Giving you the right track to run on

A fortnightly pearl of wisdom to fast track your success

CHRISISM #22 - Hosting A Chat Show

09 August 2016

Host A Chat Show!

One of the first things I was told when I first joined the business back in 1978 (and this was by some of the best salesmen I have ever had the privilege of working with) was to make sure that the completion of the Fact Find never became a form filling exercise.

Who amongst you enjoys filling out forms? None of you! And yet clearly the completion of the Fact Find document has all the potential of becoming a form filling exercise. So what are some of the ways we can make sure we don’t fall into this trap.

The way it was put to me all those years ago was:- “Whatever you do in your first client meeting, don’t fill in a form – host a chat show! Now back in the 80s and indeed for a long time thereafter, I believe the best exponent of the art of the chat show host was Michael Parkinson.  Even though it was called the Michael Parkinson Show, there was never any doubt who the star of the show was – it was always the guest.

He had an ability to sit with one celebrity guest for the full hour of the show in front of a live audience and millions of TV viewers and prod the guest with perfectly planned questions, so the guest opened up as if it was a cosy fireside chat just between the two of them! And that is exactly what you should be aiming for in your first client meetings.

To achieve this result, it is first of all worth noting the physical positioning of Michael and his guest, namely sitting alongside each other at a 45 degree angle with no desk or table forming a barrier between them. This positioning smacks of teamwork, collaboration and a “we” situation as opposed to the traditional positioning across opposite sides of a desk or table, which is very territorial and denotes a “me” over here and a “you” over there situation, not to mention the huge barrier between the two of you. So my first recommendation is to make sure where possible that the setup is one of collaboration not conflict. This way the client can also see everything that is going on, which is quite impossible from the other side of a desk or table.

The other thing that Michael Parkinson was so good at was using his ears and his mouth in the proportion that they were given to him – i.e. 2 to 1, so he did twice as much listening as he did talking. This should be our goal when meeting with our clients (especially for the first time) and it simply comes down to making sure we are selling not telling.

“Enjoy” filling in your census form this evening!

The Risk Workshop by Chris Unwin

Are you a financial adviser who would like all of your clients to have appropriate types and levels of personal protection? But perhaps you feel you need a more structured and client friendly engagement process?