When you share your brand in all your “brand places,” what you’re really doing is informing and inspiring the people who are attracted to your style and what you sell. A brand is a blend of your style and content—so it’s also letting the people who aren’t exactly clicking with your vibe decide for themselves, “thanks but no thanks, this isn’t really a fit for me.” Tara here, and yep, like Kathleen shared yesterday, even if you have blue hair people will still want to hire you.
That’s what a brand does, it speaks for you even when you’re not there. But how are you speaking for yourself when you are there, face-to-face with a person interested in hiring you?
How do you turn a fan who is inspired by you into a paying client who trusts you and feels really good about hiring you? The answer is you don’t “turn” them. They have to make the decision for themselves. And that’s honestly a relief for most creative entrepreneurs. Because we kinda hate feeling like we have to persuade people.
Many of us cringe at the idea of “selling” ourselves. When we feel like we have to sell ourselves we either can go really over-the-top, trying to be sparkly, or sophisticated, or seem like we have “all the answers!”
Or, we can find ourselves flustered, apologizing (even if it’s just on the inside) for our pricing or for the services we can’t provide. We try to overcompensate with “all the things” we can do for someone instead of focusing on the offering we’re best at. Then if we do get a new paying client out of the conversation (yay!), we may wake up in the night regretting the services we promised, the price we quoted, the concessions we made just for the sake of closing the deal.
So what are our secrets to cultivating confidence in our selling conversations?
Stop trying to inspire people in your selling conversations. This isn’t the time to fall all over a potential client with “I can do anything! Oh, you’re going to love this!” It’s also not the time to start solving their problem right then and there, or giving advice like you might in a blog post or the content you share online, or if they were your client. They haven’t hired you yet!
Instead, simply explain what they get and what they can expect along the way. If your brand messages have done their job positioning what you do—and the kind of people you do it for—in your style and voice, then they’re already feeling like they might be a fit for you. If you feel like your website or brand platform isn’t quite as put together as you’d like it to be, then this is your opportunity to explain your offering. Your selling conversations will never be perfect, but they can be more confident. Here’s what we want you to start practicing:
Do it face-to-face. Even if your sales or services page is perfectly written and clear as day on your site, oozing with your voice and style – it’s different when it’s “hire me” time. When you have an inquiry, yeah, you can explain a lot in an email response – but what you’re aiming to get is an in-person or video meeting to close the deal.
Use real examples. The most powerful thing you can do is walk a potential client through a past project or working-together-scenario (even if it’s not exactly the same as theirs) because it shows them how you work and what your offering includes. This makes it visual and makes it real in their minds more than anything you can share in> a list of bullet points.
Let them voice their hesitations and decide if you’re a fit for them. Let them bring up any concerns or questions at the end. If they’re not bringing up anything at all, ask them “is there anything that’s giving you pause?” You want them to feel comfortable sharing those concerns in person, instead of everyone being so concerned about being nice and keeping any hesitations to themselves. That’s when you never hear back from them and don’t know why.
What if they’re not a fit for you? In the case where you don’t feel like a potential client is a fit for you, try to let them know earlier than later in the conversation. This is the only time I do give out a little advice, almost like a consolation for not being able to help them as a client (because they might refer me to someone who is!). Keep a few names in your back pocket of other people who might be able to help them instead. Saying “no” to a potential client takes even more practice than getting them to say “yes.” But all of it takes practice, practice, practice.
Practice actually lets you be more “real” each time, instead of feeling like a fake.
What’s my favorite part of feeling confident explaining how people can hire me? I know what I offer like the back of my hand because it’s how I actually work with my clients every single time. So I can break my rules if I need to. But even more than that, I can really be myself. I don’t have to put on an act or pretend I’m a different kind of professional or expert than I really am. I can be a “real” person – and get paid for what I do best.