How to Sell Without Feeling Sleazy
Years ago, I found myself at a job where my success depended on the ability to sell. This was the first time I’d ever had sales directly impact my job performance and I convinced myself that because I was social, I could sell with little to no effort.
I was dead wrong. And the harder I tried, the more disingenuous I felt.
The ability to sell--whether it’s an idea, product or service--is crucial to business success, but what can you do when you're not "the selling type"?
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Luckily, making a sale has almost nothing to do with gregarious personality, hard-hitting sales tactics and slick social skills. It comes down to a simple formula (no chemistry skills required).
$ = C³ or Sales = Connection x Communication x Confidence
Whether you’re selling in a pitch email, press release, face to face or even over Skype, these three skills will always serve your bottom line:
First and foremost, make a connection with your current or prospective client. It’s easy to let your mind race to your end goal, but first treat your client like...a person. You’d be surprised how many people forget to say hello, ask how their weekend was, or remember a personal detail they shared with you last time you met. Connect and care first.
Be concise, make your point, know what your point is, be clear with your client on expectations, parameters, goals and results. It’s that simple.
As obvious as it might sound, believing in yourself, and the idea, product or service you’re selling, works wonders. Walk into a meeting with the confidence that you have a very real and valuable asset to offer and with the knowledge that not every prospective client is the right fit.
Don’t hold yourself to unrealistic standards that every meeting or pitch should convert to a sale. And don’t feel pressured to accept business from clients you dread working with. Know that you are capable of using confidence to build your business and attract the right partners.
Cristi Young is a New York City-based writer and the founder of No.2 Creative, a branding firm that offers editorial content and strategies for companies looking to grow and refine their brands. Combining classic communication models with creative tactics and delivery, Cristi thrives on telling stories that make an impact.