As a small business owner, especially one is a consulting role, it is important that you show enough confidence in your abilities and expertise that your clients and prospective clients will perceive you as knowing what you are talking about. After all, if they don’t think you know more than they do, why should they hire you?
However, it is also important to remain flexible in how you deliver your services. Many consultants offer customized services to business owners. What works for one client might not be and usually isn’t the same approach that will work for another client. Every client has specific needs that you as the consultant will need to understand completely and be able to create the best strategy for their specific situation.
In addition to being flexible, good consultants will be able to “read” their clients by actively listening to them and making sure they totally understand what their needs are as well as their individual “style” This is particularly true for website copyrighters. There are certain universally agreed upon “rules” of website copy but there are also some gray areas that are open to interpretation. It is pretty much agreed that you have just a few seconds to attract and retain a website visitor’s attention before they move onto the next website. It is therefore imperative that your copy grab their attention so that they will keep reading. It is also important to state who you are in the first few sentences of your copy because again, if someone has to search all over your site to find out what your company does – you will lose that visitor. No one wants to have to work hard to determine if your company’s offerings fulfill their need. Make it easy for them and clearly state close to the top of the page what your brand is.
One of the gray areas might involve how much detail a business owner wants to go into on his/her company website. Some small business owners have a difficult time honing in on their exact offerings and in keeping their content to a minimum. There is so much they want to say but the harsh reality is that even though they might want to “say” it, most people don’t want to read it. This is where the ability to “read” your client comes into play and where you need to show confidence while remaining flexible.
Explain to your client the reasons behind your suggested strategy and back it up with substantive and clearly understandable reasons. Show them that you know what you are talking about. Using the website copywriting consultant example again, your client might want to go into much more detail than you think is necessary or even advisable. Be flexible and work with your client. A suggestion for a copywriting consultant whose client wants to go into a lot of detail is to offer an alternative. They can keep the main page content brief and include a “read more” option where they can use that detailed information for those who are interested in reading further. In my experience, this technique has been successful.
Remember, your client hired you because you have expertise that they don’t have. Be sure to show your confidence to your clients but also remember to be flexible when and if the situation calls for it.
Article first published as How to Remain Flexible and Exude Confidence at the Same Time on Technorati.