Last week, like most weeks, a recurring theme among the consultants I advise was confidence. It sounded like this: “I’m not confident enough in my offering, abilities, value, or sales skills choose one] to win more revenue.” The same insecurity was voiced by startup consultants and multi-million dollar producers alike. Is the connection between confidence and rainmaking a myth? Uhm, no. That one’s true. But I’ll tell you what is a myth:
“Confidence is about you. If you examine yourself and your beliefs about your offering, abilities, value, or sales skills [choose some], you’ll realize you are worthy and deserve more clients…so go out there and win them!”
Hogwash. Balderdash. Poppycock. Horsefeathers. [Choose one]
Confidence isn’t about you; the lack of confidence is about you. To be more precise, your self-confidence issues stem from you thinking too much about you. My self-confidence issues stem from me thinking too much about me. Donald Trump’s self-confidence issues don’t exist; they have no stem.
The irony of flagging self-confidence is it’s an entirely inward-focused phenomenon. We’re only bothered by our weak offering, run-of-the-mill abilities, unproven value and shaky sales skills because we’re worried about failing. And failing feels bad. To us. Not to clients, who couldn’t care less if we lose a project.
Stop worrying about yourself, stop judging yourself, stop comparing yourself to others, and stop trying to protect yourself from a bruised ego. That may not bolster your confidence, but it will release the senseless ballast that’s weighing your practice down.
To re-iterate: self-confidence is important. Critically important. And virtually every independent consultant struggles with their confidence now and again. When you hit one of those rough patches, can you just ignore the problem or wish it away? Of course not. But…
The solution isn’t introspection. Boost your self-confidence by reflecting less on yourself and more on your targets’ problems and aspirations. You’ll find your confidence soars when you’re on the exact same wavelength as your prospects.
We’re in a service—not “serve us”—profession.
Is your offering powerful? Maybe, maybe not. Ask some prospects. Design your offering to address their needs, not your skill sets. When your practice focuses on them (those you serve), not you, your offering will be solid. And you’ll know it.
Are your abilities strong enough? Probably. Ask some clients whether your skills are sufficient to solve their problem. Successful consulting is not about whether you are superior to someone else; it’s about whether you can help deliver the outcome they (those you serve) need.
Is your value proven? Again, turn to those around you for counsel and guidance. You are not the arbiter of your worth (in consulting). That’s wholly the purview of the clients and prospects you serve. The myth is you can get in touch with your value by looking deep inside. The truth is, you don’t adjudicate value, so jettison the mirror.
Your focus during any consulting sales conversation can be on you or the prospect. Choose one. Which one? The prospect, of course. With your attention fully on the people you’re serving, your self-confidence issues will dissipate. And that’s no myth.
Immediate action question: What will you choose to do today to get in better touch with your prospects and their issues? (Write your answer as a comment at the bottom of this post.)
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.