In the early days of my career, every once and a while my age came into question.
Before I'd even open my mouth, the client's mind was made up. I was young, so therefore I couldn’t be qualified enough.
In retrospect, some of them were probably right. I was young and hadn't been out in the 'real world' very long.
Now, in my 30’s, this doesn’t happen anymore.
Partially because I'm older. Partially because I've learned to be better equipped.
Being equipped for the situation isn't just about 'real world' experience. It's a combination of things that I learned over the years. Things that are crucial for any business meeting to come across as a credible choice.
Age is just a number. Credibility is everything.
Here are four ways you can be more credible for your next business/sales meeting.
1. Dress the part
Even if you're meeting with the local junk yard, you need to look professional. The way you present yourself is the first thing you will be judged on.
I've met guys that go to meetings with hoodies and baseball hats on. Can you guess how their meetings turn out?
2. Research and understand their industry
At this stage, you need to be able to talk the talk.
Even if you've never designed for this industry, that doesn't mean you're not qualified.
Do your research. Understand what's working and what isn't. Show your client that you know THEIR business.
3. Be confident
Lack of confidence is a deal breaker.
Would you hire someone that wasn't confident in what they were selling? I wouldn't.
Confidence tells the client you're the right person for the job.
4. Know the ROI
This is an investment for your client.
How will this project make them money? What goals will you help them reach?
Of course your design will look good - tell them about the ROI!
Avoid the anomalies...
Following these steps will significantly improve your success rate. No doubt about it.
But still, there will be anomalies.
These are the clients that 'know everything'. You know the ones... You can give them a million reasons why you're right, and it still won't matter.
They have a fixed mindset. They won't respect what you do. They'll haggle with you over every last penny.
At the end of the day, they likely won't be satisfied with what you've done for them. Even worse, you won't feel good about what you've done.
These are the moments that you need to walk away.
I know it's sometimes easier said than done, but if you can afford it, hold out for the next job.
Your time is valuable. You deserve better.
Has age ever been an issue for you?
Share your tips below so others can learn.