Before They buy What You Say - 10 Steps To Selling Yourself
You are the product
We're all in the selling business whether we like it or not. It doesn't matter whether you're a lawyer or an accountant, a manager or a politician, an engineer or a doctor. We allspend a great deal of our time trying to persuade people tobuy our product or service, accept our proposals or merelyaccept what we say.
Most of the time we'll meet with resistance - "you're tooexpensive" or "we deal with someone else" or "I don't agreewith you" or "your proposal isn't good enough."
There are many things that people will say when they resistwhat you utter; however how many of these statements aretrue?
Salespeople hear - "you're too expensive" and they reducethe price. Managers hear "I'm not doing that" and theyresort to threats. Politicians hear "I don't agree with yourpolicy" and they try to rationalize.
It may just be that the people you're trying to persuadejust don't like - you.
Okay, so they don't necessarily dislike you, it's just thatthey haven't "bought" you. Before anyone will accept whatyou say they've got to like you, believe you and trust you. If you think about it, you are far more likely to believesomeone close to you than a person you've only known forfive minutes.
Just think for a moment about some of the people who comeinto your life. They could be people you work with, peopleon television, politicians or religious leaders. How much ofwhat they say is influenced by how you feel about them?
Before you can get better at persuading or influencing otherpeople - you need to get better at selling yourself. There are so many occasions in day-to-day life that makesthis so important. You might be trying to buy something at abetter price. Perhaps you're returning a product and knowyou'll face some resistance. Maybe you're just trying to geta member of your family to do something they're not so keento do. The task gets harder if you haven't sold yourself.
Every day of our lives we are selling ourselves, nothingwill happen until we are successful at doing that.
When we meet someone for the first time, be it a potentialcustomer, client or new colleague, they'll make a quickdecision about us.
I read some research by psychologists who established thatwe make around eleven decisions about other people withinthe first two minutes of meeting them. We tend to stick withthese decisions until proved otherwise.
It's therefore vitally important for us asbusiness people to get the other person to 'buy' us asquickly as possible.
Here are 10 steps to selling yourself:
# 1 - You must believe in the product
Selling yourself is pretty much like selling anything. Firstly, you need to believe in what you're selling. Thatmeans believing in 'you.' It's about lots of positive self-talk and the right attitude. I read somewhere that the firstthing people notice about you is your attitude. If you'relike most people then you'll suffer from lack of confidencefrom time to time. It really all comes down to how you talkto yourself. The majority of people are more likely to talkto themselves negatively than positively. And this is whatholds them back in life. There are books you can buy andcourses you can go on and I suggest you do.
It isn't just about a positive attitude; it's about theright attitude - the quality of your thinking. Successful business people have a constructive andoptimistic way of looking at themselves and their work. Theyhave an attitude of calm, confident, positive self-expectation. They feel good about themselves and believethat everything they do will lead to their inevitablesuccess.
Successful business people also have an attitude of caring. As well as caring for their own success they care aboutother people. They care about their products and theirservice and they really care about helping their customersmake beneficial buying decisions. One of the first things that people notice about you is yourattitude and successful salespeople exude friendliness, modesty and an air of self-confidence. They draw peopletowards them.
If you are in a sales job or a business owner or a managerthen you need to continually work on your attitude. You needto listen to that little voice inside your head. Is itsaying you're on top, going for it and confident, or is itholding you back. If you're hearing - "I can't do this or that" or "They won'twant to buy at the moment" or "We're too expensive" thenyou'd better change your self-talk or change your job.
Start to believe in yourself and don't let things that areout with your control effect your attitude. Avoid criticising, condemning and complaining and startspreading a little happiness.
Remember the saying of Henry Ford, founder of the Ford MotorCompany - "If you believe you can do a thing, or if you believe youcan't, in either case you're probably right".
# 2 - The packaging must grab attention
Like any other product we buy, the way the product ispackaged and presented will influence the customer'sdecision to buy. Everything about you needs to look good andyou must dress appropriately for the occasion. And don'tthink that just because your customer dresses casually, thatthey expect you to dress the same way.
The style and colour of the clothes you wear, yourspectacles, shoes, briefcase, watch, the pen you use, allmake a statement about you.
Another little tip -- when the person in reception at yourcustomer's office says "have a seat" -- DON'T! You don'twant to be the crumpled heap in the corner reading thenewspaper when your potential customer comes to greet you. You'll be the one standing in reception looking smart, sharp, poised, confident and ready to conduct business.
# 3 - Smile
No need to get carried away, you don't need a big cheesygrin, just a pleasant open face that doesn't frighten peopleaway. I meet so many people at different business functionsand some of them look so unfriendly, they scare me to death.
# 4 - Use names
Use the customers name as soon as you can but don't over doit. Business is less formal nowadays however be careful ofusing first names initially. It never fails to amaze me thenumber of salespeople I meet or talk to on the phone, whodon't tell me their name. Make sure your customer knowsyours and remembers it. You can do the old repeat trick -"My name is Bond, James Bond" or "My name is James, JamesBond"
# 5 - Watch the other person
What does their body language tell you? Are they comfortablewith you or are they a bit nervous? Are they listening toyou or are their eyes darting around the room. If they'renot comfortable and not listening then there's no pointtelling them something important about your business. Farbetter to make some small talk and more importantly - getthen to talk about themselves. It's best to go on theassumption that in the first few minutes of meeting someonenew, they won't take in much of what you say. They're toobusy analysing all the visual data they're taking in.
# 6 - Listen and look like you're listening.
Many people, particularly men, listen but don't show thatthey're listening. The other person can only go on what theysee, not what's going on inside your head. If they see ablank expression then they'll assume you're 'out to lunch'.The trick is to do all the active listening things such asnodding your head, the occasional "UH-HUH" and theoccasional question.
# 7 - Be interested.
If you want to be INTERESTING then be INTERESTED. Thisreally is the most important thing you can do to besuccessful at selling yourself. The majority of people arevery concerned about their self-image. If theysense that you value them, that you feel that they'reimportant and worth listening to, then you effectively raisetheir self-image. If you can help people to like themselvesthen they'll LOVE you.
Don't fall into the trap of flattering the customer, becausemost people will see right through you and they won't fallfor it. Just show some genuine interest in the customer andtheir business and they'll be much more receptive to whatyou say.
# 8 - Talk positively.
Don't say - "Isn't it a horrible day" or "Business is prettytough at present" or any thing else that pulls theconversation down. Say things like (and only the truth) - "Ilike the design of this office" or "I've heard some goodreports about your new product".
# 9 - Mirror the customer
This doesn't mean mimicking the other person, it just meansyou speaking and behaving in a manner that is similar to thecustomer. For example, if your customer speaks slowly orquietly, then you speak slowly or quietly. Remember peoplelike people who are like themselves.
# 10 - Warm and friendly
If you look or sound stressed or aggressive then don't besurprised if the other person gets defensive and less thanwilling to co-operate. If you look and sound warm andfriendly, then you are more likely to get a more positiveresponse. This isn't about being all nicey-nicey. It's abouta pleasant open face or a warm tone over the telephone.
Before we can start to get down to the process of sellingour product, our service or our ideas then we need to be assure as we can be - that the customer has bought us and thatwe have their full attention.