How afraid of heights am I?
Well, let’s just say that if I were any taller, I’d be scared to stand up straight.
And so during a recent trip to Costa Rica, when my wife and two sons asked if I wanted to join them in a paragliding adventure, my first response was, “I believe you have mistaken me for somebody else.”
After all, if cleaning the leaves out of our house gutters (on the first floor) causes my hands to sweat, I can only imagine what kind of deluge of secretion would occur from a thousand feet up.
But, I thought about it for a little while and concluded that this is the kind of fun, family activity we would all be talking about for years – I didn’t want to miss out.
So, the next day, the four of us showed up at the pick-up spot and they drove us up the mountain.
If you’re not familiar (I wasn’t), paragliding – not to be confused with parasailing, sky diving, or hang gliding – involves strapping into a huge, rectangular parachute and jumping off a cliff. (Stand by, I need to dry my hands.)
The good news is that you are attached to another person.
Unfortunately, that’s also the bad news, because you just met this other person about 15 minutes ago and between you and me, they don’t even look old enough to drive.
But, as that celebrated Rubicon-crosser and daredevil in his own right, Julius Caesar, famously said, “the die is cast.” So off the cliff we went.
And you know what? Not scary at all. Quiet, peaceful, just kind of floating around until we landed gently on the beach below about 20 minutes later.
Trust is Not a Given
Since that day, I’ve given a lot of thought to trust (and life insurance). More specifically, what allowed me, with all my fears, to move ahead?
I think it came down to three things, all of which also relate to how prospective clients decide to commit (or not) and work with professional service providers like us…
From the quality of their web site, to the confident way they talked, to the obvious care they took in setting up the gear and getting me strapped in, I knew I was in the hands of experts.
For example, my guide said, “The parachute is going to lift up, it’s going to pull us back a few steps, and when I tell you, we run forward and over the edge.” Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.
Your prospective clients are likewise eager to experience your confidence. And while hiring you may not be as frightening as jumping off a cliff, rest assured they too have concerns.
Which means that you need to remove any red flags from the way you present. Things like…
… using a Gmail address instead of a custom domain;
… having a web site that looks like it was built in 1994 by your 12-year-old nephew;
… not being clear and confident when explaining how you work, how you price, how the project is going to unfold, etc.
The more confidence you can demonstrate, the more likely they are to lock in and run with you.
#2. Original Content.
The paragliding company’s web site isn’t just staff bios, FAQs about logistics, and explanations of how paragliding works – although it has all that.
It is also filled with video. But not generic paragliding video – it’s custom video of the exact same location with the exact same guides. More confidence, more trust building.
The analog (SAT word!) in your professional service business is original content. So while it’s fine and necessary to show credentials, process, experience, etc., none of that gives me a window into how you actually think.
Blogs, newsletters, special reports, free downloads, original videos … all of these things that you create and share, do.
A quick check of Trip Advisor for Zion Paragliding revealed 168 five-star reviews out of 171 reviews given. Granted, it’s kind of a binary thing, since presumably, those who would have left one-star reviews are all dead.
Nevertheless, reviews – or testimonials in our world – are very compelling. They are mini-case studies of people who took the leap and are happy they did.
You don’t need a million of these – 5, 6, 10? But the more you have on your web site and LinkedIn profile, the more confidence a prospective client will feel in deciding that you are a worthwhile investment.
Here’s the bottom line.
A quote that sustained me in my early days working for myself was, “Leap and the net will appear,” from the book, The Artist’s Way.
It’s a great motivator for risk-taking and back then it helped me believe that walking away from a secure job and paycheck was a good idea.
But the truth is, it doesn’t make a lot of practical sense. Most people – your prospective clients among them – first want to have a good look at the net.
The more you can do to assure them that it’s safe, secure, and maintained by someone who actually knows what they are doing, the faster and more likely they are to sign on.
See you at the landing spot!
- Have you ever gone paragliding? Where did you do it?
- You have to admit, “Deluge of Secretion” would be a pretty good band name.
- How big a role does trust play in your getting hired?
Share your answers below…