Liar, liar, pants on fire!
For those of us -- ahem -- seasoned pros, we're supposed to have handled every type of engagement, right? Our prices are set to match our marketplace tenure, right? We want to be recognized for our experience, right?
OK. Tell the truth. You HAVEN'T done it all, have you? There are some types of assignments you HAVEN'T actually worked on. Professional service marketers and business developers know that seriously UNCOMFORTABLE feeling when a potential client asks: "Have you ever done this type of work before?" or "Have you worked for a firm like ours before?" (And we know how critically they need us to proclaim, "OF COURSE!")
Last month I had two such moments. Prior to the inevitable questions, I had made a decision not to try to fake it in any way, but to tell the unvarnished truth. (Which is good, because I'm a lousy liar.) I said, "Well, no, I have not worked for a firm like yours before."
Both times, I forced myself NOT to rush ahead with a too-anxious, too-glib explanation. I waited and waited, for what seemed like eons, for the inevitable replies, "Uh ... well ... then, what makes you think you could help us?"
Both times, I had carefully prepared my answers. I tried to think ahead about what would reassure these potential clients that I could indeed help them. I addressed my shortcomings with my heart in my throat.
And, incredibly, both times, I got hired for important marketing strategy engagements -- without having to give references (another shocker).
OK all you professional services marketing and selling gurus -- why did these great clients hire me?