Posted Saturday, January 29, 2005
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 all spend a great deal of our time trying to persuade people to buy our product or service, accept our proposals or merely accept what we say.
Most of the time we'll meet with resistance - "you're too expensive" or "we deal with someone else" or "I don't agree with you" or "your proposal isn't good enough."
There are many things that people will say when they resist what you utter; however how many of these statements are true?
Salespeople hear - "you're too expensive" and they reduce the price. Managers hear "I'm not doing that" and they resort to threats. Politicians hear "I don't agree with your policy" and they try to rationalize.
It may just be that the people you're trying to persuade just don't like - you.
Okay, so they don't necessarily dislike you, it's just that they haven't "bought" you. Before anyone will accept what you say they've got to like you, believe you and trust you. If you think about it, you are far more likely to believe someone close to you than a person you've only known for five minutes.
Just think for a moment about some of the people who come into your life. They could be people you work with, people on television, politicians or religious leaders. How much of what they say is influenced by how you feel about them?
Before you can get better at persuading or influencing other people - you need to get better at selling yourself. There are so many occasions in day-to-day life that makes this so important. You might be trying to buy something at a better price. Perhaps you're returning a product and know you'll face some resistance. Maybe you're just trying to get a member of your family to do something they're not so keen to do. The task gets harder if you haven't sold yourself.
Every day of our lives we are selling ourselves, nothing will happen until we are successful at doing that.
When we meet someone for the first time, be it a potential customer, client or new colleague, they'll make a quick decision about us.
I read some research by psychologists who established that we make around eleven decisions about other people within the first two minutes of meeting them. We tend to stick with these decisions until proved otherwise.
It's therefore vitally important for us as business people to get the other person to 'buy' us as quickly 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. That means believing in 'you.' It's about lots of positive self- talk and the right attitude. I read somewhere that the first thing people notice about you is your attitude. If you're like most people then you'll suffer from lack of confidence from time to time. It really all comes down to how you talk to yourself. The majority of people are more likely to talk to themselves negatively than positively. And this is what holds them back in life. There are books you can buy and courses you can go on and I suggest you do.
It isn't just about a positive attitude; it's about the right attitude - the quality of your thinking. Successful business people have a constructive and optimistic way of looking at themselves and their work. They have an attitude of calm, confident, positive self- expectation. They feel good about themselves and believe that everything they do will lead to their inevitable success.
Successful business people also have an attitude of caring. As well as caring for their own success they care about other people. They care about their products and their service and they really care about helping their customers make beneficial buying decisions. One of the first things that people notice about you is your attitude and successful salespeople exude friendliness, modesty and an air of self-confidence. They draw people towards them.
If you are in a sales job or a business owner or a manager then you need to continually work on your attitude. You need to listen to that little voice inside your head. Is it saying you're on top, going for it and confident, or is it holding you back. If you're hearing - "I can't do this or that" or "They won't want to buy at the moment" or "We're too expensive" then you'd better change your self-talk or change your job.
Start to believe in yourself and don't let things that are out with your control effect your attitude. Avoid criticising, condemning and complaining and start spreading a little happiness.
Remember the saying of Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company - "If you believe you can do a thing, or if you believe you can't, in either case you're probably right".
# 2 - The packaging must grab attention
Like any other product we buy, the way the product is packaged and presented will influence the customer's decision to buy. Everything about you needs to look good and you must dress appropriately for the occasion. And don't think that just because your customer dresses casually, that they expect you to dress the same way.
The style and colour of the clothes you wear, your spectacles, shoes, briefcase, watch, the pen you use, all make a statement about you.
Another little tip -- when the person in reception at your customer's office says "have a seat" -- DON'T! You don't want to be the crumpled heap in the corner reading the newspaper 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 cheesy grin, just a pleasant open face that doesn't frighten people away. I meet so many people at different business functions and 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 do it. Business is less formal nowadays however be careful of using first names initially. It never fails to amaze me the number of salespeople I meet or talk to on the phone, who don't tell me their name. Make sure your customer knows yours and remembers it. You can do the old repeat trick - "My name is Bond, James Bond" or "My name is James, James Bond"
# 5 - Watch the other person
What does their body language tell you? Are they comfortable with you or are they a bit nervous? Are they listening to you or are their eyes darting around the room. If they're not comfortable and not listening then there's no point telling them something important about your business. Far better to make some small talk and more importantly - get then to talk about themselves. It's best to go on the assumption that in the first few minutes of meeting someone new, they won't take in much of what you say. They're too busy 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 that they're listening. The other person can only go on what they see, not what's going on inside your head. If they see a blank expression then they'll assume you're 'out to lunch'. The trick is to do all the active listening things such as nodding your head, the occasional "UH-HUH" and the occasional question.
# 7 - Be interested.
If you want to be INTERESTING then be INTERESTED. This really is the most important thing you can do to be successful at selling yourself. The majority of people are very concerned about their self-image. If they sense that you value them, that you feel that they're important and worth listening to, then you effectively raise their self-image. If you can help people to like themselves then they'll LOVE you.
Don't fall into the trap of flattering the customer, because most people will see right through you and they won't fall for it. Just show some genuine interest in the customer and their business and they'll be much more receptive to what you say.
# 8 - Talk positively.
Don't say - "Isn't it a horrible day" or "Business is pretty tough at present" or any thing else that pulls the conversation down. Say things like (and only the truth) - "I like the design of this office" or "I've heard some good reports about your new product".
# 9 - Mirror the customer
This doesn't mean mimicking the other person, it just means you speaking and behaving in a manner that is similar to the customer. For example, if your customer speaks slowly or quietly, then you speak slowly or quietly. Remember people like people who are like themselves.
# 10 - Warm and friendly
If you look or sound stressed or aggressive then don't be surprised if the other person gets defensive and less than willing to co-operate. If you look and sound warm and friendly, then you are more likely to get a more positive response. This isn't about being all nicey-nicey. It's about a pleasant open face or a warm tone over the telephone.
Before we can start to get down to the process of selling our product, our service or our ideas then we need to be as sure as we can be - that the customer has bought us and that we have their full attention.
Discover how you can generate more business without having to cold call! Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Sales without Selling" This book is packed with practical things that you can do to – get customers to come to you. Click here now (http://www.howtogetmoresales.com/Without%20Selling.htm)
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