CIQ and Chemical Components

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

Here is a simple question for you.

What is the most important thing in the First Meeting with a prospective client?

Hint: It starts with C.

Another Hint: It’s also important in every subsequent meeting with the prospect/client.

I will wait for a few minutes while you think of the answer…

Since I am feeling super generous today, I will drop another hint (this should help you nail the answer).

There is no more important piece of our business than an amazing First Meeting.

The First Meeting with a prospective client sets the stage for everything that will happen in that relationship. Do it wrong, and you end up looking like every other person this prospective client has encountered so far. Do it right, and you establish from the beginning that you are the chosen financial professional for this family.

But we rarely get coaching on this. All that we get is usually centred on understanding and selling a product. To Sell a SIP. To Sell a Product. There is no world class coaching on understanding the prospective family and facilitating (or leading) an amazing (Fill in the blanks…The answer comes here). This is the thing to get coaching on. It’s the thing to learn, practice and master.

Here goes the answer – Conversations.

Conversations are not what we think they are. We have all grown up with a very narrow view of conversations. We think of them as talking, sharing information, telling people what to do or telling them what we are thinking. But they are way beyond that.

Judith E Glaser in her book “Conversational Intelligence”, wrote, “We are now learning through neurological and cognitive research, that a conversation goes deeper and is more robust than simple information sharing. Conversations are dynamic, interactive and inclusive. They evolve and impact the way we connect, engage, interact and influence others, enabling us to shape reality, mind-sets, events and outcomes in a collaborative way.

Conversational Intelligence (CIQ) is what separates those who are successful from those who are not- in business, in relationships and even in marriages. The premise of Conversational intelligence is: To get to the next level of greatness depends on the quality of our culture, which depends on the quality of our relationships, which depends on the quality of our conversations. Everything happens through conversations.

Let’s walk through the typical first meeting. The first 10–15 minutes are usually a combination of small talk and you talking about yourself. While we think we are building trust and credibility, the way we have been trained to do that is absolutely flawed.

The way we’ve been trained to generate trust is to talk about ourselves, to convince people how smart we are. Imagine a doctor doing this. You walk into a surgeon’s office, and he starts talking about his degrees, his skills and expertise. Or even think of a world class lawyer. These professionals do not feel the need to hard-sell or brag about themselves.

Clients certainly need to trust you before opening up but talking about how smart you or your solutions are, or how much money you manage, is not going to make you sound like someone to open up to.

Trust is not a function of the quantity of time you spend with someone, it’s a function of the quality of the conversations. Prospective Clients will judge you by the quality of the questions you ask, not the qualifications on your wall. In fact, many of the best professionals in the world have no qualifications but are outstanding conversationalists. So, while qualifications are good to have, let’s not hide behind them.

In some parts of the world, “getting straight to business” creates confidence in you and your service. In others, it’s off-putting. This is not about affected small talk: feigned interest in someone’s football or cricket team is never engaging. It is about demonstrating an authentic interest in helping someone; some prefer to ease in, others cut straight to the chase.

In every case, it pays to be clear when the introduction ends, and the business begins. Do this with confidence. Find what works for you and stay focused.

Remember a First Meeting is an opportunity to mutually explore if there is a good fit. It is not just the client who is evaluating you. We also get to decide who to work with. You should be able to confidently tell a prospective client that: “If what you need is not what we do, I promise I’ll be the first to tell you. I may even have someone more suitable to refer you to.”

Well, I am not going to cover the entire first meeting in this post (we cover this in our Real Financial Professional Program and in our Mastery School -HRAC) as the objective of this post was to get you focused on Conversational Intelligence.

There are different kinds of conversations that we all need to master. Here are a few important ones (there are many others).

1. The First Meeting
2. The Onboarding Meeting
3. Setting Expectations
4. Review
5. Retirement
6. Life Planning
7. Referral Conversation

Judith further wrote, Conversational Intelligence gives us the power to influence our neuro-chemistry, even in the moment. Every conversation we have with another person has a chemical component. Conversations have the power to change the brain- they stimulate the production of hormones and neurotransmitters, stimulating body systems and nerve pathways, and change our body’s chemistry, not just for a moment but perhaps for a lifetime.”

If this is so powerful, the questions to then reflect on are –

What are you doing about getting better at your conversations and energizing these chemical components?

How are you building your Conversational Intelligence (CIQ)?