Knowledge Core

Brain Box

Technology is terrible for relationships… Just as Simon Sinek says

How do clients determine whether the relationship with their advisor is valuable to them? It’s by the level of usefulness they believe they presently gain, and will gain, from the interaction. This is commonly called a satisfaction rating. Individuals arrive at these ratings subjectively. Quantifying the relevant drivers of satisfaction is a challenge for firms. Remember, what we can’t measure we can’t manage.

So how do we begin to draw out and quantify these subjective drivers? I’m going to be contentious here. in my experience 50% of the relationship value is dependent upon the eventual level of ‘utility’ the advice provides my client whilst the other 50% is based on relationship drivers that are important to the client. The relationship drivers indicate the level of trust the client has in the performance of the advisor.

Simon Sinek’s video “The Human in Humanity” speaks to the 50% based on the relationship drivers, he focuses on trust. He strongly suggests that trust diminishes within organisations, and with clients and customers when the organisation and/or the advisor stops focussing on human interactions and puts more focus on profits and the bottom line.

Although, as Simon says, technology is wonderful for building connections and transactions, it is terrible for human connection. And with that, building trust. I’m often reminded that clients remain clients because of the trust they have built with your firm through the interactions you have with them – not from seeing the usefulness and relevance of what and how you provide the service to them.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this…

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Are you really willing to lose customers to your competitors?

For thousands of years a fundamental part of our human hunter-gatherer psyche was stalking prey. And even today in our civilised, industrialised and urbanised society, it remains a fundamental part of our genetic DNA.

We see it at the highest government levels and also on the playing field where, despite the rhetoric, the hunt engenders a surge of emotion akin to those our ancestors must have felt (though they were playing for real).

As soon as you step into hunter mode, your customer feels like your prey

For many, selling triggers chemical surges similar to those of the hunt. We know that, because brain research links the instinctual aspect of stalking prey with far more cognitive cerebral (intellectual) activities which impact and reinforce our pitch or ‘selling style’.

In short we are:

  • fixated on what we’re going to say next to the customer/ client or prospect;
  • distracted with fantasising about targets we’ll reach from ‘closing’ the sale; and
  • sending strong messages about us that, in the end, our competitors will benefit from.

The issue is that in today’s world this particular style of selling loses more than it wins.

You see, when we focus on what we are going to get from a particular person, we become the hunter and they become the prey.

I don’t know about you, but if ever I feel like prey you can see the dust flying as I rush out of the room, whether physically or mentally. Call it the natural law of the universe, human perversity, or the perception that I’m under siege – either way that salesperson isn’t going to get a thing from me!

I wonder if you might be similar?

“Thanks so much, we’ll call you…”

Interestingly, the flip side of being the hunter is that for those customers who have become prey – the same aspect of the brain is triggered as if the person was genuinely being hunted. Quantum physicist Henry Stapp’s brain research found that when we try to convince someone to do something which argues with their own values, beliefs or opinions, the brain triggers warning signals that shuts the brain down. Which, in a sales environment, translates to “Thanks so much. We’ll call you.”

Brain research is a multi-faceted discipline but in this context let me just ask … how you would feel, knowing that the person sitting opposite you is only there because they are specifically out to get your business and your money?

I wonder how generous and magnanimous you would feel, knowing that you were there specifically to listen to someone trying to sell you their services and get you to part with your money?

And consider this: with the availability of technology the need for customers and prospects to sit and listen to a salesperson’s litany of product or service features is largely redundant. Because by the time each of them meet, the customer or prospect has probably done their homework.

Fact: online consumer research prior to purchase has now risen to between 80-97%.

The balance of power has changed to the buyer

They’ve done their research on your company, your products, and your competitors and if they are speaking to you, it’s often to assess whether your products or services are going to deliver them the specific level of satisfaction they are looking for.

Therefore a large part of their assessment is going to be based on your ability (or that of your sales staff) to uncover these specifics and clearly demonstrate the usefulness of your product or service to them.

The determining factor as to whether they buy from you will be based on your ability to uncover your prospect’s unspoken word and meet their personal paradigm of value.

Only those that are able to stand in that prospect’s shoes and understand his or her personal paradigm of value, get the sale, the deal or win the work.

The Takeout…

  • When you are in ‘hunter’ mode, it’s completely counterintuitive to what your 21st century customers are looking for.
  • If you are focused on your outcomes rather than those of your customers, the battle lines are drawn – and the enemy is within.
  • The proposition that customers are unknowledgeable and will bow to the force of the hunter technique is outdated.
  • Your customers are savvy. They have moved on. And they are looking to partner with salespeople they can trust and relate to well before they will invest.
  • You will succeed when you have a level of empathy that delivers the ability to understand your customer’s, prospect’s or client’s view of the world.

Has this sparked some thoughts? We’d love to hear them.

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The secrets to writing winning client testimonials

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How do I get the best out of my testimonials?

78% of consumers will trust peer reviews but only 14% will trust a company’s marketing or advertising materials. What a consumer is buying is a promise. We are promising to solve their problems in a better way than they can solve themselves. Ultimately, because they’re buying a promise, they’re looking for proof. Proof that we will deliver the outcomes they need from our delivery of the service. Sadly because service is intangible, client can’t feel, touch or see it.

As a result, the client is looking for other cues so they can put value on the service offered. Testimonials are a fabulous way for us to differentiate ourselves. They attest to the value our clients see in us. They show what they have received from us. There are, however, two challenges in obtaining useful testimonials. The first challenge centres around how to ask a client to give a testimonial. The second challenge is how to ensure the testimonial differentiates your service form others. “She was great”, “He was fantastic” or “I’d use them again”, does not adequately cover your point of difference. It is not persuasive. To have pulling power, testimonials need to clearly articulate “What you said and did that led your clients to believe that you were fantastic?” What led your clients to believe that “You were great”?

I have found the secret to getting good testimonials – a testimonial that clearly articulates what makes you different. Just follow these 3 steps!

Step 1. Don’t ask your clients to write a testimonial. Instead, book a telephone appointment with them and then ask or talk about:

1) What are the benefits they’ve received by using you (get at least 3 or tree or 4 examples)

2) What were your skills that they thought were valuable? What outcome did they achieve?

3) If they were to refer you to a friend, what would they say about you?

These answers are vital for a client’s testimonial as they provide layered information. Although the information looks similar there are subtle, important differences.

Step 2. Using your client’s words and not yours, take that information and draft a testimonial.

Step 3. Ring them and explain how you used their comments to draft a testimonial and ask them if they would be happy to endorse it for you. Forward the draft copy to them for approval. This is your client’s testimonial. It will be a business winning client testimonial. It is guaranteed to differentiate you from your competitors.

We have an intangible service so testimonials are invaluable in providing certainty to potential clients. Peer reviews are a proven source of trusting referrals. I would love to hear more about YOUR testimonial gathering experience, or any feedback you have relating to these tips.

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Our marketing and business development strategies are based firmly on research.


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We are far more than a Sydney market research agency. We are a partner in building your business. Market research, and its findings, only becomes relevant when it’s firmly linked to your business strategies and it uncovers how you can increase revenue by:

  • focusing on ways to deepen client relationships
  • identifying new business opportunities
  • highlighting new market opportunities or gaps in the sales process and relationship dynamics.

With over 26 years in business development and marketing, our methodologies are founded on the premise of bridging the divide between marketing and sales. We are constantly looking at how you can make more money and have more profitable relationships.
When we are researching, both qualitative and quantitative research techniques are implemented.
Our qualitative research process draws out the underlying subjective drivers that underpin decision-making, using a number of methods:

  • Observing participants
  • Interrogating field notes
  • Conducting, structured and semi- structured in-depth interviews with individuals
  • Holding focus groups, and
  • Analysing third party academic and industry research and commentary.

Our quantitative research process looks at the causal effects of variables, analysing the relationships between the different variables. This helps us determine which has the greatest impact and which will uncover the most relevant answers.
Our Client Research:

  • Gauges the pulse of the relationships
  • Looks at how and why clients leave interviews
  • Investigates proposals and tenders that have not gained business

We do this by ensuring that all communication bypasses subconscious pre-conceived perceptions and judgements that unwittingly undermine the success of:

  • your proposal,
  • your solution and

Our role is to ensure that the research outcomes we find optimise your firms ability to win more profitable work. It is for this reason that we stand by our Guarantee!

Our Guarantee
We guarantee not to deliver a formulaic approach. We will continually review and refine our approach to ensure our findings and recommendations are both relevant and current.

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