"When attempting to sell yourself, it is better to have too high an opinion than the opposite." - Hunter Davis, The Sunday Times magazine - I agree, however, important to season with a dose of humility.
Over the years many non-facing-client professionals, insist they don't "sell." Often, they say this with an air of arrogance; as if selling is beneath them. When I question them about their internal customers, they tend to stare at me glassy-eyed. It's as if I'm speaking a foreign language. What I'm endeavouring to nail is the admission that selling doesn't have to mean insincere, dishonest or trying it on. It's just another fact about being in any business.
For instance, in my business the only product I really need to sell is me. Yes, I do have programmes and some very specific offerings. However, before I can get started on selling my products or services, I must first sell myself. That's the starting point we all have in common, yet so few seem to acknowledge this. Selling yourself is probably the most challenging aspect of selling. That's because most people are too self conscious, perhaps not confident enough, or just not used to selling themselves.
So let's begin with how one starts selling themselves effectively. First, acknowledge the fact that you are selling. Then decide how you'll go about it. It helps once we see selling as an expertise, because it is. And the better we get at it, the happier we'll be and our business will improve measurably. With genuine passion, enthusiasm and an optimistic attitude you are well on your way. It helps greatly if you really like the service or product you are providing. That way it's not hard work, it's a labour of love.
Existing customers and potential clients need to enjoy being around us, then they become more relaxed and affable. In short, they become more receptive towards us - this is an invaluable asset. Once they are on our side, they are bound to listen to us more intently. This opens an often closed, or even locked door. The customer lets us in. And once we're in we are given the opportunity to sell ourselves. The initial opening to our sales pitch is pivotal. Here, we must come across as personable, friendly, super professional and extremely knowledgeable.
It's vital in any form of selling, we know our product or service inside out. That means we need to know ourselves extremely well. After all, only by knowing ourselves well enough can we effectively sell ourselves. So ask yourself if you are customer friendly, do you communicate well, do you enjoy meeting new people? The most important question here is about communication. When we can communicate effectively, we are able to engage and build rapport. Our EQ (Emotional Intelligence) enables us to engage and encourage interaction.
So ask yourself how well you know yourself. Are your communication skills good enough, or do you need to improve them? Does your ego get in the way of allowing you to be authentic, even slightly vulnerable? Those who are able to sell themselves successfully do so, in part because they are not afraid to be seen as imperfect. This is because they know that being perfect is just illusion, conjured up by our ego.
Here are some tips I think you'll find helpful:
-Believe you have the wherewithal to successfully sell yourself
-Know that consciously or not, everyone at some point in their life, sells themselves
- Some of the most successful sell themselves: Oprah, Richard Branson, Nigella Lawson, Donald Trump
- Be empathetic so you can almost put yourself in the customer's shoes
- Be a great listener: the more you know about the customer, the easier it is to sell to them
- Endeavour to be authentic, it will enable you to be respected
- Enjoy effectively selling yourself, it'll lift self esteem and increase self confidence