When we focus on improving ourselves, our product, or our service, and begin shifting our intention to the value the consumer receives, everything changes for the better. Two guys are sitting next to each other in a bar and after a few minutes they strike up a conversation. The first gentleman asks the other, “So what line of work are you in?” Proudly, the reply was, “I am in sales.” Smiling the first gentleman responded, “That’s interesting, because I am in sales.” As it turns out they were in very different business as well as very different places within the hierarchy. One was the CEO of a huge corporation, whereas the other was just getting started as a new employee. Luckily they both had the awareness to understand that we are all in sales. It is a common misconception that if you do not work directly in retail or receive commissions that you are not in sales.
The fact is, regardless of the exact nature of our business… we are all in sales, always.
NULL It begins as children, selling our selves to our parents to earn a larger allowance. Then, as an entry-level employee, we sell our services (thoughts, ideas and maybe even labor) to our employer. Even professional athletes sell their services to the highest bidder.
What sets some people apart is their awareness and their mindset. Promoting our selves and our businesses begins with the understanding that we are all in sales, no matter what the specifics of our job title say.
Furthermore, whether we are selling tractors or our ability to score touchdowns, to be successful we must have an entrepreneurial mindset. And part of that mindset is the realization that everything depends on the quality of our relationships. Simply put, people are far more apt to do business with someone who they trust. Understanding the power in good relationships can be difficult concepts for many people. However, this mindset can be very powerful and begins by focusing on the benefit to the consumer. In fact, a great number of businesses struggle because the leadership lacks the entrepreneurial mindset. How often do we hear about amazingly talented artists, who are creating beautiful works, but struggle to sell them? Here is a specific example. I have a very close friend who is a musician and we were talking about this the other day. He shared with me a little story. When he was just a drummer for someone else’s band, his responsibilities were limited. Now, he is the leader of his own band; as a result he spends far more time promoting his business than he does simply practicing and performing. Simply put, he had to think differently. He does far more than just play music on the drums. As the leader of the organization he has to think about the value his band can provide to their clients.
Most of us are very good at what we do, but we often struggle when it comes to promoting our selves. Why is this? And what can we do about it?
Well, there could be any number of reasons why people are hesitant to promote themselves. The first thing that comes to mind is an experience with some overbearing sales person. There are some sales people who are relentless in their attempts, but focused only on their sales goals. We have all experienced it and most of us do not enjoy being pushed in that manner. This happens when the focus is on the sale rather than the relationship. As a result of this kind of experience, many of us swing to the other side and do not promote our selves enough because we do not want to come across as being pushy, overbearing, or greedy. That is one example, however, rather than focus on the whys, I would address what we can do about it.
The best way to promote our selves and our businesses is to provide value to our clients, which puts the emphasis where it should be, on the relationship.
In fact, one of my business mentors said, “Great businesses provide in value 10 times what the goods and/or services cost.” While this exact ratio might not work for every business model, it is the mindset that is key. Furthermore, when we shift our thinking from, “What am I selling?” to “What benefit is the customer receiving?” magic begins to happen. Most business models operate from a cost-price basis. What is the cost to produce and sell the product and what price can we sell it for? Whatever is leftover is the profit. But the true entrepreneurial mindset to which I am referring, focuses not just on the cost of the product or service, but the value to the consumer. One of the things I love about the nature of my business is that it lends itself to thinking about the benefit to the client and in doing that I am always doing, building healthy relationships. Let me give you an example. When I write a book, do a workshop, or provide mentoring services, my primary focus becomes my readers, my audience, or my client respectively. Interestingly, because I am concentrating on providing value to the consumer I am promoting myself without pushing for a sale.
Something magical happens when we focus on what benefits the consumer is receiving. And when this is done in an honest way and the consumer feels it, we begin to promote ourselves in a healthy way.
There is nothing wrong with becoming a better sales person. In fact, to understand the nature of how the consumer makes decisions, it is an important part of any business. However, we should not mistake the tools and techniques for selling as the end all and be all. Unfortunately, a really good sales person can convince people to buy products or services they don’t want or need, or even be able to afford. And while this kind of thinking might pad the bottom line, at least temporarily, this is not offering value. Furthermore, it is not the best way to promote our selves or our business. Ultimately, this “power selling” technique as I like to call it can undermine the development of healthy and long lasting business relationships. Focusing on the benefits to others is a constant theme in my teachings. In fact, it is a powerful tool I work on with my personal coaching clients. Interestingly, one of my clients said to me, “Wow, this kind of thinking changed how I interacted with everyone, not just a little, but dramatically.” Actually, once you begin to think in this way, all of your relationships will begin to shift.
The best way to promote our selves and our businesses is to continually improve the relationship between our clientele and us. And that change begins with us.
I might add, too, that thinking in this way will improve all aspects of relationships, business, family, or intimate. When we focus on improving our selves, our product, or our service, and begin shifting our intention to the value the consumer receives, everything changes for the better. And it happens almost as if by magic…Try it! You will be amazed. Russell Foster Author/ Life Coach/ public speaker