It’s often easier for people to say no than yes to a candidate. Famous missed opportunities include:
- The Beetles were told by Decca records that guitar groups are on the way out and that they would have no future in show business.
- No less than twelve publishers rejected J.K. Rowlings 200-page script for Harry Potter.
- Apples third founder, Ronald Wayne, sold his Apple stock for 800 dollars. Hed been burned before and didnt want to take further risks. Today, his stock would have been worth more than 55 billion dollars.
People shy away from making mistakes. Agreeing to something that fails leaves them vulnerable to criticisms of their judgement. If they turn down an opportunity that doesnt go anywhere, no-one can question their judgement. If youre a candidate, expect to prove why others should invest in you.
Below are seven ways to do this…
1. Offer free advice
Tell people something they dont know or hadnt thought about, which highlights your knowledge and expertise. The idea is that others will see the added value you will bring. So wow them. Include new ideas, techniques, top tips, problems or credible research – anything that will elevate their thinking.
2. Talk about the awards youve won
Awards indicate that youve earned the distinction of being better than your peers. So use them! Ensure they are in relevant fields and have been given for your achievements with similar companies or organisations.
3. Give the names of companies youve helped
Its sad but true that most of us are easily impressed. Ensure the names you choose are peers of the person youre trying to impress or sufficiently big to provoke more than a whiff of admiration. Quantity is also important; the social proof afforded by the fact that you have worked with many companies makes it easier for others to say yes to you than if youve only worked with a few companies, as this suggests youve been accepted by others and are therefore a safe bet.
4. Use case studies
Case studies are a great way to show how youve succeeded with similar things before. A good tip is to start with the results achieved rather than the usual chronological order used in case studies: I helped XYZ company shave off £300,000 in costs by… Also, try and bring along strong, visual examples. If youre an architect, for example, you could bring along visual examples of your best projects, and articulate why those projects are outstanding. If youre an accountant, you could talk about how you saved a client a significant amount of money.
5. Bring in any publicity
Have you been written about? If you have, the likely interpretation is that you must be very good. Use relevant PR as another means of positioning yourself as better than your competitors.
6. Make use of testimonials
Testimonials are incredibly powerful – they give credible third party evidence that you can deliver. Its key to make sure testimonials focus on the impact you caused, rather than the work you did. For example, Thanks to the involvement of Geeks on the Go, we reduced our costs by £250,000. John Bursome, LMO Ltd.
7. Describe your superior process
Give an insight into how you work, and why your process is better than the alternatives. To do this, youll need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.
These suggestions are by no means exhaustive – but they do contain the sorts of things that encourage others to say yes. If you have nothing to show by way of evidence, youre unlikely to be considered a viable option. If your evidence is too generic, youre also likely to get a no. But if you have at least some of the proofs suggested in this list, youre much more likely to get a positive response – even a yes.