Finesse: How to overcome the issue of strengths vs. weaknesses

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The last blog challenged you to think about your biggest weakness, or reason why a client wouldn’t hire you. It then asked you how to handle this with clients.

Here’s my answer:

Every strength is a weakness and every weakness is a strength. Those who know how to finesse a weakness into a strength (and a competitor’s strength into a weaknesses) will get more clients than those who don’t.

The way to turn your weaknesses into strengths is by playing the “That’s exactly why you should hire me” game. Here’s how it works:

1. Client tells you a concern or perceived weakness.
2. You say, “That’s exactly why you should hire me.”
3. Finesse the reason why.

Here are some examples:

Client: You are too young, not even out of high school.
You: That’s exactly why you should hire me. I’m passionate about web design, whereas some older competitors might be a bit jaded, doing it by rote. Also, I know about the latest innovations to help you create a powerful web presence, whereas those who have been at it longer than me might be a bit rusty. Plus, I understand that some clients might be skeptical. That’s why I go out of my way to be flexible, responsive, and to do what it takes to delight you. Finally, overhead is not a big issue for me, so you’ll get a fair price for high quality work.

Client: You have no references from previous clients like me.
You: That’s exactly why you should hire me. I’m new to this business, and building a client base. While web designers with tons of references might take you for granted, I’m going to do everything possible to earn your trust and turn you into a reference.

Client: I don’t like you.
You: That’s exactly why you should hire me. Lots of people react negatively to my sometimes gruff personality. But that means I don’t have to worry about being popular. I can be objective, and focus on helping you achieve your business goals — even if it means giving you some tough advice. And, I have thick skin, and don’t mind if you tell me whatever is on your mind.

Client: You don’t seem committed enough to your business. After all, you are only at it part time.
You: That’s exactly why you should hire me. I am part time, and so I have to choose my clients carefully in order to manage my time. If we work together, you’ll be one of only a very few, select clients. That way, I can give you my full attention. Also, I don’t mind working weekends and through the night to get the job done for you, so you will find me even more accessible and responsive than full timers who work 9 to 5.

Okay, that’s enough for now. Almost nothing is absolute in sales and marketing. It’s all about creating perception. And that requires finesse.

So, do you have finesse or not?

Andrew NeitlichAndrew Neitlich
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