June 5, 2021

Vanessa Van Edwards Illustrates How to Captivate Your Prospect

Vanessa Van Edwards Illustrates How to Captivate Your Prospect

Vanessa Van Edwards shares the science of charisma and connection and talks about how to create deeper and more authentic relationships. Learn why the Golden Rule is not the best way to work with prospects and what you should be doing instead, how to...

Vanessa Van Edwards shares the science of charisma and connection and talks about how to create deeper and more authentic relationships. Learn why the Golden Rule is not the best way to work with prospects and what you should be doing instead, how to understand and use the three levels of intimacy, and the one exercise you need to identify your most important business development efforts.


Mo asks Vanessa Van Edwards: What’s your big idea on how people can grow their book of business, deepen their relationships, and enhance their career?

  • Vanessa likes to joke that she’s a recovering awkward person. She used to believe that charisma was something you were born with, but the truth is that charisma can be taught.
  • The research indicates that most charismatic people have honed their charisma and learned very specific interpersonal skills that help them create relationships. You don’t have to fake it until you make it to be charismatic.
  • The most practical way to develop your own charisma
  • Highly charismatic ranked off the charts compared to their peers in two very specific traits: warmth and competence. They need to be combined to be effective. Many professionals put too much emphasis on competence, which can actually make you intimidating, cold, or hard to talk to. Warmth alone can make you a pushover and encourage people to take advantage of you.
  • The number thing to consider is where you fall on the balance between warmth and confidence. Over the next few weeks and months, pay attention to where you fall and if you need more of one trait or the other, that is your first step towards becoming more charismatic.


Mo asks Vanessa Van Edwards: What can people do to create more opportunities and build their book of business?

  • Vanessa was raised on the Golden Rule but that rule actually started getting her in trouble. When she switched over to the Platinum Rule “Treat others as they would like to be treated” the game changed completely.
  • Of the big five personality traits, Openness and Conscientiousness are the two biggest blocks to closing more deals and bonding with clients.
  • When you’re high in Openness you like new ideas and new things. When you’re low in Openness you like things the way they are and prefer habit and routine. The thing to keep in mind in pitching situations, if you use the Golden Rule and you’re high in Openness and speaking to a prospect that is low in Openness, you’re going to completely scare them away.
  • An easy way to figure out what sort of person you’re dealing with, ask them out to lunch. Whether they try something new or prefer their tried and true favorite will give you a hint.
  • The Openness of your prospect should dictate your pitch. For a low Openness person, minimize the change and emphasize what isn’t changing and the proof.
  • Conscientiousness has to do with how someone approaches details. Low Conscientiousness people are more about big ideas whereas high Conscientiousness people feel more secure knowing all the details.
  • Openness is important for pitching, Conscientiousness is for planning.
  • Honoring someone’s personality is one of the deepest ways we can respect our fellow human beings.


Mo asks Vanessa Van Edwards: How can people deepen their relationships?

  • Vanessa had a lot of surface relationships in her life but she found some research that completely changed the way she interacts with people.
  • There are three different levels of intimacy in a relationship. The first level is called general traits. At this stage, we are just trying to understand their basic personality traits. Level two is personal concerns. This level involves additional questions revolving around a person’s origin and emotions. The third level is called self-narrative and for many people, they don’t have any relationships at this stage.
  • The self-narrative is the story someone tells themselves about themselves. Unlocking someone’s self-narrative is the most critical part of understanding someone’s motivations and why they act the way they do.
  • If you want to deepen your relationship you have to structure your interactions around these levels of intimacy.
  • If you’re curious about the third level, you have to start by identifying your own self-narrative. Do you see yourself as a martyr or a hero? Unlucky or lucky?
  • A powerful yet risky question to ask if you want to dive deeper into a level 3 relationship is “So what’s your story?” If you’re going to ask it, make sure that you have a good answer yourself.
  • Radical transparency is key. If you want to get to know someone, tell them that’s what you want to do and get them to buy in first.


Mo asks Vanessa Van Edwards: How can we hack our habits and stay focused on deepening our long-term relationships?

  • How we manage our people and our work is just as important as how we implement the work.
  • Vanessa’s company uses an exercise called Start, Stop, Continue. You should always be evaluating what you are starting, stopping, and continuing. Every month Vanessa’s team has an opportunity to list new ideas for things that can move the needle, identifying which tasks are working well, and perhaps most importantly, which activities need to make way for something else.
  • Having a not-to-do list is crucial. You need to be able to say no to anything that is hampering your productivity or your success.
  • Personally, this exercise should be done once a month. As a team, once per quarter and before jumping into it you should explain what the purpose of the exercise is. Give them a chance to think about it and then set aside two to three hours to go over everything.
  • If you don’t think you’ll have enough time to commit to this, take the social media apps off your phone and take your time back.


Mo shares his insights from the habits of Vanessa Van Edwards.

  • Charisma can be learned, just like business development skills. Just like anything complex, it is both learned and earned.
  • One of the deciding factors in Mo’s father’s restaurant when he was growing up was his ability to tell a good story, and that skill rubbed off. People weren’t coming in for the prices since it is impossible to compete with the farmers, but because there was a story and connection available.
  • The first step to learning something is the awareness that you can learn, and then putting yourself on the path to learn it.
  • For the people that are high in Openness, you should emphasize the high level concept and the newness of your pitch. For people who are more systems and detail focused, the key thing to emphasize is the lack of change and how your pitch will streamline what they are already doing.
  • In the Herrmann Brain Dominance model, the other opposing pair is Facts vs. Feelings. For someone who is focused on the facts you should emphasize that you are high value and worth the price you charge. It’s about being efficient with their time hitting the most important points. For Feelings, you want to emphasize trust and the relationship with the prospect.
  • Good rainmakers shift their communication to emphasize what the other side finds important. Great rainmakers emphasize a little bit on all four quadrants and wait for the prospect to lean in on something in particular.
  • If we are going to be efficient and effective, we are by nature, always climbing and finding better uses for our time. You should always be trying to level up what you are working on, and by definition, that means eliminating the lower value activities.
  • The world has a status quo bias, so we need a mechanism for reevaluating things you should take off your plate and things you should begin doing. Commit some time each month to do the Start, Stop, Continue exercise that Vanessa recommended in the previous episode.
  • If you don’t have a system for that right now, that should be your first step. If you don’t have time for this exercise, that’s an indication that you definitely need it. Eliminating even small tasks can result in hundreds of hours each year to start doing new things which could change the game for your business development efforts.



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