Every time we meet potential clients, we have to prove ourselves. They’re sizing us up and assessing whether we’re the right fit for them. Here’s a cheeky question. Would you hire yourself? My quick reply is of course I’d hire myself. Why wouldn’t I? Here’s a list of my qualities and skills:
- A calm and inquisitive nature
- Good listener
- Sense of humor
- Meets deadlines
- Six years in business and a proven track record
- Testimonials and references from previous clients
- Prior life and work experience that shows a connection to my current interest in personal histories
- Membership in two professional associations – the Association of Personal Historians and the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association.
This sounds like a pretty good list. Right? But here’s the catch. What’s missing? Some years ago I did a little self-examination that revealed some cracks in this otherwise “sterling” picture of myself. And to be honest, these weaknesses contributed to the loss of potential clients. Here’s what my analysis revealed:
- I was focusing more on “selling” rather than “soliciting the needs” of the client.
- I failed to show samples of my work.
- I wasn’t precise and clear about my pricing.
- I didn’t offer alternative personal history products that clients might find more within their price range.
- I failed to show my passion for recording life stories.
I’ve since worked on these weak points and can now claim that I’m almost perfect. But seriously, we all need to do a periodic self-examination and ask, “Would I hire myself?” You might be surprised at what you find.
It’s your turn to shine a light on your abilities and shortcomings as a personal historian. Here are some questions to get you started:
- Have you a body of work you’re prepared to show potential clients?
- Do you get projects delivered on time?
- Are you clear about your fees and how they’re structured?
- Do you have a “stick with it” attitude or give up easily?
- What have you done in the past six months to keep up with changing technologies?
- Do you belong to any professional associations? How active are you in them?
- Do you present yourself in a professional manner?
- Are you a good listener and able to empathize with people?
- How much experience do you have in running your own business?
- Do you have testimonials available for distribution?
- Do you offer a variety of products and services?
- How do you show passion for your work?
What other questions could you ask yourself? Please share your comments. I always enjoy hearing from you.
Photo by Visionello
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