Here’s something I've learned from talking to business owners:
People are more impressed by you when you talk about how to solve problems, not about how awesome you are.
This is true for talking with friends, communicating to your audience, and even in the workplace.
When it comes to looking for jobs or clients, you want to show that you share the same interests as your prospect. If you're interviewing for a company or applying for a job, acknowledge their efforts as a brand and what impact they are making in the market. Did they start a new Instagram page recently? Did they make some renovations in their store? What are your friends saying about the business? Let them know you notice all of the positive new changes they're making.
Also, sucking up doesn't work. Feel free to talk about some problems you're noticing with their business or ideas from the outside looking in. Not in an offensive way, but in a way that shows concern and interest in solving their problems. You want to let them know you're paying attention to them as a business or client and that you are interested in getting in on the action.
Listen for Pain Points
Freelancers, every time you meet a new potential client, listen to them carefully. Look for their pain points. You can always tell something is bothering someone if they bring it up multiple times throughout the conversation. That's where their demand is. That's where they need you to come in and team up with them against their problem.
Ask More Questions
For each of these scenarios, it's important not to approach them with a feeling of entitlement or ownership. You don't want to be blunt and direct, you want to show a little sensitivity to them. Most businesses or clients are passionate about their interests. You don't want to offend or turn people off with aggressive opinions or advice. It's always better to ask questions first before giving your perspective. This way, you could end up leading them to draw their own conclusions, which is even better. Starting your conversations with, "you should," or "you need to," without knowing the full context of a company's goals or problems will not get you the job. Recommending products and services that do not match the client's needs is a recipe for failure.
Suggest solutions other than yourself
Being of service doesn't mean YOU have to be the one that works with them directly. Let's say that you've listened to their story, you know what they need from you, but their budget is just too low for you to take on the job. You can still show goodwill by recommending someone who can work for them at that price point. They will remember you more for the effort you put into helping them rather than just walking away from the engagement. Then, if the other person they go with doesn't work out, they may save up to afford you later down the line. You never know, but you always want to leave the door open for new opportunities.
Make Love, Not War
If you're more interested in giving advice without listening to context, then you can use Twitter for that. If you want to offer different products and services than what your current clients are asking for, then find different clients. If not, you have to be flexible with the people that are interested in hiring you. Find a way for both of you to work together as a team. Think outside the box of simply doing work and try to be a problem solver instead. Looking for new work doesn't have to be a struggle. Companies and potential clients don't have to be your enemy. The goal is to show the client or company that you are on their side.
Here are the main takeaways:
Show that you both are on the same team.
Acknowledge the company or client's efforts.
Show concern and interest in solving their problems.
Ask more questions.
Let them draw conclusions on their own.
Offer them services, products, or skills that work best to fulfill their needs.
If you can't do it, then recommend someone else that can solve their problems.
Leave the door open to them for future opportunities.
Thanks for reading!