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The tips in this series have been pretty concrete so far. They’re tangible things that you can sink your teeth into and just do.
This next tip is a little more ethereal and you’re either going to read this and say heck, no problem, I’m already rockin’ it… or you’ll hang your head and cry because it’s one of those things you perpetually struggle with.
Tip #5: Believe In Yourself
Face it; some of us walk into meetings with a nice, long stride and a strong handshake, pearly white teeth shining in our ‘sup-dude smiles. And some of us hesitate, stutter and sweat.
But if you would rather close the deal than be offered a handkerchief you need to exude the confidence that comes with being an expert at what you do.
Whether you’re a nervous wreck or a natural schmoozer, it wouldn’t hurt to practice in a mirror once in a while. You don’t want to be over-confident and arrogant any more than you want to be an apologetic hand-wringer.
If you believe in yourself and have confidence in what you do, it will ooze from your pores and convince customers in ways that mere words can’t.
Dress Like You Believe In Yourself
We covered this in detail in a previous post but it’s worth repeating briefly. You should dress like the professional you are. If you can’t be bothered to pay attention to whether or not your nail polish is chipped or your pant cuffs are too short, how can your clients expect you to pay attention to detail when it comes to their projects?
Bottom line: dress like a professional and thanks to the power of the subconscious you will be more likely to act like a professional.
Speak Like You Believe In Yourself
The good news is that you can practice your way to a better verbal presentation and there are a couple of things you should start working on right away…
- Eliminate all uses of um, uh, eh, ah and hm from your speech. Nobody likes a hemmer and hawer. Say what you mean or pause and take a breath if you need to think. Don’t be afraid of silence. Silence says, “I’m thinking about your question”. Ums say, “I’m wracking my brain because I have no idea what to say but I’ve got to think of something.”
- Get over the 80s and never intersperse your speech with Valley Girl-esque uses of like. It’s like, so not cool to be talking business and then, like, regress to weird retro speech patterns. It’s, like, distracting.
- Get over any repetitive habit and stop ending every sentence with ok, right, see, or whatever other thing you’re using to replace the unspoken period. You can speak without those words, ok? They’re not necessary, ok? You don’t need constant feedback, ok?
Make Eye Contact Like You Believe In Yourself
There are few things as annoying as speaking to someone who spends the whole conversation focused on something just over your left shoulder. I sometimes wonder if they’re looking at the gray hair coming out of my ear.
It’s ok to break eye contact once in a while, after all you’re not a creepy stalker, but first you have to make it. Look your prospect directly in the eye and let him know you’re on his level. You’re paying attention. And you’re not afraid he’ll burn a hole into the center of your soul and wrench your inner child out screaming and… right.
Just make eye contact.
Use Body Language That Shows You Believe In Yourself
This one should be easy if you’ve been listening to mom all those years… stand up straight, shoulders back, don’t slouch. Remember the subconscious? There are studies that have shown that people are more likely to believe what they say when they’re sitting or standing up straight than when they’re slouching.
Turns out if you act the part you really do start to believe the part.
Just be careful that you’re not sitting up so straight it looks like your spine might snap. Work on good posture until it comes naturally.
Beyond posture there are lots of little things that either exude confidence or… not. Watch out for those other little things your mom warned you about…
- Stop fidgeting. It is very easy to start focusing on someone’s perpetually tapping foot instead of listening to what’s coming out of that person’s mouth.
- Don’t bite your nails. If you actually do this, you’re probably beyond helping in a blog post. But you can extend this to any other annoying habit like touching your hair, scratching your nose or twirling your pen.
- Hey, sourpuss… smile.
Confidence starts with acting confident and progresses to being confident. If you’re just not feeling it, take my advice and fake it. In a little while you’ll start to believe it and your prospects will believe it too.
If you walk into a meeting with your head held high, dressed like a pro, sounding like a pro, shaking hands like a pro then you’ve set the stage for success.
Nobody wants to work with someone who seems uncertain and insecure. It doesn’t speak highly of your competence and it kind of makes people feel squirmy and uncomfortable like they’d rather give you a lollipop than a signed contract.
What other subtle (or not so subtle) cues let people know how confident you are?
Read More In The “Make The Sale” Series
- Tip 1: Qualify Your Leads
- Tip 2: Dress The Way You Want To Be Perceived
- Tip 3: Set Expectations
- Tip 4: Know Your S#*@
- Tip 5: Believe In Yourself
- Tip 6: Have A Personality
- Tip 7: Have Good Collateral Materials
- Tip 8: Don’t Sell Your Services
- Tip 9: Talk (And Learn) About Your Prospect
- Tip 10: Be Genuine
- Tip 11: Have A Good Website
- Tip 12: Follow Up
- Tip 13: Define Your “Je Ne Sais Quoi”
- Tip 14: Give It Away