Vulnerability vs. Inappropriate Sharing
There’s a lot of talk about the power of vulnerability and how it connects people.
Since a big part of what I teach is building rapport and developing long-term client relationships, the concept of vulnerability comes up frequently.
At one of my speaking events last week a Therapist in the audience bravely approached me after my talk to challenge me on one of the tips I shared. The tip itself was about leaving off disclaimers when meeting someone for the first time. The reason to leave off disclaimers is that it diminishes your credibility with potential clients.
A few common disclaimers are saying things like, “I’m nervous.” or “I’m a mess.” or “I wish I felt more prepared…” Disclaimers tend to come from your negative self-talk (your internal critic).
She wanted to know what my thoughts were on the difference between sharing vulnerable moments with clients and how it differs from making a disclaimer.
Vulnerability and disclaimers are two very different things in my opinion.
Sharing a personal story or struggle with the intent of connecting on a deeper level is appropriate.
Disclaimers tend to be something we say because we’re feeling insecure.
The example I shared with her was imagine having a new patient come in to work with her and telling the patient she was nervous and hoping she did a good job (disclaimer). That patient is there paying good money for her expertise and expects a high level of service. Now, possibly sharing a story about a time in her life when she was doing something for the first time and feeling nervous or anxious about it (vulnerability) as a means to relate to the patient might make sense.
Unfortunately, too many people have confused the when and how to be vulnerable and are turning clients off.
Not too long ago I witnessed a woman sharing her personal story as a means to “be vulnerable” to potential clients. Her story started with what happened to her at a very young age and chronicled every bad thing that had ever happened in her life. It took her more than 20 minutes and instead of it feeling like she was using it as means to connect with the people in attendance, it felt more like a therapy session. By the time she finished the room full of people just sat there stunned.
Now had she shared just one of her experiences and related it back to the people in the room then that would have been a more appropriate vulnerable moment.
Giving out a laundry list of everything that’s ever happened in your life is no longer about the connection between you and the other person, it’s now making the conversation all about you. And in sales and in building relationships, that’s not an effective way to go.
Your Savvy Sales Tip this week: Share a personal struggle as a means to connect yourself with another person and avoid overwhelming people with too much story.
Before sharing a “vulnerable moment,” be clear as to the purpose of sharing it. Do you want to connect with someone or do you want people to feel empathy for you?
Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting empathy. However, there is a time and a place for it. When building client relationships, share vulnerable moments as a way to relate and engage with the other person.
Your feedback is always welcome. How do you show vulnerability in your work with clients and how effective has it been for you?
Wishing you continued success in all you’re doing.
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