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Connecting with clients

June 30, 2015

by Jess Blanch

 

Do you think that communication and conversation are hand in hand when meeting clients? Don’t be fooled, according to a renowned US communication expert.

Nicholas Boothman, who was named one of the leading experts in face-to-face communication in the world by the The New York Times, reveals how to win over potential and established clients.

An expert at turning first impressions into profitable relationships, Boothman was clear in his message to members at an MFAA conference a few years ago. “Communication should not be confused with conversation,” he says. “Conversation is about exchanging views and ideas and building relationships. Communication, however, is goal-orientated and the meaning of communication is the response you get. We communicate in words and the best way to communicate with others is to put your language in the positive.”

Boothman has taught his revolutionary technique of ‘rapport by design’ to more than 700 businesses and 2000,000 individuals around the world. He shows them how to connect, build trusting relationships, and communicate face-to-face with their colleagues, employees and partners in the most natural way.

“All businesses, no matter what you do, is about connecting with other people and about taking your ideas to market,” explains Boothman. “You can’t escape the fact that we are each other’s greatest resource.”

A former fashion and advertising photographer, Boothman admits that his former career helped him learn the secrets of getting along with people but believes that much of it came naturally. After studying in fields such as neuro-linguistic programming, he embarked on a career that would aim to help others that were not so lucky or those who needed to hone their skills.

“We live in a world where millions of introverts are forced to masquerade as extroverts just to make a living. However, many people find this painful and unnatural,” Boothman says. “I tell those people that we were all born with phenomenal people skills.

“Babies have great people skills. It’s just that some people growing up have their natural people skills, which are based on three ‘super powers’ which are enthusiasm, curiosity, empathy.” He says that if mortgage industry members work on these powers, they’ll always know how to connect with clients perfectly.

In addition to the ‘super powers’, persuasion plays a big part, explains Boothman. “Your clients need to look at you and think, ‘I trust you, you make sense and you move me’. That appeals to all aspects of the human psyche and my books talk about how to do that.”

His three books, How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less, How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less and How to Make Someone Love You Forever in 90 Minutes or Less, have been translated into more than 20 languages. So, it poses the question: why 90 seconds?

“We rush about with so many deadlines that we don’t have the time, or take the time, to invest in getting to know each other well,” explains Boothman is his debut book. “We look for associations, make appraisals and assumptions, and form decisions all within a few seconds.

“The second reason for establishing likeability in 90 seconds or less has to do with the human attention span. Believe it or not, the attentions span for the average person is about 30 seconds!”

In the mortgage industry, the rewards of a good first impression are vital. To maximise a client’s first impressions, you should:

  • Identify the different ways clients communicate
  • Network strategically
  • Know that their message is getting through

Another useful communication skill is to stop talking and start asking. “Questions are the spark plugs of conversation,” Boothman says in How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less. To make the conversations flow, you should be aware of the two types of questions: those that open people up and those that close them down. That means that a question needs to open a topic, rather than just responding to the question with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. Boothman explains the simple formula for striking up a conversation is: “Begin with a statement about the location or occasion, then ask an open question.”

There’s another skill that helps you get a connection with clients – enthusiasm. “Nothing is ever achieved without enthusiasm,” he says.

Synchronising voice

You can get close and personal with a client by analysing the person’s voice. Consider the person’s…

  • Tone: Notice the emotions conveyed by the tone of voice, then use the same tone.
  • Volume: Does the client speak in a quiet voice or a loud voice? It’s important to speak in the same tones.
  • Speed: Talking at the same speed as the client makes as much sense as walking at the same speed.
  • Pitch: Voice pitch is one way to change someone’s energy level. When you raise pitch and volume, you become more excited. When you lower them, you become calmer.
  • Ryhthm: Some people have a melodic way of speaking, while others have a more pragmatic, methodical output.
  • Words: Tune into the person’s common phrases.

* Extract from How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds by Nicholas Boothman.

Published on: Wednesday, March 09, 2011


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