Last weekend I headed off up to London to take part in Speak Shoot and Sell by Carrie Wilkerson and Paul Evans, and then at the weekend I was speaking at Carrie’s BOSS UK event about getting your sales letter done.
In 4 days I met a wide variety of people with different skills, businesses and personalities and despite everyone being passionate and determined to succeed by helping others in their businesses, most people confessed that they struggled with finding the confidence to “sell” themselves and to be honest, were just too darn modest!
I don’t know whether it’s a British thing that makes us uncomfortable with blowing our own trumpets, or the feeling that we need to have “perfect” businesses before we could dare offer to help anyone else.
Or we might feel that we haven’t had big enough “results” to prove our worth. For example, can you only run a marketing company if you’ve created several 6 figure launches? Can you only teach financial finesse if you’ve made a million? Can you only be a life coach if your own life is perfectly harmonious?
Of course not.
Most of the wonderfully talented people I met at the weekend struggled with the conflict of a deep-rooted confidence in their ability to “help” other people, but a lack of confidence in communicating that to potential customers. As a result, it’s harder for others to have confidence in us and this can result in lost clients.
So how can you remind your target market, and yourself that you’re great at what you do, without feeling like you’re boasting?
Focus on your customers.
So, for example, on your web “testimonial” page, you could include examples of…
One lady I met was very modest about her ability to help others create information products as an additional means of income and credibility for their business. It was only later that she let slip that one of her past customers had gone on to sell thousands of a book she helped him create. Did she design the marketing for the product launch that sold thousands? No. But she helped him create a product that was professional, well designed and written well enough to please his customers. She also helped him finish it to completion so that he had a product to sell. Without her he might never have even sold one copy.
If you’re a modest person by nature, praising the success of your customers is easier than writing about how wonderful you are. Think about your previous customers, what successes have they had in their businesses that you have contributed towards? If you’re struggling to find a link between your work and their success, still consider including details of this in your testimonials page to show the calibre of your customers. If someone with a successful business has shown faith in your abilities, that is powerful social proof.
Perhaps you’ve worked with customers and businesses that aren’t super successful yet, but have been very happy to work with you. That is definitely worth a mention. If you’ve never had an unhappy customer, let people know that you have a “100% happiness-rate to date.”
Have you taught your customers something new? Shown them a new life-coaching technique for confidence that they didn’t know before they met you? Or shown them a simple recipe for a healthy meal? Or perhaps you’ve shown them that not all marketing agencies are dripping in snake oil?
If you have introduced your customer to just one thing that has made their life easier or better, then you are a valuable resource to others in your target market. Write about, or ask your customer to put into words an example of one thing they didn’t know before they met you. This is a lot more noticeable and credible than your typical “She was great, and I was really pleased with her work” testimonial.
And remember, if you’re having to spend hours convincing one customer that you’re good enough, you might want to re-think how much you want to work with them. If they have a lack of confidence in you from the outset, even if you do win the job, there’s a good chance they’re always going to be looking for your flaws rather than your expertise.
If you can help your customers, you are an expert and you deserve to work with people who are excited about working with you.
Do you have any other tips for reminding yourself about your value to a customer or do you feel that you can be modest and sell yourself at the same time?
I think every freelancer and business owner has experienced this at some point. If you believe in your ability to help someone else, and you have testimonials from other people you have helped then you are valuable and valid in what you are offering.
All of that belief can disappear momentarily with a potential client who makes you feel you have to beg for the job.
When you have a mutual respect and admiration on both sides it’s a wonderful working relationship, as you know. 🙂
Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach says
Here’s one great gem from your post:
“And remember, if you’re having to spend hours convincing one customer that you’re good enough, you might want to re-think how much you want to work with them. ”
So true. I’ve found it much easier to work with people where they believe in me…and I believe in them. It’s far more satisfying in the long run.