I love it when I see people who are good at what they do being humble and showing great modesty when being praised. In the same vein, nothing drives me crazier than people with no humility or modesty sprouting on about how amazing they are, generally with no one asking.
That said, both styles have a place in the business world.
I think those people who are good at what they do, who have a quiet confidence about them, naturally grow their business, but it can take time. The brash “look at me, look at me” approach is the one that tends to get heard in amongst the clutter and can often get pretty surprising results. As much as I don’t like it, I feel that all business owners, and particularly soloists, need to find some middle ground and get comfortable talking about themselves.
In Australia we are trained from an early age not to talk ourselves up and, whilst I get this, I don’t think this attitude serves us as well as it may have in the past. And I see a lot of people who are really good at what they do, struggling to get business, whereas their competitors who are not as good, being swamped.
So rather than standing on a street corner telling everyone how amazing you are, perhaps there are a few other ways we can get this message across.
I’d like to share these five key pieces of information as strong selling features, in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I’m talking me, me, me.
1. Articulate who your ideal clients are
Spell out the type of business, their attitude, even their products and services and frame it along the lines of, “I do my best work with business owners who are……………….”
2. Share the types of businesses you’ve worked with
“I’ve done a lot of work with companies including……………….., mainly working to achieve the following………………”
3. Use social proof
Sharing what others have said about you can be a powerful technique. I love this one, “I’ve developed a reputation for………………………..”
4. Share successes
Talking about how you have helped others can also be more comfortable than making promises. For example, “My clients refer me because…………………….”
5. Position yourself as an authority.
“Over the past 3 years I’ve noticed many businesses like yours struggling with……………”. This shows that you know and understand them.
It’s really interesting to see how our sales conversations change when we start to use this different language. Our sense of humility and modesty remains intact whilst still imparting a strong sense of confidence and ability.
Now I know for any soloist starting out this can be a challenge because you don’t necessarily have a long list of past clients to talk about, or observations etc. In this instance you can talk more about why you got into your business, what your aspirations are, what your promise to your client will be and so forth.
In a hugely competitive world, that is becoming more competitive on a daily basis, we can’t shy away from having sales conversations. In fact we need to step up and be having more of them. I hope this approach will be helpful. It has certainly worked for me.
So, what have you got to say for yourself? Feel free to test these tips out in the comments 🙂