Ian worked for years to hone his expertise in helping people become better communicators. He built a successful communication coaching business by incorporating the latest strategies into his practice, but he was having difficulty landing higher-paying projects, like working with corporate teams.
Since Ian didn't like tooting his own horn, he seemed unsure about customer results. Corporate clients take more convincing, so to hire him, they need to understand the critical benefits he provides compared with his competition.
Ian brought his passion to the forefront by incorporating client success stories into his pitch. The stories demonstrated his business prowess and the benefits associated with hiring him, but they didn't make him feel like a braggart. Within weeks, Ian landed his first corporate contract.
Focusing on the passion you have for your business entices people to listen to you. More important, your ability to verbalize the benefit you provide to clients helps you establish important relationships. Break out of your self-imposed limitations and gain the confidence to sell yourself and your business by standing up for who you are, not what you believe others expect. Here's how:
1. Be genuine. Allow your true self to come through in business conversations. You don't have to separate you from your work. People buy from those they know, like and trust. Gain people's confidence by letting your entrepreneurial spirit shine through during conversations. The passion you share ignites people's imaginations and kick-starts powerful relationships.
2. Redefine rejection as learning. We are often scared to speak as our true selves because we fear how people will respond. Your goal in speaking about your business is not to please everyone; it's to connect with the people who will benefit from using your product or service. Treat each opportunity to speak about your business as a way to discover new opportunities. If you find yourself keeping silent, ask yourself, "What's the worst that could happen?" You'll soon discover that what you feared usually isn't as bad as you imagined.
3. Convey personal successes. Spread your enthusiasm and develop powerful connections by adding personal insights to your conversations. Whether it's a lesson you learned from a client, an observation that changed your life or a success story that you're proud of, connecting the discussion to your prior experiences sets you apart from other business owners. And it allows you to present your knowledge, experience and credentials without boasting.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of others' problems. When people sense that the conversation is about them, they're more willing to share information. Don't be intimidated by someone's title or influence. Recognize that you have experience and knowledge that can contribute to their success. Ask about the obstacles your audience must overcome. When possible, personalize your business by offering constructive solutions to their challenges without wondering what you'll gain from it.
Put a stake in the ground: From this moment on, stand up for your own powerful presence. Be true to yourself by speaking with passion and breaking out of any self-imposed limitations. You'll be surprised how easily the world begins to support the powerful, confident entrepreneur you truly are.
—By Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," and author of Kick Start Your Success and Kick Start Your Dream Business. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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