We probably haven’t met each other. Let’s say we do. It’s at a cocktail party. You’ve read some of my articles. You want to make a good impression.
You tell me some engaging stories about your experience as an advisor. Some of them even reflect knowledge of what I write about. We then part ways and move on to other conversations.
What’s the impression you’ve made?
Hint: It’s not what you intended.
A Harvard study
A recent study authored by impressively credentialed professors at Harvard reached this conclusion:
When Person A asks Person B more questions, particularly follow-up questions, Person B will like Person A more as a result.
Conversely, many advisors fall into this category (referenced in the same study):
The tendency to focus on the self when trying to impress others is misguided, as verbal behaviors that focus on the self, such as redirecting the topic of conversation to oneself, bragging, boasting, or dominating the conversation, tend to decrease liking. (My bold).
Why “likability” is important
If you want to convert more prospects into clients, focus on becoming more likable. I summarize the research correlating likability with sales in this article.
In it, I quote Michael Lovas, an author and founder of a coaching firm specializing in the financial industry as follows: Bottom line – if you want to become more successful, become more likable.
Train to ask questions
Asking questions doesn’t come naturally to most of us. We need to make it a priority. Alison Wood Brooks, one of the co-authors of the Harvard study, has this suggestion:
Think to yourself, I need to ask at least five questions in this conversation, or, I need to ask questions in this conversation, listen to the answers, and ask follow-up questions. It’s easy to do, and—even better—requires almost no preparation.
Try it. It will change your life…and improve your conversion rate.
Resource of the week
This article from the Harvard Business School summarizes the results of the Harvard study on the benefit of asking questions.