Tell the truth. Have you ever wanted people to think that you were a little more successful/happy/accomplished than you really were? Motivational speakers are notorious at this. Walk the halls of one of our annual conferences and you'd think we were all making $500K per year, turning away jobs left and right and treated like rock stars every where we go.
Why? Because there's this little voice inside almost everyone that says, "If you want to be successful, then you have to appear already successful."
No, I don't think I'm demanding or think I'm ALL THAT, by any means. But she referenced how people had told her that she should get someone else to answer her business phone or she would appear too needy – and that she refused. In essence she said she wanted her clients and potential clients to know that they were important to her and she wanted to connect with each one on a personal, meaningful level.
And that's when I thought she was talking specifically to me. You see…ahem…there was a time very early in my career when I fell victim to the "have someone else answer your phone, so people will think that you are so successful you have a full time assistant" belief. But I wasn't successful. And I couldn't possibly afford an assistant. So I …ahem… sort of created one.
Her name was Olivia and she was British. And since I, Linda, studied accents and dialects in graduate school, it wasn't difficult for me to find Olivia lurking in some cozy corner of my brain looking for full self-expression. So for a few days I just kind of let her answer the phone. I discovered that she was extremely chatty and quite personable . She was creating some fabulous relationships with people and they seemed to LOVE her. But after I while, I (Linda) couldn't remember exactly what she had told to whom! She was beginning to take on a life of her own and was making mine quite stressful! And we started having arguments about who was the flippin' boss and was signing her check, afterall. So after a while, I gave her a pink slip and let her go. She wasn't particularly happy about it either. And I was NOT about to give her a reference letter…
But, I did learn a valuable lesson – and it was EXACTLY what Kelly had said in her post. People want to do business with people they LIKE! And they can't LIKE you if they don't know you. So pick up the phone! Have a conversation with your potential client, and let them get to know who you REALLY are. I love the fact that I can do that every time the phone rings.
I just don't tell them about Olivia.
Motivational speaker, Linda Larsen (LOL from now on)