In a recent coaching session, I suggested that Sammy, a financial advisor client with over thirty years of experience, do a little homework before our next session. She had been concerned about prospects not seeing the value in getting an opinion from her on their portfolios and she wanted to know how to convince them that they should. We had just mapped out a process that I refer to as Reversing the Dialogue which works back from what conclusion you ultimately would like your prospect to come to and the questions path that would most be effective in getting them to realize that conclusion; in Sammy’s situation that getting an opinion from her was in their best interest.
“I will work on it and let you know how it goes.” she excitedly said. “Actually, why don’t you type it out and email it to me then in our next session we can role play with it” I replied.
One of two things typically happen when I mention role play to a client, either they look forward to practicing and can’t wait to start or they have anxiety and can’t wait to explain why they don’t want to do it.
“I hate role play” she admitted. “I’d rather just go out and practice this on prospects and tell you how it went.” I curiously inquired, “Why?” “Well, it’s because I don’t want to sound foolish in front of you.” she cautiously replied. “Ah-ha, you need to understand the flipside of foolish then.” I responded with a laugh.
There was a significant pause on her end before I continued on to explain. Feeling foolish is like looking at only one side of the proverbial coin. There is the negative side which she had already shared about, feeling embarrassed or inadequate, however on the flipside there are multiple positive reasons why role playing was a smart best practice.
“When it comes to role play, the flipside of feeling foolish is the fact that you WILL learn from practicing with me. You WILL get better at asking questions, moving people down the pipeline and accomplishing your goals. Aren’t all of those outcomes worth a few minutes of feeling foolish?” I asked confidently. “When you state it that way, I’d much rather feel foolish and learn how to do it right BEFORE meeting with clients/prospects” she said sheepishly.
In our next session I reassured her that there were no incorrect questions and that role play was merely a method that she would learn from. After two or three role play conversations she became more comfortable and relaxed with the technique of applying (and adjusting) the questions she had mapped out. “Nice job! You took me down a path of questions to help me understand why I should get an opinion from you. I absolutely felt connected and engaged while you were doing it! I could feel her smile over the phone as she replied, “I didn’t feel foolish doing the role play with you at all. I’d like to do it more often!”
Often in order to grow our business, we have to be open to leaving our comfort zone to strengthen our weaknesses. Being willing to stretch beyond what you already know and feel comfortable with allows for you to find what your “flipside of foolish” might be.