All young marketers have had that moment. That moment when a client asks a high-level marketing question you don’t know the answer to. Your mind starts racing and you feel sweat dripping down your forehead as you decide the best way to “fake it ‘til you make it.”
I remember taking my first client call on my own after just a few months at my digital marketing firm. I was terrified and my stomach tightened with anxiety as the clock ticked closer to the scheduled meeting time. Doubts, fears, and a flood of questions overwhelmed me.
What if I’m not able to answer one of their questions?
Or if they think I’m not qualified to handle their account?
What if they challenge our strategy?
These fears followed me into the call with my client but I managed to get through it without letting them sabotage me. I thought it would be a one time thing. But, sure enough, the next week, I was scheduled for ANOTHER solo call with my client.
This is going to be a regular thing, I thought.
In that moment, I realized I would need a strategy to get over my fear of being wrong or not being good enough in my client meetings. I needed to have an action plan that would have me feeling fabulous and confident going into each meeting.
Now, nearly one year later, I still struggle with anxiety before client meetings every now and then. But, these 4 tips have helped me boost my confidence with clients tremendously.
These days, I can handle 1.5 hour long calls on my own. I can travel to give strategy presentations to clients. I can go toe to toe with nitpicky, Type A clients, and I can have a good time doing it.
Here are 4 tips I use to feel confident in client meetings as a young marketer.
Dress for Success – Wear something that makes you feel powerful
There’s something about knowing you are killing the outfit game that takes your confidence to the next level. Even if your meeting is a conference call, you’ll still get an extra boost on the call knowing that you’re dressed like the qualified professional that you are. My go-to meeting outfit involves a fierce pair of heels and some brightly colored lipstick. It’s a winning combination.
Know That It’s Okay to Say “I’m Not Sure”
The idea that I didn’t know enough about marketing was enough to make my baby hairs curl up before my client meetings. But the truth is, you’ll never know EVERYTHING. It’s okay to not know everything about marketing. Trends are always changing and there are new tools coming out every day.
I was able to conquer my fear of not knowing enough by changing what I put my confidence in. Instead of feeling confident in solely my marketing knowledge, I learned to be confident in my ability find answers and solutions. As a young marketer, you may not have years of experience with every aspect of marketing.
But, thanks to live chat support, the internet, coworkers, and other resources, the answers to all of your marketing questions are within reach. If you become confident in your ability to find answers when you don’t have them, you’ll have no problem telling a client “I’m not sure about that, but I can find out.” It’s not a sign of weakness to say “I’m not sure.” It’s a sign of honesty, humility, and integrity.
Lead The Meeting
I know that the idea of leading a meeting that you’re nervous about may make you even more nervous. But, stick with me here.
When you lead the meeting instead of letting your client lead the meeting, you present yourself as the marketing expert, giving your client even more reason to see you as one, regardless of your age or years of experience in marketing.
Make an agenda. Put together a report. Share wins and analytics. Present your insights as a marketer and then open up the floor for questions and discussion. You’ll feel more confident answering the questions and sharing your marketing knowledge after showcasing your expertise and leadership by holding down the meeting.
Know That Your Leadership Believes in You. So, You Should Believe in You.
If your boss empowers you to lead a meeting on your own, it’s because she believes in you. If your boss gives you the freedom to communicate with and create strategy for your clients, it’s because he trusts you to do it. Believe in yourself because your boss believes in you. And that’s a big deal.
I hope these tips help you strut into the marketing world confidently. You are capable of learning, capable of growing and capable of leading your clients. So go and do just that!