Every interaction you have with a client or prospect is an opportunity to deepen the trust and connection between you.
We all know that asking great questions and listening deeply are essential to success in any sales context. I’ve written about these skills many times – here are related articles to check out:
But there is an advanced skill that very few Advisors do consistently and well:
Integrate and Reflect
What it is
When you’ve asked a provocative, relevant question, and listened intently to the response, a moment of opportunity appears. In that moment you can Integrate and Reflect what you heard back to your client. By doing so, you demonstrate to them both your expertise and the quality of your listening.
You might be thinking: Oh, you mean paraphrase?
Being able to paraphrase what your client said is an element of it, but Integrate and Reflect goes far beyond this. You want to pick up on not just the facts, but how your client feels about what they’ve shared and what are the implications of what they’ve shared.
You ask your prospective client David:
What’s happened recently to make this meeting urgent?
My father passed away a month ago. We’re still reeling from it. Anna and I – that’s my sister – are trying our best to figure everything out moment-to-moment.
Your habit maybe to jump in here with more questions, but hold off. This is a window of opportunity to integrate and reflect back what you’ve heard:
David, I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you and Anna are pretty overwhelmed right now, and that there are a lot of decisions to be made that you don’t have clarity around. And some guidance might provide a bit of relief. Is that right?
In this response, you’ve integrated the facts and feelings you heard, along with your experience and expertise. What you reflected back was a blend of all these elements.
When you integrate and reflect, you go beyond just proving you were listening by parroting back some details. Instead, you put yourself in David’s shoes. You demonstrate that you understand the reality of what he’s dealing with, the emotional and practical implications of it, and you position yourself as a trusted advisor.
When used correctly, integrate and reflect is a potent tool for deepening relationships quickly. Your client feels heard and understood. They experience a ‘click’. They trust that you really ‘get them’.
When to use it
Integrate and reflect is a potent skill. If you overuse it, your client will pick up on the technique instead of enjoying its impact. Aim to incorporate just two or three good integrate and reflect moments in a meeting, and no more.
Aim for the moments when you hear important factual details that come with some emotion behind them. This will have the biggest impact on your client and your relationship.
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Kira Callahan is an expert sales conversation coach serving the financial industry. Her private clients typically experience 30% – 100% increase in appointments and business booked. Click here to find out more about Kira.