Reputation death, Pt. 2: Is your personality killing your business?
By Steven McCarty
The National Ethics Association
One quick way to kill your reputation is to be a shameless narcissist. No, I’m not talking about the kind of person psychiatrists study, but rather someone who’s a bit too self-absorbed for his — and the client’s — own good.
We’ve all seen such people. They exude tremendous charm and “sincerity.” They have an answer for every question and a story for every occasion. They are great at maintaining eye contact and flashing sparkly smiles. Most importantly, they dominate every conversation. Next to their sunny and overpowering dispositions, everyone else recedes into shadow.
In short, the focus of their selling style is to promote their own personalities. They want prospects to love them as much as they love themselves. Unfortunately, this approach puts the advisor, rather than the client, at the center of the sales process. What impression does this make on clients? While a shameless narcissist prattles on, they are thinking:
Wow, that person seems a bit phony.
Hmm, he seems so manipulative.
Does she care about me at all?
He just wants to make a quick buck.
But here’s the rub. After meeting with a sales narcissist, prospects won’t just walk away dissatisfied, they may post their unhappiness on the Web for friends and family to see. And if their opinion goes viral, an advisor’s reputation will surely die by word of mouth.
So, how do you avoid killing your reputation through excessive self-love? Here are a few pointers that should help:
- Put the prospect, not you, at the heart of the sales process. Shine the spotlight on their desires, resources and objectives, not on your own wonderfulness.
- Don’t impose your own agenda on the client relationship. Instead, empower clients to make their own informed decisions about their finances.
- Don’t manufacture the sales personality you think people want. Let your authentic personality emerge from inside.
- Don’t be afraid to speak the truth to a client. They may not love you for it, but they will respect you.