Introverting Like a Boss: Honesty is Key
For the past 9 weeks I've been writing an email series about entrepreneurship from an introverted perspective. It's for introverts, mostly, but to be honest it could easily to apply to extroverts as well. Here is email #9.
I just got off an inspiring call with a client who was looking to hire me for some of my editing work. The thing is, I felt strongly that her best medium was going to be through video and not writing, and I wasn't sure if the better thing would be to simply to tell her that, or work for her awhile and let her discover it on her own.
But I couldn't let her spend all that money for something that I didn't feel would be a good fit for her, so I put on my consulting hat and told her I thought she would rock the world through making videos, not blog posts. She has stage presence, she has vitality and energy, and she and her husband have a unique approach to teaching others how to live in life and marriage. I felt those qualities would not shine through as brightly or efficiently through blogging.
It was the right call. She told me that video is what she has been thinking of doing and this advice confirmed it. I lost a project, and gained trust. I know that down the road she will sing my praises to anyone looking for a writer, consultant, or editor because I was honest with her even when there was nothing it in for me.
Honesty is still the best policy.
I have to add that I've been part of this client's journey for several years and have worked for her in the past, so I had the inside scoop on what she is trying to do and could speak into that. That's not the case with everyone, but part of giving everyone stellar service is getting to know them. We should always be expanding and growing, but the best clientele and marketing will always be those who are sold on our work already. The only way to do that is through convincing them that we will always do the right thing by them, and deliver on that.
We tend to think that the professional world operates as strictly business, and we've all heard the term "it's just business, don't take it personally." On some levels that is true, but in the entrepreneurial, small business world it doesn't work that way most of the time. People want to know three things about you:
- Honesty: they want to know that you (or your business) are trustworthy, and believe me, if you're not honest, your business won't be trustworthy.
- Integrity: they want to know that you operate ethically, with consideration for morality and truth. No one wants to be taken in a by a con or indirectly support something hateful, like child pornography.
- Ability: they want to know that you can do what you're promising to do.
Fail on any of these, and you will burn many bridges. The thing is, all of these principles are based on honesty. People trust honest. People believe honest. People hire honest, trustworthy, honorable business men and women because they believe you will have the bottom line and best interests at heart for both of you.
Be honest. Be wise. Get to know people and let them get to know you. Not in an invasive "I-want-to-know-your-personal-life" way, but in what is the vision for their business? What led them to start on their career? What drives them to continue? What is the best way you can help that grow with your service?
Always let honesty guide your business, not let business guide your honesty.