What to do when you meet a Tiger in the Jungle…

I was just on a great call with Verne Milot, Owner of Growth Associates and a colleague of mine through the Professional Business Coaches Alliance (PBCA).

Verne was doing a presentation on how to grow a professional services business and shared some of his personal experiences when he was just getting started a few years ago.

Although he covered a lot of great stuff, one of the things that really stood out to me (in a Made To Stick kind of way) was a quick story he told about a Tiger.

It’s been said that if you meet a Tiger in the jungle and you can calmly and confidently look it in the eye, the Tiger will move on and not attack you, unsure whether you are a fellow predator or prey.  However if you show fear, avert your eyes or stumble…you are going to be eaten!

Of course the point of this is that if you want to succeed with a prospective client, then you need to be not only displaying confidence and competence, but that confidence should be fundamental – in other words, you really need to believe in yourself.

I’m sensing a common theme…

As I was writing this post, I realized that it overlaps with a few other things that I’ve written on here – almost a year ago I wrote about the Secret Ingredient to Success being confidence.

I think it also ties into the importance of being yourself, only dealing with the truth and really being Transparent when it comes to what you do and how you do it.  Confidence – real confidence comes from really having a solid foundation and playing on your strengths.

Not only will an approach of confidently being yourself, understanding how you can help people and a belief in what you do (and what your product can do) really help you when you’re selling to people, it’s also a lot more fun!

We didn’t spend a lot of time on this topic with Verne, but the obvious question is ‘How do I build up my confidence?’.    Here are some quick thoughts that we tossed around:

1.  Know what you want to do.

Have a clear picture of what you’re offering, what your product or service looks like – keep it simple and be able to confidently and easily describe that to other people.

2.  Play off of your strengths

More than likely you are really good a several things – presumably that’s a big reason why you do what you do.  Take an inventory of those strengths (do this on a regular basis and get feedback from other people) and develop your product or service talking points especially around those strengths.  Don’t ignore the other parts, but lead where your highest level of comfort is and everything else will become easier.

3.  Work on regularly getting feedback

Ask your clients what’s working (and what’s not).  Knowing that you have satisfied clients that really like what you do is a great thing!  Not only is it a confidence booster, but those testimonials (did I mention you should get that feedback in writing?) are a great way to share success with prospective clients.

4.  Have fun – don’t take it too seriously

Finally, it’s important to really try and enjoy yourself.  There are lots and lots of prospective clients out there.  If things don’t go well with one of them, learn what you can from it and then move on.  If you’re enjoying what you do, that will come across to people more powerfully than almost anything else you can do.

What do you do when you face the Tiger?  Share your thoughts here, I’d love to hear them.

Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach

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