6 business and personal hacks to get your next contract

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Lets face it. People spend money with people, not businesses. With that in mind, people spend money with the the market leaders, the winners, while everyone else fends for themselves.

What separates those at the top of their game and the rest of the field, is execution confidence. This is the confidence that comes with being established and successful, knowing you can command a decent price, execute the product or service required of you, and having enough left over to pay the bills, and then some. This, of course, comes with time, and is a by product of hustle. So how can you mimic this kind of confidence for you and your business?

The first step is always to believe you are an outstanding individual with an irresistable business opportunity. Once you believe it, others will too.

Success begets success, so to get there, you sometimes need to offer the perception of success to electrify growth. There’s two ways: Create a larger than life business presence, and deliver an impeccably electrifying personal self.

Learn how to deliver execution confidence
Learn how to deliver execution confidence

Supercharging Business Presence

If you’re in an industry where you have competitors, as most businesses do, sometimes its not enough to simply differentiate yourself from the competition. If your competitors have the market you want, you need to steamroll in, looking like the winner.

1. Invest in your online assets

Take a look at how your business is currently being presented online, and work out ways to amplify your image. This could be design, content or social media improvements, but will all work together to produce a much more professional impression:

Invest in your online assets
Invest in your online assets. Image courtesy juliapatriciaroy, Flickr
  • Website: This is where you will ultimately convert any leads you’ve worked to bring in, so it’s important you convey very clearly what your call-to-action is, on a website that’s visually appealing. People always eat with their eyes first, so give them something to enjoy, but not at the expense of people being able to easily doing what they came there for to begin with.
  • Blog: If you have a blog, start using it. If you don’t have a blog, get one. Nothing says ‘industry leader’ than a library of useful resources. There are so many benefits to blogging, it’s one of the most effective marketing tools you have at your disposal. Not only do you receive the benefit of your regular readers getting another article to read, but you give yourself some ammo for your social media posts, which in turn generate likes, shares and attention – indefinitely. That’s right, if you create evergreen content, that is, infinitely useful content, you’ll see the benefits of that content pay itself over time and time again. That’s because each time you publish a new post, that blog becomes another landing page for your site, listed on Google under specific keywords used within your article. The more relevant the blog and keywords within, the better your traffic from search engines and social media over time.
  • Facebook: Facebook is a highly effective tool in many ways, for two main reasons. Starting a Facebook Page is cool and whatever, but growing and nurturing a community on there is even more cool. This is because the community can drive the growth of the community itself, resulting in a serious brand presence for you on Facebook. This ofcourse does not happen overnight, and requires investing time and energy, but worth it in the end if your business is consumer-driven. The other benefit of Facebook is Facebook Ads. Here, you can create multiple variations of your ads and target them specifically to different geography and demography types, and even based on the types of keywords they use in their general Facebook posts. This allows you to target not only consumers, but also businesses if you so choose, which makes your brand become more relateable.
  • Twitter: There’s no exuse to not be using Twitter. It’s a vast sea of searchable chatter, that has immense benefits to any brand. On Twitter, you’re able to search out specific users or businesses within an industry, follow them and get more connected with your industry as a whole. You’re also able to search for the chatter around your potential lead-producing keywords. This becomes useful as you join in conversations and assert your leadership on the world’s largest public forum, resulting in profile views and subsequently clicks through to your website or blog.
  • Instagram/Pinterest: If you’ve got the luxury of posting visual posts, do it. Instagram is the most popular image posting networks on the planet, and used prolifically by tons of consumers. Many businesses are already seeing the benefits of posting behind-the-scenes and interesting stuff that lets their customers get a human feel for the brand. With Pinterest, creating boards and collecting inspiration (or producing content for others to collect and be inspired by), is the key. It has been widely reported that Pinterest has one of the highest conversion rates on the social web.

2. Call in favours and testimonials

Due to the fact no one likes to be the guinea pig, your business needs to look established. You should collect success stories along your business journey from everyone you’ve ever dealth with. This doesn’t necessary mean a transaction had to take place, but the people you come across that value what you do can help you. You can achieve this in a few ways:

Call in favours and get ahead
Call in favours and get ahead. Image courtesy brookehoyer, Flickr.
  • Logo Reel: It’s one of the quickest ways to add credibility to your website. The logo reel showcases all of the brands you’ve helped service along the way, as well as proving other brands actually deal with your business.
  • Media Reel: Similar to the logo reel, but this adds credibility with the fact you’ve been covered by the media. If you’ve got any newspaper or TV appearances, include these. If not get in touch with anyone you know in the media and see about getting some exposure. As an ex-journalist, I know what it takes to get some media airtime: newsworthiness. If you’ve done your own research that’s significant enough for some media space, leverage that.
  • Case Studies: Publishing case studies are an awesome way to publicise successes you’ve had with clients. Whenever you perform a campaign that yields positive results for them, ask the client for permission to showcase the before and after data and write about it. Even if the client doesn’t want their brand openly discussed, you can talk about ‘a client in [x] industry’. It’s a great way to show you get results.
  • Testimonials: Nothing delivers reputation like an explicit comment from a client. Including a testimonials section on your site, or asking for them on LinkedIn is an excellent way to tip those thinking about doing business with you over the edge.
  • Referrals: Perhaps the most effective method of driving new business. You can offer incentives for existing and new clients to refer others they know, or reach out to your contacts and simply ask them if they know anyone that’s in need of your services.

3. Always be prepared

Study your potential client, have all your collateral ready and act fast when putting proposals together. There’s a lot you can guage about who you’re meeting just based on what you can find online, which can arm you with the power to completely dominate the meeting and present your case with conviction and with the right amount of personality. Being well informed about the brand and the person you’re meeting on both a personal and professional level is an excellent way to become an exemplary version of a seasoned salesman.

Always do your background checks
Always do your background checks. Image courtesy ankarino, Flickr.
  • Website checks: The obvious place to start your research. You can guage their background, strengths and weaknesses, as well as decipher the types of clients they deal with.
  • Google checks: Running  a Google search on the company and the person you’re meeting will yield interesting results. You can uncover media coverage, reviews, and other ways they’re leaving a mark on the internet.
  • Facebook checks: While most people have their Facebook profiles locked down, it doesn’t hurt to type the full name of the person you’re meeting into Facebook search. Generally, the profile picture alone reveals a lot about that person, and how they are in their spare time.
  • Twitter checks: Active Twitter accounts often reveal a lot of information. For company accounts, you can guage how active they are, their type of personality and how they publicly deal with customers/clients. With personal Twitter accounts, you get an understanding of their interests and what motivates them to post publicly.
  • LinkedIn checks: Perhaps the search with the greatest yield. Here, a search of the person you’re meeting will unlock a mountain of information about the professional history of the person you’re meeting, and any supplementary professional data.

 

Supercharging Personal Presence

All that stands between you and a paycheck, is you. When you turn up for that big meeting, you need to make sure they’re blown away by you, and make them comfortable with who they’re going to spend their money with.

1. Dress for success

If you want the result, you need to look the part. Due to the fact first impressions always count, it’s important you wow on first appearance. Get professional clothes that fit really well and suit your body. Be bold, and make a statement with everything you wear, within reason. Dressing immaculately is equally for you as it is for the person you’re meeting. Knowing you’re dressed sharply boosts your own confidence which in turn will help you sell yourself better. Here’s some things to look out for:

Dress to impress and for success
Dress to impress and for success
  • Clothing Maintenance: Ensure no missing buttons, tears or creases in your clothes. Dry clean your key pieces regularly.
  • Quality Shoes: Shoes say a lot about the person wearing them, invest in a decent pair.
  • Blazers and Jackets: Wearing this shows you mean business, and makes you look significantly sharper.
  • Accessories: Bring tasteful and quality accessories that benefit how you’ll be perceived.
  • Hygeine: It’s the small things: keep your nails and hair tidy, and wear cologne or perfume that isn’t too overpowering.

2. Listen more

You shouldn’t be the one to do all the talking, so aim to have the person you’re meeting do most of it. Active listening is where you listen, and then ask questions that propel the conversation forward, and keep the original speaker talking. This shows massive interest. To become a better listener, try this:

Use active listening to get more out of a conversation
Use active listening to get more out of a conversation. Image courtesy danielcoy, Flickr.
  • Always pay attention to the speaker, and look them in the eyes.
  • Relax, but ensure the speaker knows you’re interested.
  • Keep your options open and embrace the speaker without judgements.
  • Keep them talking, and speak in gaps of their conversation (no interruptions).
  • Put yourself in their shoes and aim to emulate their mood/feelings.
  • Encourage the speaker often through the conversation.
  • Try to detect any non-verbal signs about the speaker.

3. Expand on details

For deeper, more connective conversations, it’s important to dwell on the little things and feel out the overall vibe of the conversation. This will allow the other person to feel more comfortable with you and will become more receptive to what you have to offer. You can do this by:

Get an ear for details and expand the conversation
Get an ear for details and expand the conversation.. Image courtesy lorigraphy, Flickr.
  • Touch on several small topics until you get a verbal or nonverbal cue to expand on what you’re saying.
  • Read up on industry news and current affairs so you’ve got them as icebreakers before you dive into the business.
  • Relate to everything you’re saying (and even things they’re saying), back to a personal experience. Stories get attention.
  • Include humour, but be careful with anything crass. Keep it classy.
  • Keep the conversation moving by talking with a positive view of things.

How about you? Do you have any tips to accelerate personal and business growth? Put them in the comments below!

 

~ Tomer Garzberg
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