Power plays are the result of wanting to be in control or a desire to prove superiority over someone else. The thing to realize is that everyone is seeking control.
Power plays erupt either in outright client versus advisor clashes or, more typically, subtle but strong undertows, which can drown a meeting process.
How can you make sure that you are not engaged in a client/advisor power play? And, if you already are involved, how do you get yourself out of that situation? Let’s find out.
Power plays come in different forms. Here are my top four power plays that clients and advisors typically use with one another to try and gain an advantage.
1. Using old-school manipulative selling methods always puts your clients on the defense and ignites their power play fire. As soon as they feel you trying to push, pull or sell them something, their immediate reaction is to defend themselves.
Defending is a way of solidifying their position with you — a type of power play. So, they hide from you. And, when clients hide, they feel more in control.
So, to reduce or eliminate this power play, don’t use old-school manipulative selling using old-school techniques such as closing, hot buttons, probing, trial closes, etc.
2. Clients often have ideas and opinions counter to yours. If you try to correct them, they will back up to protect themselves, especially their egos. Many power plays are just a clash of egos — you trying to prove you know more than your client or vice versa. This is a never-ending cycle that can only get worse as the meetings go on.
If I’m going to challenge a client in any way, I’m going to ask permission to do so: “Mr. Client, is it OK if I challenge you a bit? Is it OK if I upset you a little? Suppose you discovered that the information you have is incorrect; would you shoot the messenger?”