When was the last time you sold something?….Oh it was yesterday itself!
Every day we are selling ourselves or a part of us. We are selling our thoughts and intellect to our friends and peers. We are selling ourselves to our employers for new and interesting work or promotion, for a new job in interviews, in our social groups, social media platforms…. We even sell ourselves to our parents, wife and children for their acceptance.
We want acceptance, we want people to like us, love us, admire us and value us, for which we sell ourselves every day. Its a two way process. People are selling to you in a similar manner; you are a seller and at the same time you are a buyer.
I was sitting in a business meeting with a prospective partner and we were tussling and convincing each other for our terms and he suddenly said, “Look, I am not a sales person” and I replied - this is the most common line a person uses when he has to sell but don’t know how to.
The point here is no matter in which profession we are, we all sell. The only question is who the better seller is.
As James Cash Penney rightly quoted “Salesmanship is limitless. Our very living is selling. We are all salespeople”
This article is all about self marketing and how self marketing can help us to become a better seller.
Self Marketing: Definition and Meaning:
I would define self marketing as “An art of projecting, communicating and promoting consciousness of your own identity derived out of the need of prospective buyer of that identity”
Projecting starts from the way you develop your persona. The way you dress up, your body language, things/brands you use, movies you watch, books you read etc. Projection follows communication which includes the way you talk, the way you describe your stories, words you use and examples you give. Communication follows promotion i.e. reaching out to more and more TG (target Audience) which includes networking (Social or professional), Social Media Profiles, attending events, and encouraging, persuading your TG with different skills and techniques.
Self Marketing includes personal branding, communication and self promotion.
Self marketing is not only important for our growth and for better results but also for our consistent satisfaction and happiness. Like for any good product, branding and marketing is an important process of communication to the end customer and companies have separate budget for the product branding and marketing, we all should have separate strategy, time and budget for our self marketing & branding. It is the course of existence towards excellence.
Following are a few areas where a person should work upon to acquire requisite skills:
Clear your thoughts then apportion them:
"The worst fault a salesman can commit is to be a bore. Foster any attempt to talk about other things; the longer you stay, the better you get to know the prospect, and the more you will be trusted." -David Ogilvy-
Your thought process should have the clarity, not for others but first in your own mind. Try to figure out what you want and what you don’t. Take some time out for yourself, not to relax but to experience more. Go for a trip alone, go to a cafeteria with a book and sit there whole day sipping coffee…talk to people… give a smile to a stranger. Sit with your best friend for long, holding your drink. Don’t baffle your persona at different places, be the one who you are at all places with variants of that persona. Learn to connect things, experiences and stories. Learn more and more about the areas you like, use that knowledge at the time of selling your thoughts. For example, if you like traveling and haven’t got an opportunity to travel much, then at least study about the places you want to go and the reason why. Raise your taste in all areas of your interest. Clearing your thought process will help you to connect with people (who are your target audience)
Be a good product (A kick ass one):
One wonderful salesman to his prospective employer: “Give me a good product and I will sell it like anything.” Employer: “You mean you can’t sell a bad product?” Salesman: “Oh definitely I can. I didn’t say I can’t sell a bad product, rather I demanded a good product specifically cause when I’ll sell a bad product to first 100 customers, those hundred will stop the 1000 to go for your product, even for your other good products. You give me a good product and I will create those 100 customers to get 10000 more customers plus the loyalty.”
You have to be a good product. Polish yourself, read, write, join personality development classes, watch news, practice mock talks …do whatever it takes to be a good product and as I mentioned earlier, it’s an everyday process, do it every day. Keep this in mind that those who do not feel shy in acquiring learning everyday will always be happy.
रूपयौवनसंपन्ना विशालकुलसंभवाः । विद्याहीना न शोभन्ते निर्गन्धा इव किंशुका: ॥
People who are beautiful, young and born in a big phratry do not shine if they are devoid of learning, just as the flowers of the kimshuka (Parrot) tree do not shine because they are without aroma.
Convince yourself that you are a good product and reflect this in your attitude:
You are a product and only a good product can get sold – we all know that but a salesman should also have full trust and confidence over the goodness or fineness of that product. At times you must have seen that people with wonderful qualities don’t get the desired results. The reason is that they don’t believe they are good enough. You have to have belief in your strengths, in your skills & abilities, and then only, you will be able to sell it to your customers. When you are convinced by yourself then only you can convince your customers. If you are in doubt, people will doubt you more. If you are sharing a story with your friends, ask yourself if you will buy that story. If no, moderate it, improvise it, make it interesting as well as realistic and then sell it.
"I have the confidence and the passion. People see that, and they know it is real." -Ron Popeil
Sell smoothly by building connection:
Don’t be desperate…never be desperate (until and unless the strategy itself is to show them desperation). The moment they find you are desperate they won’t go for it. Sell smoothly…build trust, be persuasive but leave them at the point to say yes. When they are confused then give them solution to their confusion. Whether you have to convince your family to go for your choice of a car or friends to go on a trip to your suggested place or to an employer that you are the right person for a job …you have to win their trust and at the end of the sales process they should feel that they won…they have bought a good product… the satisfaction should be on their face. Visualize your success…make them imagine that they have already said yes and what benefits, experience and pleasure they got.
“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” -Bob Burg
“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, and no trust.” -Zig Ziglar
And you have to be the solution for every obstacle. Create need, tell them it won’t cost much and is of that worth, Give them time to say yes, not enough to say no and create urgency, tell them the problem is there and you are the solution, win their confidence. Don’t concentrate on what you want, rather focus on what the buyer wants in/from you – project him that then come up with your closing.
Buy before you sell, let the other party win: To win big, lose small!
Ok, as I mentioned earlier, everyone is selling himself to others. Sometimes to sell big, buy small. Let the other person win. C'mon he is also selling himself to you. Even in an interview, an employer sells himself to the interviewee, he sell his company, his leadership, his culture… buy it. Let him feel he sold you something before you sell him something. Create a win- win situation for both the sides. Then project that you are the one who fits for the same. Have patience to hear them out, share their stories, show respect, learn from them and then tell them what you have learnt, be grateful. As mentioned in Kautilya Shastra:
क्षमया दयया प्रेम्णा सूनृतेनार्जवेन च। वशीकुर्याज्जगत्सर्वं विनयेन च सेवया ॥
A person can bring the whole world under his influence by such sterling qualities as patience, kindness, love, truth, straightforwardness, humility and service.
Selling is an everyday process and so is self marketing. Be unsatisfied, always be in a learning mode and for God’s sake don't let this unsatisfied state die...out of setbacks!
I will conclude with these lines from a movie Wolf Of the Wallstreet“Act as if you have unmatched confidence and then people will surely have confidence in you. Act as if you have unmatched experience and then people will follow your advice. And act as if you are already a tremendous success, and as sure as I stand here today - you will become successful.”
(MBA, LLB, PGDIBO)