When out selling, we can suddenly get hit by insecurity: will we really be able to land that deal? At times, it can be tempting to give the truth a bit of a facelift. But boosting reality to the point where you’re no longer yourself will eventually hurt your business. Here are five common traps to avoid:
I know everything! The customer asks a question that you don’t know the answer to. You don’t want to come across as incompetent, so you start mumbling an answer that you can’t back up or stand for.
My advice: Let go of your ego! No one knows everything, and the client will notice if you’re on thin ice. Tell the client you need to look into his question and that you will get back with some solid answers.
“I” becomes “we”. Micro businesses can run into skepticism. Will you really be able to deliver as you promise? What happens if you get sick and the company stands still? In order to sound bigger, you might start talking about “we” and “us” – even though you’re a one-man/woman-show.
My advice: Stand for who you are! Be prepared to meet any doubts. But make sure to highlight the advantages of a small business: personal service, accessibility, flexibility…
A company for all. The customer needs a certain function or competence. You make promise after promise – even though you know that you won’t be able to deliver everything that the customer wants.
My advice: Be clear about what the client can expect from you. Tell them straight up if you don’t believe that your company is right for the project. Your honesty will create goodwill – and you will avoid sleepless nights and an unhappy customer.
Choose me! You know that the customer is choosing between you and a competitor. You start comparing yourself to the competitor in front of the customer, in order to highlight your own strengths.
My advice: Speak for yourself – and let your competitors do their own talking. Your talk might come across like gossip – and you will seem like a desperate and not-so-nice person.
Make-believe customers. You just started your business and you don’t have any customer references yet. When a prospective client asks for previous recommendations, you tell her “No problem!” – a promise that you won’t be able to keep.
My advice: Tell it like it is. Offer other references, like previous employers or colleagues. And clearly state that you will do everything to make this your first – and very happy – customer!
Your company is made up of you, your competence and your values. Trust that you’re enough. And make the best of who you are!