Mike Hirschfield

CEO | Assured Influence

As CEO of Assured Influence, Mike Hirschfield is on a mission to empower, equip, and exalt sales, business and finance professionals everywhere! Mike is obsessed with helping others build personal influence, become trusted advisors, and leverage solutions that are aligned with their customers' most powerful buying motives.
Answer These 4 Questions & Increase Sales

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It takes more than great prices and great products to win over customers today! The number one opportunity in your business right now lies in improving your communication. You may have a great message, but if that message never gets through to your customers, it doesn't matter.  There are four questions customers ask before they fully engage. How these questions are answered ultimately determines how your message is received and if it is received at all. To be clear, these questions have nothing to do with the features of your products. They are much more personal; yet, they are the same for everyone. These influential questions are:  Why listen? Who cares? So what?  and  Why now?   Your customers may not come right out and ask you these questions directly, but that doesn't mean they're not asking them. The best communicators listen beyond the words, understanding that sometimes the words don't even matter. When you can answer these questions with confidence, connection, and congruency, everything changes! The business of our business is people, and it's the way that we treat each person and the way that we communicate personal value which matters most. Why Listen? The first question your customers are asking is: why listen? They want to know why on Earth they should listen to you. Here is the good news: you do not have to be the best at what you do; you do not have to be the smartest; you do not have to be the most talented, and you do not have to spend weeks establishing credibility or building trust. All you have to do is be likable. If they like you, they'll listen to you!  The 1st Law of Influential Conversations is:  Style is more important than substance initially.  Face it, we all like people who are just like us or how we'd like to be! Your customers are no different, and they all communicate in their own way. When our customers perceive us to be different from them or how they'd like to be, our message loses its influence. The best communicators tailor their style and approach by quickly identifying keywords and phrases that most resonate, by taking special care to speak in a tone, volume, and tempo that is most pleasing, and by using an adaptive body language to create the most familiarity and alliance. Moreover, the best communicators ensure that their words, voice, and body language are all communicating the same message.  When we tailor our style to each customer, it not only puts us in a position where our customers want to hear what we have to say, but it is also the only way to truly acknowledge, respect, and enjoy their differences.  Who Cares? The second question your customers are asking is: who cares? They want to know that you understand them. Without a little empathy, we are flat-out handicapped in getting our message through to our customers because people don't care what we know if we don't know them! It's not enough to have all the facts. It is their feelings, not your facts, that drive their behavior.  The 2nd Law of Influential Conversations is:  Their feelings dominate your facts.  Your customers are all led by six emotional motives. To feel important, to feel independent, to feel responsible, to feel secure, and to feel loved. The best communicators make each deal bigger and more meaningful to their customers by skillfully skipping the small-talk and asking really good personal questions, which help them learn, lead, and leverage what's most important. If we want to bring value, add value, and become persons of real value to our customers, we must align our messages with what really drives our customers.  When we discover the feelings that are motivating our customer's behaviors, we can position our messages so that they're not just received, but so they hit home and make perfect sense.  So What? The third question your customers are asking is: so what? Customers want to know how your product impacts them and their lives specifically. We all want to be able to lead others to take action and do business with us. Unfortunately, the only way anyone does anything is if they want to do it. It's not enough to provide your customers with reasons to buy. Your customers have to personally own the reasons to move forward. After all, customers buy for their reasons, not ours! The 3rd Law of Influential Conversations is:  Their words matter more.  Their words matter more because when they say it, they take ownership of it! It's all about taking what you know needs to be said, and guiding your customers to seek it, see it, and say it. The best communicators don't pitch. Instead, they paint pictures that help customers see themselves needing their product, they tell stories that allow customers to see themselves enjoying their product, and then they ask key questions that help customers articulate exactly why they should be buying their product.  When we help our customers experience exactly how our product impacts them and their lives, then our customers will be able to articulate exactly why they should move forward. Again, when they say it, they own it! Why Now? The fourth question your customers are asking is: why now? They want to know why a decision should be made now, versus later, or not at all. One thing is for certain: our customers will not take action until they want to take action. Urgency is not found in your customers simply watching or listening to someone or something. Urgency is created when your customers interact and experience something that is meaningful and exciting. Is your process fast, fun, and interactive? The 4th Law of Influential Conversations is:  Interaction fuels action.  The best communicators leverage the momentum that is produced through interaction to create an environment where their customers want to move forward. Nothing inspires action more than genuine interaction, but genuine interaction can only happen when both you and your customers are completing a task together. This could be filling out a survey together, completing an application together, experiencing a product together, or selecting various options together. What's important is that whatever action you're taking, you're taking it together!   When we work with our customers and not just work for our customers, the whole deal becomes something that has mutual purpose with urgency, and everyone will want to see it through. The number one opportunity in your business right now lies in improving your communication. It's not enough to have a great message. We have to communicate in a way in which our message gets through to our customers. Answering the influential questions above with confidence, connection, and congruency, changes everything! When more customers know why they should listen to you, when more customers feel that you understand them, when more customers understand how your product impacts them specifically, and when more customers clearly see why they should act now, more sales are sure to follow. 
The New Customer Experience - Adjusted for Social Distancing and the Coronavirus

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We are in unchartered and distressed waters, and we need to make adjustments now. The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused a global social and economic crisis that is impacting billions. On March 11, the COVID-19 threat was elevated to a new level when the World Health Organization officially characterized the virus as a pandemic. Since, in the United States alone, we have seen growing business closures, countless event cancellations, abrupt school closings, unprecedented social distancing, and large-scale work-from-home initiatives. No one knows exactly how long these turbulent times will last, but anyone can take action now that enables them to bring value, add value, and be of value to others and the marketplace. It is in times like these that leadership, innovation, and compassion are needed most. The business of our business is people, and the best businesses always find ways to serve those in need. If you are waiting for customers to come to you and conduct commerce as normal , you may not survive this crisis financially, but by taking the steps outlined below you can position yourself and your business to serve well now and in the future. Increase Your Communication In times of uncertainty, you cannot over-communicate. In fact, the very act of communicating can pull people out of uncertainty and instill hope. The worst thing that you can do is pull-in, retract, and limit communication during a crisis. You need to increase your personal interaction and communication with customers across all channels including: Increasing emails  Increasing communication on your website Increasing social media communication Increasing text correspondence  Increasing phone calls This does not mean just increasing your communication about specials, incentives, and sales. The communication I am writing about is much more personal. Such as: highlighting special safety measures that you implemented, providing updates about various community interests, spotlighting key employees, thanking community members for acts of service, endorsing charitable causes, and creatively encouraging and supporting those in need. Continually Address Areas of Concern Without empathy, you are flat-out handicapped to serve others effectively. In times of crisis, different people have different concerns, and until those concerns are addressed business will suffer. The best leaders anticipate and get ahead of not only the concerns of their customers but also the solutions to their concerns. Right now, the market is flooded with anxious people who have health concerns, economic concerns, and employment concerns, and these concerns are more definitely impacting business. Ask yourself these questions:  What additional steps have you taken to ensure the health and safety of your customers and employees? What assurances can you provide to limit any perceived future risk in buying now? How are you able to address the threat of employment and income interruption? Regardless of your success leading up to this point, simply continuing on as you were before will not be enough. You cannot ignore your customers' obvious and glaring concerns. To positively influence others in this crisis, it will take real leadership, innovation, and compassion. Be prepared to lean-in and lead them through the next step. Offer Personalized Experiences With social distancing being mandated for some and strongly encouraged for others, fewer people will be coming to your business for a while, that’s the cold-bitter truth. Adapting your systems and processes now to deliver personalized experiences in this new environment is absolutely imperative. While you may already offer customers self-guided online experiences, many customers will still prefer and even demand help from a professional. Are you prepared to offer the following? Professionally guided online experiences At-home experiences Live video experiences Concierge driven experiences that include pick-up and delivery services There is nothing more important than how you treat each customer and how you deliver value. While these types of experiences may have been deemed a luxury in the past, in this new environment of social distancing, these experiences may be deemed a fundamental necessity. During the weeks and months ahead, your customers' lives are going to be different. As uncertainty and stress rise, don’t expect customers to come looking for you. Instead, increase your communication with them. For now, social distancing is the new normal, and it is our duty to adjust customer experiences to best serve other’s needs.  No one knows exactly how long these turbulent times will last, but anyone can bring value, add value, and be of value to others and the marketplace by increasing their communication, by continually addressing areas of concern, and by offering personalized experiences tailored to this new reality. On March 11 th , customers didn’t stop wanting what you, your products, and your services deliver, but on March 11 th people’s priorities changed. The sooner we align with our customers and their priorities, the sooner more customers will seek our help, our products, and our services. Stay safe!
4 Types of Power Questions that Boost Your Influence

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What you have to offer has a deeper more personal impact on your customers’ lives than you learn, lead, and leverage right now! Whether you are selling an appointment, a service, or a product, it’s not what you know about your offering that matters most, it’s what you know about your customers. No doubt, you have a great message, but if you never get your message through to others, it really doesn’t matter. The business of our business is people, not products or services. Too many professionals struggle to get their customers to want to engage, want to listen, and want to move forward. The best communicators build their personal influence by asking the right questions at the right time so that they can appropriately align with what already drives their customers. Make no mistake, the right questions lead to the right conversations; the right conversations lead to the right personal connections, the right personal connections lead to the right opportunities, and the right opportunities lead to sales. There are four types of power questions. They are relating questions, resonating questions, differentiating questions, and activating questions. 1. Relating Power Questions Customers buy for their reasons and not ours. Relating questions help you position yourself and your offering to align with your customers, what they want, and what best serves them. These power questions help you discover who your customers are, their character and values; they help you discover where your customers are, their knowledge, skills, and attitude; and they help you discover where your customers want to go, their desired change, and their desired state of affairs. Face it, customers don’t care what you know if you don’t know them. 2. Resonating Power Questions Customers best respond to value that is personal, powerful, and unique. Resonating questions help you tailor your approach and your language so that your value message is fully received, and that your customers ‘get it.’ These power questions help you learn why they are who they are; they help you learn why they are where they are at, and they help you learn why they want to get to where they want to go. Understanding your customers’ why, allows you to communicate your value in a way that makes the deal bigger, more personal, and more meaningful to your customers.  3. Differentiating Power Questions The differences lie in the details. Differentiating questions help you stand out among the crowd, and effectively gain priority over price and the competition. These power questions help you discern the details of what’s most important to your customers, and they help you also discern the details of what should be most important to your customers. As Steve Jobs said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” It is up to you to really lean in, lead with questions, and help your customers connect the dots. 4. Activating Power Questions If your customers can’t see it, they likely won’t risk it. Activating questions help you instill certainty and clearly communicate in a way that compels your customers to take action now. These power questions help your customers experience in their minds having already moved forward, as well as experience in their minds the cost and consequences of not taking action. Your enthusiasm for your offering is important, but it is your customers’ mental picture that reigns supreme. Your customers don’t want a verbal brochure. They want a professional who gets them and makes the process fast, fun, and interactive! You have a great offering and a great message, but there is far more to the story you tell. In order to accurately and completely tell your story, you need to genuinely know the characters. You need real insight, and that insight can only come from asking really good questions. The right questions lead to the right conversations; the right conversations lead to the right personal connections, the right personal connections lead to the right opportunities, and the right opportunities lead to sales. The right power questions have the power to positively affect how and what your customers think on, focus on, and take action on. Remember, it’s the way you treat each customer and the way you communicate your value that matters most. 
3 Keys to Influencing Indecisive Customers

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Regardless of your professional title, we are all in sales, and we all have heard the dreaded words: no, not right now, I’ll think about it, maybe another time; and the like. Sales, as Norman Hall had put it, is an “ocean of rejection.” Face it, every sale is a potential risk to the buyer, and every sale requires the buyer to sacrifice something. It is not hard to imagine why so many potential buyers struggle to commit. Customers can “like” your product and still not be personally sold, customers can be sold and still not be certain, and customers can be certain and still not be urgent to move forward. It can be frustrating, I know, but take heart because it is you and your efforts that make the difference! Highly influential sales-makers are able to successfully motivate even the most indecisive of customers to take action and buy now. Below are three keys to influencing indecisive customers.  1. Offer Them a Compelling Path It is not enough for your customer to “like” your product. Most customers will not take the leap and buy until you first show them why they should take the leap. Many opportunities are blown because no one actually compelled the customer to do anything. Some professionals might assume that they have added value because they fully explained the features, facts, and figures associated with their product. From a market standpoint, the features, facts, and figures may be unique, but by-in-large customers don’t care. What really matters is how you and your products can improve their lives, literally! The most influential sales-makers stack value upon value with a message that is real, personal, and unique for each buyer. It’s a fact that if you give someone big enough reasons to move forward, they will move, but it needs to be their reasons and not ours. To influence indecisive customers, make each deal bigger, personal, and more meaningful by creating value that isn’t found in the brochure or on the website . 2. Lead Them Along the Path  Your customer can be sold on your product, and still not buy. Many customers will not take the leap until you show them how to take the leap. Undoubtedly, the decision to buy takes effort. Your customers do not want to think through the process of buying too! Formulating the “next step” requires additional mental energy, and that’s just too much work to expect from our customers. Whether it’s making sense of the time, making sense of the effort, making sense of the cost, or something else, there are customers that just don’t know how to move forward and they need real guidance. Countless opportunities are lost because the customer was not truly led all the way through the sale. Some professionals might assume that if they provide enough value, in the end, their customers will take the leap and buy. Anyone who has asked enough closing questions knows that this is not always true. The question itself does not guarantee action! To influence indecisive customers , lean in, and lead by showing them the way.  3. Familiarize Them with the Destination Your customer can be certain, and still not be urgent to move forward. Most customers will not take the leap and buy until they can see themselves having already taken the leap and visualize the consequences of not taking the leap. In business, seeing is believing! It’s not enough to talk about the value that you and your products offer. Your customers actually need to see it in their minds. If your customer cannot clearly see a favorable picture of themselves having bought, fear and indecision are likely to rule. People don’t just buy products; they buy how they envision the products will make them feel. Some professionals assume that their enthusiasm for the product will transfer to their customers, but it is the customers’ mental picture that reigns supreme. The easiest way to familiarize your customers with the destination to ask questions that allow them to paint a clear picture in their minds. To influence indecisive customers, help them see it! When they can see it, they can feel it; and when they can feel it, they are more likely to take action.  We are all in sales , and we all have to deal with indecisiveness. To effectively motivate indecisive customers to take action, it’s not enough to know the way; you also have to show the way and be able to compel your customers to go that way. By offering a compelling path, leading them along the path, and familiarizing them with the destination, indecisive customers will build the confidence needed in you and your products to move forward.