“To edify” literally means “to lift up.” When we edify someone or something, we lift that person or thing “up” in the eyes of others. Edification is an art form and when learned and practiced can make the difference in everything from dinner reservations to closing more sales.
If you’re introducing a client to your boss, you’re going to want to edify your boss to your client. Lift your boss up in your client’s opinion. That way, when you hand your client over, your client will be paying careful attention to what your boss has to say. Your confidence in your boss will be transferred to your client; they, too, will have confidence that what your boss has to say is of importance and worthy of their consideration.
Edification is a simple process. In it’s barest form, you’ll want to say something about the person’s past, their present, their future, and something nice.
For instance, if Jack was going to edify his boss, John Smith, to his client Mary Kane, he might say something like this: “Mary, I’d like to introduce you to my boss, John Smith. John started in the car business fifteen years ago working for his father who originally owned this dealership. He’s worked in every department and he’s proven himself to be a fair and honest man. Three years ago, Mr. Smith Sr. sold the dealership to John and now he’s the owner. John is proudly carrying on the family tradition of “going the extra mile” for all of our clients. Not only is John a great leader and mentor, but I’m lucky enough to call him a friend. I’m honored to work alongside him, and I’m happy to introduce you to him. Mary, this is John Smith…John, this is my client, Mary Kane.”
We’ve talked about the past (15 years in the car business), the present (now the owner), the future (carrying on the family tradition), and something nice (friend and mentor, honored to work with him.) Easy.
But what our edification has accomplished is profound.
Jack has presumably built a rapport with Mary Kane. They’ve spent some time together looking at cars, Jack has been helping Mary and there’s a certain level of trust that has developed between them.
Now, Jack is going to turn Mary over to his boss, John. Mary doesn’t know John and John and Mary won’t have the luxury of spending as much time getting to know one another as Jack and Mary had.
In order for John to be effective in his dialog with Mary, he needs to create instant rapport, and the best and easiest way for that to happen is if Jack transfers the rapport that he’s already built with Mary over to John.
The edification process is the transfer mechanism.
When Jack edifies John, Mary thinks (subconsciously), “Well, Jack certainly thinks highly of John. Since I trust Jack and Jack trusts John, I guess I will trust John, too.”
Now John shares in the rapport built between Mary and Jack and he’s able to connect much more effectively with Mary.
So, the next time you’re in a situation where you have to introduce a client to your boss, or a prospect to your upline, make use of edification. When you hand your client over you can rest assured that you’ve done everything in your power to create a smooth transition and to prepare the way for great communication.