Life Lessons – Selling Yourself is a Contact Sport

Everybody sells. We are always selling something.  Selling involves one person communicating with an individual or group to make a sale – to persuade a client to buy something  – a product, a service, a good idea or something that satisfies your needs or their needs on a personal level , or on a business level when an individual is purchasing for a company. David Ogilvy, one of the fathers of modern advertising, said it best: “We sell or else.” If you don’t ask – you don’t get. But to get – you’ve got to learn to ask for what you want the right way.

When you think about it – your life is a series of sales presentations. Children develop selling skills early on in life to get what they want. When you want something or someone to do something, you use your selling skills. When you attempt to get a date, ask for a pay raise, provide cost-effective solutions to solve a clients problem or deal with customer service representatives, you are using your personal selling skills. (Mind you some are better at it than others)

Selling is about making a personal “Connection” with your perspective client. Selling is about building a relationship with the person you want to do business with. Selling is a contact sport. If people aren’t buying what you’re selling – than you need to re-evaluate your sales approach. You need to figure out how to get people to like you. (People do  business or hang around with people they like)

Successful salespeople are no longer adversaries who manipulate others for personal gain. Successful salespeople are consultants, partners and problem solvers. A successful salesperson’s goal is to build a long-term relationship with their clients. The most important characteristic for establishing a lasting relationship with a client is a salesperson’s willingness to provide service. Your only competitive advantage to separate yourself from your competition is the level of customer service you provide. It’s not your products, (Everybody is selling a comparable product) – it’s not your price (Someone is always willing to sell theirs for less)  – its service. Customer loyalty is established over a long period of time. Your clients must believe that you truly care about them and their welfare. Clients must believe that you have their best interest in mind.

How do you get someone to like you? The first thing you do is run out and buy a copy of Dale Carnegie‘s  book ” How to Win Friends and Influence People” What was true back in 1936 when he wrote the book – still holds true today. Treat people with respect and they will respond in kind. Keep in mind that respect is reciprocal. It’s not something that you can demand. It is something that you earn. You’ve got to give it first before you get it back.

Keys to Developing Personal and Professional Relationships Built on Mutual Respect and Trust

  • Different is just that – different. Just because others go about doing things differently than you – it doesn’t make it wrong. Embrace and celebrate the differences in people.
  • Listen to the other person’s point of view and don’t interrupt. (I listen to understand not necessarily to agree)
  • Be open-minded. Try to see things from the other persons point of view.
  • Be flexible. Does it have to be your way or no way? Will their way of doing it get the same results? Resist the urge to micro-manage.
  • Don’t argue – don’t try to bully the other person into agreeing with you. You are adults. You can agree to disagree.
  • Don’t be condescending or talk down to the other person. You are dealing with an Adult – treat them that way.
  • Don’t resort to name calling and putting the other person down – especially behind their back.
  • Don’t verbally or physically attack the other person.
  • Treat the other person the way you want to be treated.
  • Respect the fact that they have an opinion and they have a right to express that opinion – even if you don’t agree with it.
  • Effective communication takes two – the sender and the receiver. Make sure you are communicating with the other person in a style that they like.

One more thought worth thinking about. You communicate 93% of the time non-verbally. (38% by the tone of your voice and 55% of the time by your body language alone) Your words and actions must be as one or the other person will believe the non-verbal to be more accurate.  If you are sincere and truly want to build relationships with others that last – then it will be reflected in the way that you treat them. If what you are currently doing isn’t accomplishing that – then you need to change what you’re doing and try something else. Trust me – they don’t need to change – you do.  – Cheers. 🙂

Leadership Lessons – When Smoke and Mirrors Just Won’t Do 3

I’m a political junky. Watching both the Republican and Democratic conventions over the last two weeks was a real treat for me. I speak for a living so I took special interest in observing  how each Presidential Nominee presented their party’s position as to why they believe they should be elected the next President of the United States.  The Republicans have always been the very best at creating positive spin. After all they where able to get George W. Bush elected twice. (Enough said)  However, in this election – the voters are an educated voter thanks to the internet and the fact checkers. So this time around  smoke and mirrors just won’t do. Both parties will have to do their homework and get their facts straight. Social media will help bring honesty and integrity back in vogue.

Worth Remembering …

“It is better to be defeated on principle then to win on lies” – Arthur Caldwell

The events and conditions each of us experience during our formative years helps define who we are and how we view the world. We are a by-product of the environment we grew up in, we are influenced and shaped by our family and friends and their values which are passed on to us, and in turn we pass them down to our children. Values like honesty, integrity, a sense of fair play, being consistent – knowing the difference between right and wrong and acting on it – knowing what is acceptable and what is not and holding yourself and others accountable. These are the values that should be passed down to the next generation. And these are the kinds of enduring principles that we should be looking for in our leaders.

Worth Remembering …

“Before the issue of integrity can even be raised we need principles of behavior – moral convictions about what is and is not appropriate – judgements about right and wrong action. If we do not yet hold standards, we are on too low a developmental rung even to be accused of hypocrisy” – Nathaniel Branden Ph.D

Ethics is best described as a set of moral principles or values that defines what is considered right and wrong behavior for a person or group. Ethics and behaving ethically is a bit of an oxymoron these days if you take into account the corporate bailouts and the propping up of the world banking system whose collapse – to some extent – was caused by excessive greed, lack of moral convictions, and by not doing what was right. Are there two kinds of ethics? What does it say about you as a person if you behave one way at work – but behave a different way at home. Is it OK to con your customers and employees, but not your family or neighbours? I believe you are either ethical or you’re not. You may not want to lead – but you do get to decide the kind of leader you want to follow.  Choose wisely. 🙂

(c) Copyright 2012. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. http://briansmithpld.com