going to transform your sales.

Now, before we finish up here, I’ve got some questions. I always like to give things away. I think it’s nice. It always makes me popular with a big audience. So I’ve got free resources for you. If you go to the website, edingerconsulting.com, there are free videos. There are over 20 of them, many on topics just like this. How do you create value in sales calls? You can access them for free. There’s a podcast series, all with content just like this. You can access it at no charge. I never charge for these things. I have over 100 articles, things I’ve written for Harvard Business Review and Forbes. Again, you can access it at no fee. And finally, there’s my Monthly Insights newsletter. I know, just what you want, another newsletter. But this one is all about how you create value for clients, how you create value that clients will be willing to pay for. There’s new content every couple of weeks. I’ve also got a new report on leading revenue growth.

Questions and Answers

Question: I’m from Taiwan. I’m very impressed with the five ways that you just showed us and how to improve ourselves to add advantages about ourselves. I just want to make sure that my understanding is correct. Are you just telling us to transform ourselves from a salesperson into a planner and then also upgrade ourselves further into a consultant to this client? And then we can also not just help this client but also use his circle of influence to help everyone in his family or his friends. Does that kind of translate to what you just taught us?

Answer: Yes. So the question is about how do you make that transition from planner to consultant. It’s all about how you plan, frankly, how you plan to create value. So you need to take inventory of what your expertise and your perspectives are and how they help clients. Because if you start to think about those five approaches to creating value each time you’re going to meet with a client—if you want to figure out how you are going to transform this relationship and this sales relationship so that you are the differentiator, so that you make the difference—then planning for every interaction in at least one of those ways, how are you going to create value in this sales interaction? And if you do that every time, slowly but surely it will start to change the texture of your client’s relationships, and you’ll make a huge difference.

Question: I’m from Beijing. I have a question regarding point No. 5 you talked about, which is to connect the clients with additional support resources. I want to know if there is any scope. Is there a defined scope because we cannot do anything by ourselves, or everything? So what is the scope of the additional resources that you can connect them with?

Answer: Good question about what is the scope of the additional resources on that point No. 5. How do you connect clients with additional resources? It really is about the scope of your expertise. In your firm, maybe you have specific expertise in an area of retirement planning that maybe your client hadn’t thought of. I have one client in the insurance business, and he has specialists who specialize in marine insurance. For clients who own boats, that’s a very specialized kind of insurance that they bring in experts on. So, whatever your specialties are, help your clients to access those support resources. Then, if you need to go beyond the scope, and there’s something your client needs, you can make a referral to somebody else. Many of you are in a position to make referrals to bankers, to attorneys, to any number of professionals. You get the credit for helping if you refer them to somebody good. So connect them with as many support resources as you can. It’s especially good if you don’t have to do any extra work for it, and you still end up helping your client.

Question: I’m from Prudential China Shanghai. My question is, you mentioned about point three and point four. Point three was to help clients to think. And point four is opportunity. What if there is no kind of solution or opportunity for the third point? What would you do?

Answer: Your question is on the third point, which is helping clients to see the impact or the implication of things that they thought were small but that you know are huge. But you’re talking about what if there’s no resolution. Are you asking what if they don’t see it?

Question: What if there is no solution or you haven’t got the capability to solve the problem? What do you do?

Answer: I’d go further back. It’s a good question. Like what if you uncover something and you can’t do anything about it. Tough, right? So, the answer to that is, early on you should be focusing your conversations on your areas of specialty and your expertise, things that you can help the client with. If you find things that are outside your range of expertise, option No. 5 was to help connect him with support resources. But really what you ought to be trying to do is to focus your conversations with the client on areas of your specialization. That way you do have a solution for him.

Edinger

Scott Edinger is an expert on leadership for revenue growth and has been hired by companies like AT&T, Lenovo and the Los Angeles Times to work with their senior leaders on the topic. His book “The Hidden Leader: Discover and Develop Greatness Within Your Company” is a Washington Post bestseller and was selected as one of the best business books of 2015. Edinger is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review and Forbes.

 

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