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Respect is the Best Form of Persuasion

Follow these seven basic respect habits.

CHARLOTTE — “It never ceases to amaze me how naïve we are when it comes to respect,” stated Carter with authority following a peer-to-peer exercise on emotionally connecting, then adding, “We’re concerned about superficial things like the title on our business card and overlook the basics.”          

Carter was on point. So here is the proverbial million dollar question:

How do we show clients, prospects, and referral alliance partners respect?

There is no one “thing” that assures you of showing another person respect. Rather it’s usually a collection of little things that ranges from showing up on time to dressing properly, to paying tribute to someone’s accomplishments. All of this seems rather simple, but it’s not always routine for people who’ve been trained to showcase their talents; i.e. bragging about yourself.

The following are 7 Basic Respect Habits that will serve to strengthen your powers of persuasion.

  1. Pay tribute – This requires you to be aware of, and then focus on, a specific accomplishment. This is much deeper than a simple compliment. Rather than “I like your office,” You are getting into more detail; commenting on the technology, comfort, asking about a specific piece of artwork. Getting into details usually leads to a conversation about something this other person is proud of, in this case their office.
  2. Be punctual – Tardiness is one of the most common ways of being disrespectful. Whether it’s a lunch date, drink after work or a business meeting -- everyone values their time. This also involves returning phone calls, emails and text messages promptly.
  3. Mind your manners – Being too casual is a classic mistake, especially when younger people attempt to connect with someone who is older with a "Hey Sandy" rather than the "Hello, Mrs. Oechsli." The casual isn’t always appreciated. Simple things like standing when someone enters the room, helping Mrs. Oechsli get seated, opening and holding the door of others, etc.  And don’t overlook and table manners.
  4. The spotlight is on them – This goes beyond paying tribute and expressing genuine interest in them. People are quick to recognize when they are the focus of attention. Questions about family, hobbies and other personal interests stimulate a conversation that highlights them.
  5. Be a proactive listener – You want to apply the 80/20 listening rule (listen 80 percent of the time), make good eye contact, nod, smile and make an occasional comment on what’s being said. When you do speak, don’t offer advice unless asked. People who excel in developing rapport with others have developed the habit of listening closely to everyone, regardless of ones’ position or status.
  6. Slow down – You never want to make someone feel as though you’re in a rush, this creates a sense of unease. Remember, they are the most important person in your orbit at the time. Don’t glance at your watch, put your phone away and make sure you set it on vibrate. 
  7. Share something personal – When you reveal something about yourself, not in a braggadocio manner, but in a self-effacing way, such as “how getting cut from the freshman basketball team left you crushed, but pushed you into your studies” signals trust. And trust is the ultimate in respect.

As I explained to Carter, what’s interesting is the counterintuitive nature of respect. The more we show respect, the more we gain respect. It’s human nature, which leads us to persuasion. When a person feels respected, they are much more likely to follow your lead—as you’ve harnessed the ultimate sales tool—the power of persuasion.   

Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent

TAGS: Prospecting
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