Sidney C. Walker
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September 2009

The Most Effective Way To
Establish Your Credibility...

by Sidney C. Walker


In my late twenties (early 1980s) I started a company with a middle-aged psychologist (more gray hair) to help displaced senior-level Fortune 500 executives get new jobs. These were talented executives who typically lost their jobs due to corporate politics not lack of performance. Teaching them to be skilled interviewers was a key part of my success. One question I always had them very prepared for was, "Tell me about yourself..." which is a question almost always asked by the interviewer.


I would have them prepare for the interview by looking at the requirements of the job they were interviewing for and then think about how their experience fit what the job required. My goal was to have them show the interviewer in practically casual conversation that they would be perfect for the job.


The goal was to establish their skill level and credibility without bragging by talking about their past experience answering three questions:


1. Generally, what did you do...?

2. What did you learn about yourself, your ability, that challenge?

3. What were the positives results?


Here is an example: Interviewer says, "So John, tell me about yourself..." John says, "Well, I started out as a life insurance agent where I quickly realized I had to be a catalyst. You have to have a desire to help people that is greater than your fear of rejection. I was able to set my fears to the side and maintain a positive attitude no matter how people responded to me. It was probably on of the most important lessons of my life. And, I managed to be a leader in a large agency at a relatively young age. From there I..."


This approach was extremely effective and it was very rewarding for me to earn the respect of top level executives when they got job offers for better jobs than the one they were displaced from and usually for more money.


So how do you apply this approach to the financial services business?


You can say some version of what many advisors are saying, "We have cutting edge approaches, products and services. We make every effort to offer our clients the best of everything, in fact, we only work with clients who want the best. Our skill level and integrity are of the highest caliber. Our clients love us and I think you will too, etc., etc."


Or, hold off on the commercial. Instead, in the process of interviewing your potential clients about what they have done with their money in general, you look for places to casually relate your experience and success in similar past situations that you believe would be of interest to the potential client. Keep your story short. You dont need a lot of detail. Talk about how you solved your client's similar problem and the positive result.


The power of this approach is that you are letting your potential client know you have had a successful experience with the challenge they face. That is what most people are looking for whether they are aware of this or not. You are also promoting your ability in the flow of the conversation which becomes more of a statement of fact rather than a bunch of fancy sounding words with no proof. That is the most powerful and elegant way I know to establish your credibility. Give it a try. You will like the results!


Have a productive September,

Toll-free: 877-985-3297





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