Fantastic Friday - it is fantastic to fake confidence in front of clients until the real thing comes.
Whatever your industry, whatever your area of business, you must continually educate yourself and keep up to date with the latest news, advances and players in your industry. It is important for you to do research on your clients. If you know what is going on with them you can do a better job helping your clients. In addition, it gives you a base of knowledge upon which to build. When you know your industry, and are able to discuss it with others in a knowledgeable manner you appear to be expert at what you do. When you know your client, understand the business environment in which your client works and even remember the little stories the client has told you about family you are building a base from which confidence will flow when needed.
When meeting with a client on a day like the one described above there are two tactics you can take:
- tell the client about the situation
- don't tell the client about the situation
If you choose to tell the client about the situation, tell the story in a joking manner. Then let the client know you are glad to have the client meeting so that you can put yourself into your work and some sanity. For example I once had an executive going in to meet a prospect who took off his jacket and put it on the passenger seat of the car. He did not realize that one of his children had left an open paint container on the seat. During the drive the paint spilled and ruined his expensive suit jacket. This meant that instead of meeting the prospect looking professional and successful, the executive was going to go in half dressed and looking unprepared.The choice was to go home or go to the meeting and try to make lemonade out of lemons. So the executive went into the meeting with the damaged jacket. He told the prospect he considered rescheduling because of the ruined appearance, but didn't because he knew the prospect's time was valuable. The executive and the prospect, who became a client had a good laugh at the things kids do to their parents. By telling the client that you are willing, able and ready to meet the client's needs and solve the client's problems without regard to your personal problems you are able to impress the client and make the client feel valued and important to you.
If you choose not to tell the client about the situation, hold your head up, stick your chest out and move forward safe in the knowledge that you are good at what you do, you have done the necessary research and you are prepared to make this relationship with the client beneficial for you both. Doing research and preparing in advance for each meeting with a prospect or a client arms you with information. The client is paying you for your information, expertise and talent so put on a smiling face and a confident attitude to make the client feel you are worthy of the investment.
A funny thing happens when you research and prepare in advance for client meetings. You may start the meeting faking confidence, but as the meeting continues you will realize that you deserve the client's business, you can handle the client's business and you will do well with the client's business. In the end, fake confidence will become real confidence as your satisfaction with your hard work pays off.
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