The 7-STEP “SELLING YOURSELF” CONVERSATION

women-friends-talking-on-phone (1)I’ve been posting recently about selling yourself, since this is what people are asking about and is the subject of my Feb. 5 webinar on SELLING YOURSELF WITHOUT FEELING PUSHY, CREEPY OR WEIRD. You can get this ebook free by clicking it in the sidebar.

We’ve covered:

NOW WHAT?
What do you do after you’ve adjusted your attitudes and asked the important questions? What’s the nitty-gritty, the nuts and bolts of a “selling yourself” conversation?

These 7 steps are a concrete, “what’s next?” guide. They are designed as handrails to help you:

  • Keep on track with honoring, respecting and appreciating everyone with whom you talk
  • Keep the conversation moving toward the close
  • Make you feel great about what you are doing because you are practicing the 3 Soul of Selling principles: Honor yourself. Honor others. Honor what you offer.

STEP 1. CLEAR YOURSELF TO SELL YOURSELF.
This is like clearing yourself for takeoff. Before you set out to sell, ask yourself these 6 questions. For more on each question, go to “The ‘Selling Yourself’ Dilemma: 6 Solutions.”

  1. What negative myths or thoughts are in my way? The Soul of Selling has workbook exercises to help you pinpoint and dissolve negative mental chatter. It all boils down to bringing this chatter to the surface, so you are aware of it. When you can see it, you don’t have to be it.
  2. Is my product or service truly valuable? What does it do to make people’s lives better or easier? What are the specific benefits?
  3. Am I good at it? Can I deliver the value?
  4. Can I let this positive information replace the negative attitudes?
  5. How would I sell this if somebody else were doing it?
  6. Can I sell my gift, and not myself?

This last question is the most important. Can you take yourself out of the equation and present your service as if you were talking about the service itself, and not you?

Imagine that your service is simply a gift that is out there in the universe, and has randomly attached itself to you as its sales agent. When you’re not “bragging” on yourself, it’s easier to talk about the benefits—how great the service is and how well you provide it.

STEP 2. FOCUS ON SERVICE.
Put your attention on others. The whole Soul of Selling method is based on the premise that each person with whom we speak deserves to be respected, honored, and appreciated—whether or not they buy. The added benefit of focusing on others is that it minimizes any queasy, uneasy feelings we may still have about selling ourselves.

STEP 3: PRESENT YOUR GIFT.
Describe your gift. What do people need to know about your offer in order to make a good choice about whether or not to buy? At a minimum, they need to know:

  • The features (what is so about the service)
  • The benefits (what is good or unique about the service)
  • What you love and find valuable about this gift
  • The cost

STEP 4: ASK ABOUT VALUE.
I often “soften” this question by phrasing it in a conditional way.

  • “If you were to coach with me, what would you want to get out of it?”
  • “If we were to do this book together, what would you want it to do for you?”

People need to know what they would want to get out of working with you, but sometimes the question “What do you want to get out of this?” can feel a little confrontational and presumptive. It almost assumes that if they tell you, they’ve committed to buying.

Whatever you offer, there are specific benefits and values that people have in mind when they talk with you. It’s important for you—and for them—to know what those benefits and values are.

STEP 5: HEAR THEIR CONCERNS WITHOUT BUYING THEM.
Most concerns or objections are about time or money. We’ve all heard it:

  •         “I don’t have any time.”
  •         “I don’t have any money.”

Often these objections are not strictly true—but we don’t start shouting, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”

We take a breath. We honor, respect, and appreciate that person. We remember they’re not aren’t talking about us; they’re just trying to decide whether or not to buy the gift—and that can feel vulnerable.

Just hear their concerns in a neutral way. Listen with your heart as well as your ears. They need to feel that you’ve heard them, or they will just keep repeating the objection.

Let them know you’ve heard them, but don’t necessarily swallow everything they say whole and dismiss them. Don’t just give them a five dollar bill and send them on their way because they “have no money.”

Take them back to the value they mentioned, and point out the choice before them. You might say something like: “I hear that money is tight right now, but I also hear that you want to get clear on your goals for the new year.

They can choose the value, or they can choose the objection.

STEP 6. HELP THEM GET CLEAR.
Your only job right now is to be their coach, to help them decide whether or not this particular gift is right for them, right now. What does this mean?

·         You are there to serve them. You put your own discomfort, thoughts, and fears on the back burner and be present to them.

·         You don’t get reactive. Remember, people are sometimes not at their best in selling situations. They can say weird things, even rude things. Your job is not to react, but to keep being with them in an open, non-judgmental way.

·         You are the adult in the room. They can flail around, but you are calm, steady, grounded, and grounding—the person they can lean on as they go through all the thoughts and feelings that surround buying.

The Scale
This is a technique that makes it easier for people to tell the truth—and easier for you to hear it. It takes the pressure off you, and also off your buyers.

When people have seen the value, and also their objection(s), the choice seems simple. Right? But remember, this is a selling situation and that can make everybody a little squirrelly. It can help to say something like this:

Let’s try a thought experiment. You know those old fashioned scales like the “Justice is Blind” lady holds up, or that pharmacists used to use? What if you put the benefits you want from my service on one side of the scale, and your time (or financial) concerns on the other? Which side do you see has more weight. Which is more important?

You aren’t trying to persuade or “sell” them. You are just asking about the scale. They don’t have to say, “You know, I don’t want to work with you.” They can just say, “I see the scale tipping toward my concerns, so maybe now is not the time.”

STEP 7: HONOR THEIR CHOICE.
Keep honoring, respecting, and appreciating people, whether or not they buy. Supposed they look at you and says, “You know, I think it would be valuable to work with you, but it’s not really prudent for me to buy it right now.”

They seem clear and certain. That’s their decision. You’ve asked them to choose from within, and they have done so. Whatever they say, honor that choice. You have to respect that.

They are is no less wonderful because they didn’t buy—and they are far more likely to come back later if you let them go graciously.

A JOB WELL DONE!
This 7- step conversation should make you feel fantastic about yourself—whether or not people buy.

You’ve given people an experience that just may be the best thing that’s happened to them all day, or all week, or all year. You’ve given them yourself, and the experience of being honored, respected, and appreciated for who they truly are.

Let yourself enjoy that feeling, and bring it with you into the next sales conversation.

What have you discovered about selling yourself?

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