Congratulations! A client with a big budget and a need for your kind of services has called you back for a second talk. You’re excited and a little nervous, too. There’s a lot riding on this interview—maybe this is a prestige client who will help you attract still more prestige clients? Maybe you have bills to pay and this assignment is your ticket to solvency?
Whatever your motive, you’re nowhere unless you ace the interview and sign the contract. You’re delighted that the conversation is rolling along nicely until out of the blue, your prospect throws a last-ditch, mundane and yet potentially flummoxing question at you: “Why should I hire you for this project?”
Most of us will flap our jaws aimlessly and ramble on about the value-added we bring, our work ethic, excellent customer service or deep expertise. All of these benefits are positive but in today’s hyper-competitive economy, a Solopreneur consulting specialist must make a stronger case. We need to make the client salivate to have us on board.
As luck would have it, there are some good answer templates available and they will make you shine. These templates give the prospect the confidence to open the door and bring you onto the team. You maximize the impact by replying in a relaxed tone, keeping your answer clear and simple and avoiding the use of jargon.
Interview coach and author of Convince Them in 90 Seconds (2010) Nicholas Boothman suggests that you try something like this:
“You know how an outside specialist has to be flexible and ready for the unpredictable? Well, I know how to adapt to changes, I have initiative and I can cover a lot of bases, so your team members will be able to concentrate on what they do best and I can take care of the other stuff that needs to get done.”
You might also try something suggested by business journalist Geoffrey James, author of Business Without the Bull (2014):
“You know how sometimes you can’t find top talent to bring on when you need them most? Well, I have ( x amount of) years of experience in (whatever field) that will let me solve your (problem or need) and get the right solution up and running in a short time frame. When you hire my organization, you won’t have to spin your wheels searching for talent and you’ll avoid the risk of hiring the wrong person.”
Here’s a cool little retort for the Solopreneur consultant who has not seen age 35 in a decade or more and it works whether one is speaking to a Baby Boomer, Gen X, or Millennial:
“You know how sometimes people can get into emotional battles over how to approach a problem? One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is how to bring these kind of conflicts to a quick resolution. If I’m on your team, you’ll not only get an experienced (name the specialty), but also someone with perspective, who can guide a team away from butting heads and toward getting the work done.”
Note that your answer positions you as the solution to the client’s problem or need and that is precisely how you want to be perceived, for that is why you will get hired. You may devise other answers that more closely reflect the circumstances of your field.
Anticipate the question “Why should I hire you for this project?”in advance of your next client meeting and think of scenarios that will help you answer in a way that focuses on the client and how you can make his/her life easier.