Originally published on Advisor Perspectives, November 14, 2018
When I discover something that works and benefits those I respect, I proselytize. That’s why I’m going to discuss overcoming two of the most common, yet unrelated objections to adopting my process – that I am not qualified to comment on women’s appearances, and that advisors should not feel compelled to make their “pitch.”
The rapid adoption of the Solin Process℠ by evidence-based advisors has been a highlight of my life. It’s so gratifying to receive feedback from those of you who’ve tried it and found it transformational.
Women resent having a man tell them about clothes, hair, and make-up
Few doubt the importance of first impressions for both men and women. In my experience, men are more receptive than women to the research on the impact their clothes have on first impressions. When I asked one of my female professional friends about this, she said, “Women don’t like getting fashion advice from a man.”
But that reflects a fundamental misunderstanding. I’m not providing advice on clothes, hair, and make-up for women. I’m referencing research by others, some of whom are women, that sets forth findings of academic studies. Men and women alike can decide whether – or how – to utilize it.
Much of the research relating to first impressions for women was indeed written by women. On the issue of clothes, I highly recommend Mind What You Wear, by Professor Karen J. Pine. It includes references to many studies.
Studies on the impact of hair on first impressions were also authored by women. You can find a summary of the best-known one here.
This study, on the impact of cosmetics on first impressions, had five co-authors, four of whom were women. Its findings were summarized in an article in The New York Times: “Cosmetics …increases people’s perceptions of a woman’s likability, her competence and (provided she does not overdo it) her trustworthiness, according to a new study, which also confirmed what is obvious: that cosmetics boost a woman’s attractiveness.”
Here’s what I can tell both men and women with great confidence: When I persuade my clients to pay attention to the research on first impressions and put aside their personal biases, the impact is immediate and profound.
What if I never get to make my pitch?
The Solin Process℠ is counter-intuitive. It involves putting aside your agenda and following the conversation based on input from your prospect. A common source of anxiety is: “What if I never get to make my pitch?”
It’s unlikely this will occur. The prospect typically has an agenda, which may be different from yours. When you wait for the prospect to ask a question – rather than assuming there’s interest in what you are conveying – you can be confident you’re responding to an issue of genuine concern. That’s the time (and the only time) you can respond directly and concisely to the query. It’s not an opening to “make your pitch.”
In my experience, it’s rare that a meeting with a prospect wanders aimlessly, with no questions being asked.
In those rare instances when the prospect asks no questions, that’s often a sign of a positive outcome. I’ve heard many times from clients that prospects sign-on without knowing anything about the expertise or background of the advisor.
Because that advisor is that rare person who shows a genuine interest in the prospect. When you do this, you are liked and trusted. Being liked and trusted are the critical components to converting prospects into clients.