Book #5: Sell Yourself First
THE MOST CRITICAL ELEMENT IN EVERY SALES PROCESS
“Shakespeare was wrong—all the world’s not a stage,
it’s a sales call.” - T. Freese
The effectiveness of the sales organization drives most every company, yet the skills required to be successful in sales continue to be the least taught profession in the world? Most companies rely on individuals to figure it out for themselves. While some of the more experienced sellers on your team have likely attended a bunch of sales seminars over the years, teaching people how to sell in a tough economic climate is very different from what most sellers have experienced in previous sales training courses.
What is it that separates a top performing salesperson from one of their struggling counterparts?
Unfortunately, the topic of individual sales effectiveness has been pushed to the back burner for too long. In the meantime, lots of good salespeople (and managers) have been caught off guard. If it’s true that some salespeople in your industry are more effective than others, then I encourage you to bring your own personal sales effectiveness back to the forefront, as it has never been more important to be viewed as a valuable resource by your colleages, partners, company, and your customers.
Whether you manage a sales territory, run a small business, support the organization in a customer service role, or you are an executive in a Fortune 500 company, you are selling yourself every day. And, in order to position your offerings and value their best light, to be effective in today’s economy, you must learn to Sell Yourself First.
Table of Contents
Introduction - The Game Has Changed
Chapter 1 - The Elephant in the Room
Chapter 2 - Your Next Job Interview
Chapter 3 - Customers Won’t Trust Just Anyone
Chapter 4 - Managing Conversational Dynamics™
Chapter 5 - Establishing the Customer’s Buying Criteria
Chapter 6 - How to Be More Strategic with Your Sales Questions
Chapter 7 - Cost Justifying an Intangible Value Proposition
Chapter 8 - Making Prospects More Receptive to Your Message
Chapter 9 - Competitively Positioning Your Solutions
Chapter 10 - Paint Pictures with Your Words
Chapter 11 - Wrapping Up the Sale
Epilogue - For Sales Managers Only
Some salespeople are significantly more effective than others…in every industry. What is the “magic” that separates top performing salespeople from their struggling counterparts? The answer comes down to two simple words—customer perception.
Those salespeople who understand that it is important to sell yourself first will have an unfair advantage over their competition moving forward. In every competitive industry, probably for the rest of your sales career, the person representing a product or service is likely to have a greater influence on the customer’s perception of value than the product itself.
For previous generations, the act of selling was often seen as the “art” of persuasion. In that vein, convincing potential buyers to purchase your products and services was a necessary evil, where a talented salesperson was someone who not only possessed the gift of gab, but had an uncanny knack for getting into the customer’s pocket before they realized they were being “sold” on something.
Over time, many of the older-school sales tricks and manipulative marketing gimmicks have run their course, as most customers are now quick to recognize the difference between someone who is truly trying to help them and someone who just wants to make a quick buck.
When I think about the concept of being professional, my mind suddenly shifts to the other end of the spectrum, far away from the traditional used-car dealership. I think of the professional practices of an architect, an attorney, a doctor, an accountant, or an engineer; basically people who provide advice within their particular field of expertise.
The designation of someone as a “sales professional” could seem like the ultimate oxymoron in some people’s minds, yet there is a vast difference between a salesperson who is a bona fide expert offering valuable solutions and the wheeler-dealer mentality that is often associated with more traditional selling methods.
Today, I assure you that the sales function is no longer a necessary evil. Rather, the ability to have success in selling goods and services is the lifeblood of every successful business venture. Simply put, if you cannot sell it with some degree of consistency, then it doesn’t matter how good your product or service actually is. That said, the business of selling can no longer be seen as an act of persuasion. Customers don’t want to be “persuaded” to buy something they don’t want or need, especially by a salesperson they don’t yet know or trust. Thus, we very quickly come to a crossroads in terms of how we (as salespeople) want to be perceived by prospects, customers, colleagues, and even our employer. Do you want to be seen as someone who is customer-focused, with valuable expertise, high integrity, and a commitment to excellence, or as just another self-serving vendor trying to get into the customer’s pocket? The difference in perception usually comes down to how effectively you are able to position yourself.