When people say “We are all in Sales”, do you hear something that has nothing to do with selling yourself? You might be translating what you hear into, “everyone in this organisation plays a role in making the sale.”
While that is true, that tired phrase is also a reminder that you are working to achieve an end goal, and no matter who you are or what that goal is, sales techniques are valuable. Regardless of your professional responsibilities, during your career you will have goals that sales techniques can help you achieve. Whether it is a great idea for a new project or concept, or your preferred choice for vacation time – achieving these goals is sales.
Probably the single most important thing you will ever have to sell is yourself, and unlike other sales campaigns, this one never ends; you are the one product that you will always have, and always have to sell. Yes, you will change and develop throughout your career, but you will still be selling the same product, even if it is an updated model. Given this, we’d assume everyone would become an expert at selling themselves quickly, but the opposite is true. Instead, people are intimidated by the concept of selling themselves. So what’s the big deal? What’s so difficult about selling yourself and your ideas?
A positive state of mind is so important when you are about to go after your target. Studies show that people make decision about whether they like you or not in as little as 7 seconds (or less!!) upon your first encounter. That is barely enough time to say, ‘Hello!!’. Your first impression, whether positive or negative, is a lasting impression and although the colour of your suit, shiny shoes or wind-blown hair matters, what you are thinking just before that first encounter is almost as important as what you are wearing. Your thoughts will influence the subtle cues you give in your tone of voice and body language, which in turn, influence the other party’s decision making. A couple of good examples of positive phrases are ‘The early bird gets the worm’ – used by many salespeople, or from Mark Twain, ‘The harder I work, the luckier I get.’
Tip: Spend some time ‘designing’ a positive thought that works for you. It can be a phrase such as, ‘Wow!!! Today is going to be a great day!!’ or thinking about your favorite beach. Whatever you choose, create a full, believable positive thought, in detail, that you can repeat to yourself often. When you get up in the morning and before you enter the office each day, think that positive thought, or better yet, repeat it to yourself three times!!
Choosing the first words that you say to a manager or executive carefully can leave a very good impression. Think about your ‘target market’ – those people who will help further your goals. The people we ‘sell’ to (our ‘target market’) usually have a certain amount of decision-making power. That can make us vulnerable, nervousness or self-consciousness during encounters, but if we think in terms of what their needs are, we can reframe our ‘pitch’ to helping someone else. This reduces the ‘nervous selling’ quotient of the equation.
When thinking about selling yourself and your ideas, you must also consider how your talents align with your target market. When you meet an executive in the hallway or elevator, you should be able to tell them who you are, what you do (in terms of energizing the organisation [see Power House below]), and how that relates to one of their ‘needs’.
Tip: Think about their goals for their division or the overarching goals of your organisation and tailor your ‘pitch’ to include how you use your talents to further those goals.
Have you ever met someone who exudes a type of energy that makes you want to stick around long after the event or meeting has concluded? Even though you have work piling up and deadlines calling? These people have found the sweet spot between who they are, what they do, and your needs.
In sales, there is a ‘sweet spot’ that creates enormous potential. It is the convergence of the features of the offering (service or product) with the need of the customer and the personality of the salesperson. It is usually represented with this simple VEN diagram.
Of course, we all having things that we are good at, and things that we must improve … that’s just part of the job. But each person has things that they do well, naturally, almost without thinking; things they love to do. Those activities bring energy and excitement to you and the people around you. My favourite example of a powerhouse force is Zig Ziglar. He was one of the original motivational speakers and with quotes like the ones below, you can tell why he became so popular.
You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.
Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.
Power-House Tip: If you don’t know what your Power-House talents are, ask a few people close to you or keep a journal. Note all of the things that people ask for help with or request your advice for during 1 or 2 weeks. At the end of the week(s), read the list and see if you can determine any trends or clear indications of your strengths.
Selling Yourself Success
Selling yourself and your ideas can be daunting, but with the right attitude, preparation and approach, you can have some fun and make a winning impression, every time!!