Right after CFC, I headed to Las Vegas to go to another conference focused on the future of web applications. While there, I met a lot of influential people in the application development world, including the CEO of an online accounting company.
Because of my background in Art Direction and User Experience I felt my services could benefit his company. So, being the optimistic entrepreneur that I am, I thought “Why not?” and approached this CEO.
I explained to him that I had some ideas that could really improve the UX (user experience) of his site. He politely declined and told me that their focus was in a different area at the time.
To that, I might have said, “Thanks for your time” and walked away. But I didn’t. Rejection is never the end if you know you have something to offer and are a little quick on your feet.
I explained to this man that even if their focus was in another area, my expertise could help customer retention since happy customers are always good for the bottom line.
He again explained that they knew that some things needed to be overhauled on the site but it still isn’t their focus right now.
So what did I do? I gave him my business card anyway. You know what happened? He all of a sudden became more interested in my services and asked what kinds of projects I’ve worked on.
Now, there’s no telling whether or not I will get any work from this person. But I did make an impression. I got him interested and by doing so I have opened the door for future communication and potential work. If I had given up on the first try then I would never know what opportunities would be possible.
Now, when I say confidence I don’t mean arrogance. A confident person knows who they are and isn’t pretending to be something they are not. Whereas arrogant people spend a lot of time blowing themselves up. The confident person doesn’t need to do that; confidence comes across in unspoken ways, such as your behavior and body language.
So don’t spend anytime trying to be someone you aren’t. Instead improve upon the great person you are. As you progress through your freelance career, you will find that the more confidence you have in yourself. the more clients will see that and be drawn to you. Most people like being around someone who is confident because it makes them feel safe with you and trust that you will do a good job on their project. If they think they are hiring the best candidate for the job, they are more likely to trust they’ll get their money’s worth.
A few pointers
- Stand up straight and don’t slouch when you are seated.
- Make sure to give a firm handshake but not the hardest one you have.
- Smile, and look your clients in the eye.
- Speak up and make sure you aren’t mumbling.
- If a question trips you up, just say you don’t know and that you will get back to them.
- Dress professionally. The better dressed you are, the more confident and relaxed you will be.
- If you are nervous before a meeting, get there early, and take some time alone to calm down.
- If you make a mistake, don’t apologize profusely. Simply apologize once and explain how you will take care of the problem.
These are a few that I have to remind myself about every so often so hopefully they will help you. Do you have any to add? Or stories about how your own confidence has helped you grow your business?
BTW: Join design-firm-owner-turned-business-coach Marcia Hoeck this Thursday, July 14 for a DesignCast called, “Cultivate Steady Confidence, part 2 of her 3 part series: Strengthen Your Business Bootcamp.