At Ravinia Capital’s 2017 Midwest Dealmakers Conference – held in conjunction with Polsinelli and the TMA – nearly 200 attendees engaged in a full day of discussion and debate around topics such as strategies for working with distressed credits, managing through deal breaking points, new bankruptcy laws, governance and leadership issues in middle market strategies, opportunities in the distressed market, and the pursuit of life-work balance.

Recognizing the importance of creating trusted relationships as a driver for building successful businesses, key note speaker Gene Rosendale of the Alliance for Strategic Advantage offered a glimpse inside the thinking of top rainmakers who are able to quickly achieve trusted advisor status in their new client development efforts.

Gene revealed that the underlying psychological dynamics of losing trust are essentially the same as for building trust, contrary to expectations that client trust can be lost quickly and easily, but building trust is time intensive.  Top rainmakers, he explained, understand that earning status as a trusted advisor with prospective clients can be achieved in as little as their very first meeting.

Speaking from the client’s perspective, Gene distilled trust building to a simple principle: As soon as I feel you are holding my self-interest above your own, I can trust you.  The principle is simple, but not easily demonstrated to a prospective client; in fact, it’s unnatural, he said.  The specific behaviors required are counter to the natural human behavior pattern of persuasion, which is at the heart of most sales and business development techniques. Gene added that fundamental selling behaviors -- such as, Asking Questions, Presenting Features and Benefits, and attempting to Overcome Objections -- specifically promote DISTRUST from a behavioral science perspective.  Instead, he suggested behaviors that include Question without Questioning, Present without Presenting and Eliminate Objections in the process. Here are a few details on how to implement these behaviors:

  • Ask unprepared questions that are prompted by observations and discussion.  Prepared questions are selling – filling in blanks.  Unprepared questions result from listening.
  • Present your ideas without “selling” your firm’s benefits. Speak less, keep answers narrow, and provide opportunity for the client to ask the question.  If the client asks a question it means they are listening and you are not presenting. 
  • If you can address the objections before the client does, you are not on the defensive; then you are not selling, you are influencing.

 You can view relevant articles and learn more about the art of “NonSelling” by clicking here.

Write back and let me know what you think about NonSelling and how to become a trusted advisor.

Tom Goldblatt

Barry Snyder