Can you really trust a tradesman?

The answer is, quite simply, yes.

The caveat of course is that it has to be the RIGHT tradesman. It’s very rare to meet someone who hasn’t had a bad experience with cowboy traders because there are so many of them about, and that means that the reliable, trustworthy businessmen and women of our local communities are often tarred with the same brush.

Maybe you’re familiar with this? you go meet with a client and they’re immediately on guard: do you have the right qualifications? do you have examples of past work? do you need money up front? these are questions posed to all business people but the answers given by tradesmen are often met with suspicion because the client has had a bad experience.

So what can you do about it? Show them the qualifications *check* bring your portfolio *check* carry testimonials *check* but what it really comes down to is your pitch and your professionalism.

And herein lies the problem. To win business you have to know how to present. The thing is, as a business person you’re somehow expected to magically know how to do this without ever being taught. Like so many areas of business, we’re seldom given guidance in the early days. You’ve trained long and hard to be a builder, a plumber, an electrician etc etc, but did anyone ever teach you business?

When I started my business I was fresh out of postgraduate studies. I knew my own field but what I didn’t know was how to run a business. The way I solved the problem was to research, to practice, to fail from time to time and to talk to experts.

That’s what it comes down to: finding someone who’s been there and done that and asking for their advice. Well when it comes to presenting I’m the expert and I’m offering you this advice:

Don’t wing it!

Don’t assume that you can just ‘chat’ your way through a pitch to a client, especially a commercial client. Any potential customer will have been certain to get multiple quotes and that means that your pitch could make or break the job for you. So here are my top three tips for presenting success:

RESEARCH: look into the company or client you’re seeing before the meeting and make sure you tailor your pitch to them – everybody likes to feel special and it helps them to know that you’ve taken time over preparing for your meeting

PRACTICE: This may not apply to domestic customers to the same extent but if you’ve got a presentation to give to a company then practice it, and run it by your colleagues or family to see how it sounds

BREATHE: remember that very few people actively enjoy public speaking. You’re going to get nervous and that’s ok. Just take a deep breath and take comfort in the fact that, no matter how new you are to presenting, you’re a seasoned pro when it comes to your specialism

If you’re still worried about presenting then seek advice from a public speaker. You know your trade and we know ours so let us help you to make a great impression and win new clients. That’ll be one less person with a ‘cowboy trader’ story to tell!

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