Think Engagement Not Sales


Think Client Engagement Not Sales

What do you think the biggest factor is when trying to predict a trainers/counsellor’s success with a client?

You might think it would be the trainer’s knowledge and skill or perhaps their level of experience. In fact, in research carried out by Terri Moyers at the University of New Mexico it was found to be the counsellor’s empathy. There was a direct correlation between the level of empathy shown by a counsellor and the results achieved by the client. This was regardless of the level of experience and skill the counsellor possessed.

As a trainer this is a valuable lesson to take on board. Empathy is not “Having had the same experience or problem” as some people believe. Empathy is: The ability to accurately understand your client’s meaning and the ability to reflect that accurate understanding back to your client.

In order to achieve good levels of empathy trainers need to develop their listening skills. If you want to know how good a listener you are, record yourself working with a client. If you are speaking more than 20% of the time you are not listening enough. You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth, use them in that ratio 80:20. Professor William Miller, one of the founders of motivational interviewing (MI) sums this up very well when he states “Sometimes all a person needs is a good listening too” Think about this next time you are working with a client!

It is for this reason that when you meet a prospective client, be that face to face or on the telephone you should be actively listening. This is what I mean by “Think engagement not sales”. Engagement is the first process in a motivational interviewing (MI) consultation. It is the foundation for all that is to follow. Good engagement will build rapport and ultimately trust. You will likely find out a lot of the reasons why a prospective client is thinking of working with you by actively listening and reflecting (another MI skill) what you hear. It is very possible that by just doing this a client will decide that they want to work with you. It is all very well having a screening/sales script to refer to, but this can start to feel like an interrogation to the client. Far better that they feel like they have had a cosy chat with someone that was genuinely interested in what they had to say and displayed genuine empathy. After all, who would you rather work with, an inquisitor that puts you through the wringer or a professional who has genuine regard for you?

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