Sell Yourself First
Estimated Lesson Time: 4 minutes (self-evaluated option) / less than a minute (instructor-evaluated option)
Almost daily I get the calls from monotone telemarketers who say, “Hello Mr. Benet (yes, my name is Bennett, but they rarely get it right) how are you doing today?” Then, right after that lame opening, they start with their sale pitch. My response has become as automated as their opening: “No thank you, please take me off your list.” This all-too-common, fast-track sales approach has, to the detriment of the sales profession, been adopted by many sales “professionals” outside of telemarketing. Many salespeople overlook this one very important concept: before you can sell anything to anybody, you must sell yourself first.
“Selling yourself” refers to gaining the trust and confidence of those to whom you are selling a product, service, or idea. It is about establishing rapport and building credibility, and perhaps most important, it is about being likable. Building this kind of relationship prior to asking for the sale, takes down any defensive barriers that may have once existed. It allows the prospect to be more receptive and open-minded to your message. Think about it. Would you be more likely to buy a product, service, or idea from someone whom you have never met, or from a good friend? In some cases, you may buy from a good friend only because they are a good friend, not because you really need what they are selling.
Selling yourself consists of five elements. Each of these elements are essential to increasing your chances of making a successful sale.
- Trust. Most prospects enter sales situations with the mindset that salespeople are just looking out for their own best interests and really do not care about the needs of the prospects. Building trust in a sales situation is about demonstrating to the prospect that you, as the salesperson, are indeed looking out for their best interests.
- Confidence. A prospect must have confidence in your ability to do what you say you are going to do, as well as your knowledge of the product you are selling. Having confidence that you will be around after the sale is equally as important.
- Rapport. Building rapport is best done by finding things on which you and the prospect agree. The basic message is, “Hey, I am just like you.”
- Credibility. Remember that when you first meet a prospect, they know nothing about you. To them, you could be a con artist, lunatic, or serial killer. The best way to establish instant credibility is by being recommended by someone the prospect knows and trusts. Another way is to share with the prospect your credentials, tactfully.
- Likability. You can have the greatest product at the greatest price, the trust and confidence of the prospect, great rapport with the prospect, and come highly recommended, but if the prospect does not like you, chances are she will not buy from you. Being likable is an art in itself. In short, you must sincerely like other people if you want to be liked yourself.
As you can imagine, it is difficult to achieve all of this on the first call. This is why good salespeople don’t usually attempt to sell on the first call. Some don’t attempt to sell their product until the third call, and some prefer to set up appointments when more time can be devoted to selling themselves first. This is an example of consultive selling (or consultative selling) where the salesperson acts as more of a consultant by taking the time to understand the needs and wants of the prospect. Only once the salesperson feels he has established likability, rapport, confidence, trust, and credibility, does he go for the sale.
This sales process does require patience. Most rookies will go right for the close in an attempt to close as many sales as possible in as little time as possible. This is playing the risky numbers game in a market where good prospects are hard to find. Spend the extra time needed to build relationships and earn the respect of your prospects before trying to sell them your product, service, or idea. You will find very quickly that the extra effort is well worth it.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)