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Advice from George Clooney

When personally contacting prospects for freelance and consulting services, concentrate on helping them rather than whether they “like” you.

Actor George Clooney said something simple yet profound in the September 25 issue of Parade, the Sunday newspaper insert.

He noted that he had been “proficient at failure,” but that he had learned from failure how to do better next time.

In regards to his acting career, he told the interviewer that:

I had to stop going to auditions thinking, “Oh, I hope they like me.” I had to go in thinking I was the answer to their problem. You could feel the difference in the room immediately.

This advice applies perfectly to contacting potential clients about freelance and consulting services.

This certainty that we offer a service that clients need inspires us to keep phoning and otherwise reaching out when we start feeling tired or bored or discouraged.

This confidence also helps solve the problem of deciding exactly what we should say. To script out everything carefully and then try to memorize words the sales experts say should work pressures us to strive for perfection in the hope of impressing them. The more we hope they like us, the more timid and fearful we feel, stumbling over our words and tormented by any slip-ups.

“What impression am I making?” we wonder. Or worse yet, “Do they resent my wasting their time?” “Are they sorry they answered the phone?” “Are they going to swear at me or hang up on me?”

Instead, let’s remember that we’re calling to offer help to prospects in solving their problems.

Let’s focus on our mission—to benefit our clients.


Originally posted 9-26-11

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