WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. – Sometimes it pays to be a reader of people, according to Polly Merritt Maglio. Those times often come when a financial advisor is sitting across from a prospect or client and wondering how to make the presentation most effectively.
Too often, she said, the advisor doesn’t really know who the person is in terms of the values that influence and motivate that person to take action.
That can ruin sales opportunities, she told InsuranceNewsNet in advance of a workshop she will give today at LIMRA’s annual distribution conference.
Maglio told of how one advisor blew a deal while meeting with a married couple. The advisor had made his presentation and then left. The husband was very impressed, she said, but the wife was completely turned off. In fact, the wife was “offended.”
The offense was that the advisor had completely missed the clues the wife had given about what she wanted and needed to know before she would agree to do business with him.
Maglio knows a lot about the encounter because she was there — she was, and is, the wife.
Maglio also knows a thing or two about detecting the clues that others provide. She is vice president at SpeedReading People, a Hartford, Conn., company that specializes in helping professionals learn how to know people in ways that can lead to more successful connections. The firm teaches how to get buy-in by “reading” people, uncovering what motivates them and presenting information that aligns with those factors.
The problem with not knowing
Clearly, she said, the advisor who visited her home that day did not know how to read her.
The man did make a very detailed and analytic presentation, she recalled. “My husband is also very detailed and analytic, so he liked that and he trusted the data and the advisor.”
But Maglio said she tends to be more “broad brush and big picture.” For instance, she would have liked to have learned about how the advisory process would work and how she, her husband and the advisor would build an ongoing relationship. But he did not talk in those terms.
“I needed that information to bridge the gap, to get to the point where I could feel trust,” she said.
A savvier advisor would have given both types of information during the presentation, she said, pointing to both the broad brush information as well as details about his background, the products and so on. He could have provided a logical analysis followed by a look at the ripple effect on the people involved, she added.
“If the advisor had engaged me, he would have seen the energy coming from me. He could have read on my face what was resonating with me.”
The good news is that advisors and other business professionals can learn how to become readers of people. “Not everything we do resonates with every person,” Maglio observed, so it pays to learn how to connect with the individual based on what the individual wants and values.
This ability will help people become more successful not only in sales but also in leadership, team work, project management and other activities where motivation is critical.
She plans to cover some how-to tips on these topics during her workshop. Here are three of them:
Learn who the other person is: Ask the other person some questions that evoke answers that help reveal personal values and motivators and how the person likes to communicate. Then “craft” the conversation in a way that resonates with that person.