You know that phase where you’re good enough at something that you’re ready to both do it and get paid for it, but you still don’t have the same confident swagger as the people you admire who make it look so easy? Here’s a little trick to help you push through it.
When you’re talking to that person who has the incredibly intimidating power to hire you, remember to:
- Flex your abilities
- Let them know you’re flexible
- And, be ready to follow through by adjusting the work up or down
Here’s an example and how it applies:
A graphic designer is pitching some label-making work to a local bakery who has already expressed interest. The first thing she’s going to do is to remember that just like they’re good at bakerying, she’s good at designing stuff. Together, they can make magic. It’s not just ok to let people you’re excited about working with know it, it’s a great business practice. Be confident in your skills. Flex a little.
The next thing to do, after our designer provides a quote on her work (and that’s a whole other conversation), is to make sure she lets the bakery know that this is only the beginning of a conversation. “Tell me what you’re thinking” and “I’ll follow up on Tuesday” go a long way here. Make sure they know the lines of communication are wide open.
(Let’s pause for a second and notice how she’s already flexed the confidence in her skills, signaled that she sees the potential of their relationship, and now she’s showing them she can be flexible in answering any questions they may have. This is on the right track.)
Finally, she wants to be ready to respond if they come back with either, “We love it but can’t afford it,” or “We love it, can you do more?” Granted – there’s a floor for what she should accept because she’s as much a for-profit business as the bakery, but there’s also the potential to turn one job into a long-standing relationship if the counter is reasonable. Being determined to follow through means knowing how she’ll tweak a proposal up or down based on feedback. In advance.
This last step, the follow-through after the flex and flexibility, is how deals ultimately get done. If she’s going to land the bakery as a client, it’s going to be because they found the right common ground to break bread over.
Yes, there are a lot of deeper details inside of this too, but if we can learn to flex, be flexible, and follow through, people will start looking at us like, “Where did they get all that swagger?”