Vulnerability Sells

Published on February 21, 2012

Remember the show Columbo that featured a detective (Robert Falk) who was very successful by using his vulnerability?   When he had an inkling of who the guilty party was, he would speak to them and then say something like “forgive me, but I am not that smart a man and I really don’t understand how this works, humor me”.  What he did with that phrase was use his vulnerability (appearing dumb) to disarm the individual who would eventually fess up and admit their guilt.

He used vulnerability to close his case.  It was a pre-meditated act.  To build your sales and influence others you need to inject some vulnerability into your conversation, but not as a pre-meditated act to force someone to buy.

It needs to be spontaneous in relation to the client.  It must center on your ability to relate.  When a client is speaking about an issue, how can you relate from your past experiences of how you felt the same way or experienced the same kind of issue?  Or, if you never were in that situation, how can you relate by sharing a story of other clients who felt the same way?  Or, sometimes relating is nothing more than simply asking people to explain how they are feeling about the situation.  Being empathetic!

People respond better to others whom they can relate to, versus those who are not empathetic and have never felt or experienced the same kind of thing.

As a keynote speaker and consultant, I am always working very hard to allow my vulnerabilities to come through. It is hard to do.  It forces us to face our deep-rooted fears and allow people to see into us.  Our fear is whether or not those people will like what they see.

For the most part, that is our issue.  Because when people look into us, they are not so much concerned with what they see but how they see themselves in your mirror. 

Think about this last statement.  It is probably one of the most thought provoking statements you will come across in your lifetime.

In order for us to sell our ideas, product and services, we must connect with our audience, the people we are trying to influence.  We must relate to them.  We can only do this when we allow our vulnerabilities to shine through.  It’s all about our ability to relate.