Two Myths to Client Development: Client Control and Relationship Selling
There is no such thing as client control. If you think you can truly control other people, then you should try raising a child. Or maybe borrow one from a relative for a weekend. You'll soon find out that you can't be the boss of them. No matter how much authority you exert, they are still in complete control of their own decisions and actions.
When I first started training to the industry in 2003, I questioned the foundational premise upon which our entire industry has been built: client control and candidate control. I was the first trainer to come out and admit that it's all wrong: you can't control candidates and you can't control clients. If you think you can and are still trying, then you are wasting your time. I hate to say it, but this is the primary reason why so many recruiters are not successful in our business, and why traditional recruiter training is ineffective. If it really worked, then everyone would be a big biller by now.
I'll never forget the last vacation timeshare presentation I attended. They said it was going to last only ninety minutes, but instead ended up going on for what seemed like an entire afternoon. The self-obsessed sales rep tried to coax me into making a sizable investment in yet another week of vacation that I wouldn't have time to use. His futile efforts of trying to control me were followed by the grand entrance of the clean cut and nicely-scented sales manager, sporting shiny Ferragamos, starched shirt, dapper silk tie, and fancy French cuffs. Articulate and polished sales presentations based on the bedrock of an empty and selfish spirit may be technically correct in the precision of speech, but if there's no heart, no connection, no authenticity, and no congruence, then there will be no sale.
"Why don't I just write a check," I said to the sales manager about fifteen minutes into his review of what I had previously and repeatedly declined.
"OH! You mean for the vacation ownership package!"
"No, for your commission. Why don't I just go ahead and write out a check for the amount of your commission so I can be on my way. I just get the feeling that's all you really care about right now."
They finally gave me parole and I walked away with a vivid and memorable lesson on how not to sell. If they had found out what was important to me in a vacation, or if they had asked me to describe my ideal vacation, then that would have been a good starting point for them to showcase their value based on my needs, my desires, and my wants. They would have begun the process of showing me their value, gaining trust, and building a relationship with me. Instead, they followed a series of trite and manipulative canned and controlling sales tricks and ended up losing a customer.
Most recruiters and sales people believe that our business is built on relationships. That's only partly true. Effective selling and recruiting is based more on the transference of value more than anything.
Look at it this way. There's a hierarchy of decision-making that your prospect subconsciously processes when you try to bring them along the path from skeptical prospect to raving fan.
Instead of trying to control clients, you should try leading them. Forget about Client Control. Focus instead on Client Leadership. Leadership is about serving those around you; it's about taking people on a journey that ultimately leads to something that gives them a benefit. It's about leading them through a series of decisions that ultimately make them better for having known you and deciding to work with you. And when you focus on this, you'll never have to worry about having to control anyone again.
- Scott Love
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Copyright © 2010 Scott Love