What if you could get others to agree to your point of view more often? Wouldn’t your freelancing business be better off?
Just imagine it. You’d be able get clients more easily. Your freelancing negotiations would go more smoothly. And in the long run, you’d have fewer complaints from clients after your projects were done.
Fortunately, there are some time-honored principles that you can use to become a more persuasive freelancer. In this post, I’ll share over seven “secrets” to help you persuade others.
Become More Persuasive
Persuading others isn’t what you think. It’s not what some unsavory freelancing “gurus” might have told you in the past. Persuading others is not about manipulation.
Sure, with manipulation you might be able to temporarily trick others into doing what you want. But in the long run, they would discover what you were up to. Your future ability to persuade the people that you once tricked would then be nil.
Instead, being persuasive is about developing good, healthy relationships with others, including your clients and prospective clients.
Here are more than seven relationship tips that will help you to become a more persuasive freelancer:
- Be Truly Interested In Other People. Learn as much as you can about clients and prospective clients. Try to understand what is important to them and why it is important. Care about them. Oh, and don’t even try to fake this one–people can tell when you’re just pretending to be interested in them. It has to be real.
- Listen Very Carefully. Most of us are so busy focusing on our own interests that we spend very little time really listening to others. If we do listen, we focus on what we want to hear and not the whole of what the other person is really trying to communicate. To really become persuasive, really listen. Focus on finding the meaning in what others say.
- Ask Thoughtful Questions. Not only does this show that you’ve been paying attention to the other person’s ideas, it’s also a great way to understand them better. Be careful though. Just like careful questions can show that you’ve been paying attention, careless questions can show that you have not. Don’t waste your client’s time.
- Give Credit Where Credit Is Due. Even the worst client has a few good ideas. As freelancers, our natural tendency is to jump right to the worst part and begin criticizing. But this is not an effective approach. Instead, acknowledge and praise those parts of the client’s suggestion that were worthwhile. Worthy compliments are always appreciated.
- Pick Your Battles Wisely. Understand which things are worth standing up for and which are not. If you are constantly nit-picking about things that aren’t really very important in the long run, the client will be less likely to listen to you about the really important issues. You’ll experience less stress too.
- Learn to Say You’re Sorry. Many freelancers hesitate to apologize because they think that it undermines their authority as an expert in their field. Nothing could be further from the truth. Clients (and prospects) know and appreciate that we are all only human and that it takes a big person to apologize for a mistake. Be that person.
- Be Trustworthy. When it comes to being persuasive, honesty really does pay off. Be someone that people can count on and you will ultimately have more influence with others. Be someone that clients can trust. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. If they can’t trust you, why would they listen to you?
- Bonus tip: Be Passionate. It really is true that passion is contagious. If you truly care about something, it shows. Others will pick up on that passion and be more likely to care about it too. Not only that, but you will find it easier to defend your position (but be careful not to become too defensive).
If you follow these tips, you may not instantly become more persuasive. But over time, your clients and prospects will learn to trust you more and place more value on your ideas and suggestions.
Are you already a persuasive freelancer? What tips and techniques can you add?
Share your thoughts in the comments.
Image by LawPrieR