Now that I’ve (hopefully) convinced you of the importance of viewing your message as an asset, it’s time to talk about selling it.
But first, what is your relationship with selling? Is it healthy and easy? Or, is it complicated and hard?
For a lot people, selling tends to have a bad reputation – they don’t feel good doing it, nor do they consider themselves good at it. If you are one of them; if you have a complicated relationship with selling, the idea of selling your message can be tricky. Whether this stems from conditioning, preconceived notions, or having had negative experiences.
What Gets in Your Way
Previously, I’ve talked about the beliefs that can get in your way of selling your message, successfully.
Things like: how selling can feel manipulative or intrusive, or can amplify your fear of rejection. These beliefs are not necessarily unfounded.
After all, a lot of people have a negative connotation about selling because of an annoying, inauthentic and aggressive experience they’ve had being on the other end of a sale. Much like the manipulation one might feel dealing with a sleazy used-car salesman.
Similarly, if selling feels intrusive to you, you likely equate the tasks of following-up with being a pesky pain in the butt. Thus, you don’t follow-up – which is the stage where most sales are closed.
And if you fear rejection, you likely won’t go outside your comfort zone and expose your beliefs, perspectives and values. Which is rather ironic, given that these are embedded in what it is you want to be known for!
It’s good to know what might be getting in the way of selling your message, so you can come up with a game-plan to counter them when they surface.
Because if you have any of the above lurking in the back of your mind (even slightly), you run the risk of not sharing your message as widely as possible. Thereby limiting the impact it is designed to have.
Permission to Focus On…Yourself
None of the above can happen, though, without a degree of self-introspection.
In my experience, greater self-awareness leads to not only more sales, but an even better experience with the process of selling.
Self-awareness is a powerful thing and is often under-appreciated by those who believe selling is more about the other person.
According to Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, self-awareness is the “ability to monitor our inner world – thoughts and emotions as they arise.” And I bet you can attest to how paying attention to your own beliefs, thoughts, behavior and actions helps you to objectively observe the same in others. It’s part of what helps you to connect with people. Am I right?
For far too many people, myself included for a bit of time, the act of selling is viewed as a process where it’s your job to convince someone to make a purchase. But if you recall the last time you were “sold” something, it probably didn’t feel good and doesn’t conjure up wonderful memories.
The people you want to sell your message to don’t want to be “sold” anything, actually. They want to buy!
They are buying into feeling like you get them. They believe you are the person to help them solve their problem, and they dig you and your solution. In other words, they want your secret sauce.
The sold vs. buy point may seem a little meta, I know. But the difference makes all the difference in the world. And it is why self-awareness is so important — in a counter-intuitive sorta way.
Self-awareness helps you to be fully present, engaged, and committed…and yet detached.
When you are practicing self-awareness, you tend to make the time to:
- Evaluate how you come across and how that may be connected to your deepest desires and needs – e.g., if you find yourself being a bit pushy, is it because you’re seeking approval – but from the wrong people?
- Determine what you are feeling and how that often translates into the actions you do/don’t take – e.g., are you not following-up because you fear that will make you look needy?
- Check your self-confidence and when it is low to fall back on your capabilities and the value you bring to the table – e.g., you don’t let your nervous feelings in the moment impact your confidence meter?
- Monitor your self-talk – before, during and after – every point of contact by phone, email or in-person, so you can counter the negative self-talk and amplify the positive.
- Exercise empathy for the other person’s needs, desires, emotions, goals, objectives, concerns and pressures, which you tend to be able to tune into the more aware you are of your own.
- Be (more) discerning – e.g., to operate within a framework based on guiding principles, but to always honor the human element of interactions so you can be adaptive.
Because self-aware people tend to act consciously (rather than reactively/passively), this won’t surprise you: self-awareness is a crucial trait for successful people.
It benefits you and others. And plays such a critical role in your ability to connect and engage with those you want “buying into” your message.
The Long Game
Your message is what gets people to notice, choose and “purchase” from you. And what I’ve come to appreciate is that the “sale” starts at the notice stage – not when “money” is exchanged. (Side note: Buy-in doesn’t always include a monetary exchange; the “currency” can also look like getting an idea approved by your colleagues or management.)
To be successful in life, it is important to know thyself — but not to focus on yourself. A tricky blend, indeed.
When it comes to selling your message, it’s all about the other person — what do they want and need. It’s about how your secret sauce is going to make their life (and/or business) better!
Remember, the best message in the world won’t get much traction if you can’t sell it. This is why self-awareness is a powerful thing — it can literally help you sell your message!
Here’s one more thing: When you remember that your message is an asset, you also (I hope) will remember that you are playing a long game.