Conversational Skills

Why does pole-dancing pay better than consulting? Easy…

I had a great chat with a colleague today.  She’s an ex-investment banker.  One of the UK’s ’40 people in investment banking under 40 to watch out for in 2011′. She’s smart, funny and worth listening to. As we chatted about clients and business development, networking and lots of other things, she told me a great story about one of her friends who’d supplemented her student loans while at University, by pole-dancing in a ‘high-end’ place in London.

Laura said that she’d disapproved of her friend’s choice but understood why it was something she wanted to do, and the friend earned an amazing amount of money doing it.  Then came the revelation (to me) that the ‘thing’ that the strippers earned the most money for was a ‘sit-down’- Now at this point I was imagining all kinds of activities that could earn the girl £450 in an hour, for sitting down, but it wasn’t one of those.

A ‘sit-down’, I now understand(!) is simply where the customer pays the girl to sit down with him for an hour and chat over a glass of expensive champagne.  That’s it.  Just chat.  And my friend’s pal could earn thousands of pounds per week because she was in demand for these sessions. I thought ‘how interesting’.  Because in my experience, being good at ‘sitting down’ with a client, is one of things that separates the excellent from the average fee earning consultant.

Yes our clients want someone who can do the work.  But they’ll spend their money, mostly, on the ones who ‘understand’ them.  Who listen.  Who chat, who empathise.  And that ‘relationship’ is different in consulting, because it can last for years and years. And in my experience clients are incredibly loyal to someone they grow to trust and like.  Just as our svelte student proved at the pole-dancing place.  She earned more than I ever have for an hour’s work.  But my clients (hopefully) will continue to use me once their partner finds out!  So in the longer term, the good consultant wins.

And so in answer to the question posed right at the start- ‘Why…’  The answer’s simple. Strippers are much better at listening than the average consultant… Discuss.

[box type=”info”] For more information on how to build those important conversational and listening skills. Click here.[/box]


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