Confidence matters. Besides impacting your well-being and how much enjoyment you take from your work, it affects directly your business. Low confidence leads to poor sales performance.
If you think you can hide it during calls with prospects, you're fooling yourself. Multiple studies show that, for people purchasing advice, confidence was more influential than past performance. Humans are biologically trained to detect when others are insecure or reluctant.
Here are some of the tactics that are usually recommended by sales coaches and self-help authors to build confidence:
- Self-affirmations: They will prime your mind to behave in ways that are consistent with the affirmation.
- Dress for success: Formal clothes boost feelings of confidence and authority.
- Power movements: Non-verbal behaviors can alter body chemistry and enhance confidence.
These are all scientifically proven, and work. But if you're consulting, there's a better way.
Self-confidence is all about our feelings. The reason you're worried about your weak offering, your poor sales skills, or your lack of experience to deliver are all the same: You are worried about failing. And you will feel bad if you fail.
But what about the client?
The client doesn't care if you lose a prospect. When you judge yourself, compare yourself to others, or try to protect your ego... you become the center of the universe. But consulting is all about putting your prospect first.
The strongest consultants out there are confident not only because they believe in themselves. But because they decide to focus less on them, and more on your clients' challenges and aspirations.
With that said, you have to believe there's value in your offering. If you don't believe it, your prospects are likely to doubt it too. And, like it or not, it's up to your prospects and clients to decide on the value of your consulting. Not you.
Here's a great exercise to build your consulting confidence while putting your prospects' first. Let's go through each of these points:
- Validated offering: Is there any evidence clients have purchased what you offer?
- Skills and abilities: Is there any evidence you have solved your clients' problems?
- Track record: Is there any evidence your clients value what you do?
Have clients purchased what you offer before?
If you have a client for it, tick the box. If companies paid for it, they saw value.
Did they hire a similar service from another consultant? It counts, tick the box. If they already hire it, the challenge is to communicate it in the right way, at the right time. It will take you some time to learn how to do it, but you shouldn't doubt the value of your offering.
Have you solved your clients' problem before? Can you deliver it?
An important note here: you don't need to have the best solution. Or the most famous one. Or the most scalable one. It's about whether you can deliver the results that your clients want.
If you haven't solved their problem before (or you're really not sure if you can solve it), don't panic. The best way to boost your confidence is to take one or two pro bono projects. Voluntary work will show you which skills can be improved and provide you with case studies.
Have you received any positive feedback from clients or prospects? Has a client introduced you to someone else?
If yes, you can be sure you and your offer do add value. A good tip here is to collect all the testimonials and positive feedback from clients and keep it in a document or physical folder that you can easily see.
Every time your energy and confidence level drops, look back at those to remember the positive impact you make in their lives.