Don’t be a conversation saboteur. That’s a sure way not to connect with clients. Do you recognize yourself as any of the seven saboteurs described below? Possibly. Do you recognize any of your clients? Probably.
In an interview with AdvisorOne, Scott West, head of consulting at Invesco Van Kampen Consulting, offers advice on how to deal with conversation-destroyer-types. He is co-author, with Financial Life Planning Institute founder Mitch Anthony, of the new book, Defining Conversations (Insights Press).
What are the most common conversation saboteurs?
A big one is The Talk Show Host — someone who grabs the microphone and won’t let go. No matter what you say, it’s all about them and what they perceive to be entertainment. It’s difficult to derail The Talk Show Host. But when they come up for air, you might say, “You know, time is really valuable and I appreciate the time you’ve given me. What would you like to get out of our session today?” You almost reboot the system, but delicately.
How about what you’ve dubbed The Graffiti Artist?
Their intention is to mar or distract from the message. They just don’t dominate the conversation, they do it with their wit. They bring in jokes. For them it’s a work of art. You need to find subtle ways to bring the conversation back on point. Make sure you’re clear as to what your intentions are in meeting with them.
The Mountain Climber?
Out of a deep insecurity, they always have a need to one-up the next person. That can be really debilitating. Yet it’s so easy for advisors to fall into that role with clients. If you encounter a Mountain Climber, give them accolades. You’ve got to give them their respect.