How to win over design clients when you’re #Awkward

interior designer business

Or how to believe your weirdness is your best asset

Earlier this week I had to go to a networking event, which for me is the equivalent of peeing my pants as a 7 year old in front of my entire grade 3 class. Awkward. Embarrassing. Becoming hyper aware of everything in body (Christa, did you seriously just twirl you hair? (Get it together.) And I know I’m not the only one who feels like this in situations where we have to put ourselves out there (also, does anyone else just hate the phrase “putting yourself out there”?)

But here’s the thing, if you work for a company and have clients to deal with, or you’re in sales, or you’re working for yourself and have to drum up your own business, you’re going to have to go to awkward networking events and put yourself in awkward situations to win over clients sometimes. And I want so badly to be the person who has the great introductions (“Christa, meet Jimmy. Jimmy owns a very cool software company that I can explain in great detail and is such a nice guy and just got back from a really great fishing trip!”). I think I can become that person, but I need to believe I can be that person.

For me, the biggest struggle in these situations is confidence. I am generally not the most confident person, and so I have a hard time opening up and making conversation because I’m worried about what people will think. But we need to believe in ourselves.
“You have everything you need within you to become the best possible version of yourself.  Believe that you CAN.  Believe that you’re capable of pushing harder and farther than you have before.  Believe that you’re young enough, old enough, smart enough and strong enough to achieve your goals.” – Marc and Angel

In my own head, I can make up so many reasons to not be confident, to not believe in myself, and to be my own worst critic. But no one is perfect. We all have our own set of quirks and insecurities and annoying personality traits (like being at a networking event and realizing you have a sweat mustache). But you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. You can prove to yourself that you can be charming even if you are sweating like you just came out of a hot yoga class. The only way to get to that point is to keep working on yourself and start becoming the person you want to become. ​

“You are an ever-changing work in progress.  You don’t have to always be right, you just have to not be too worried about being wrong.  Screwing up is part of the process.  Looking like a fool sometimes is the only way forward.  If you try too hard to impress everyone else with your “perfection,” you will stunt your growth.  You will spend all your time looking a certain way, instead of living a certain way.” – Marc and Angel

Because I’ve never been the most confident person, I’ve had a lot of people over the years tell me to “fake it until I make it”. And for years I resisted and resented this phrase. Why can’t I just be myself? Why can’t I be who I am and also be successful? But the “fake it ’till you make it” rule doesn’t mean you have to be a different person. It just means you sometimes need to act like you’re already the you that you want to become.
“Better to be known as a mouse with a backbone, rather than a lion with no spine.” – The Middle Finger Project

With all the Christmas parties coming up in the next month, I’m sure you’ll find yourself in one of these awkward situations. And when you do, just be you, the you who has a light coating of pixie dust (and maybe a drink) and who will make the future you proud. The you who knows that some people will find your hair twirl cute, and some people won’t. And everyone else will think it’s cool that you don’t actually care what they think of your hair twirl.

Pro-tip: having a system in place to help you manage client expectations with confidence once you land them sure can help. Why not get started with Mydoma Studio today for free?