dilemmasSelling ourselves is the #1 selling challenge for most of us. Those words have gotten all mixed up with being pushy, self-centered, egotistical, arrogant, and offensive.  That makes it tough, especially for business owners and solo-preneurs.

We’re faced with two opposite dynamics:

  1. We have to sell ourselves every day—to customers, to staff, to the world. We are the brand, and people may buy or not buy based on their impressions of us.
  2. We don’t want to be pushy and self-centered. We can’t sell ourselves. We won’t! We might even prefer gum surgery!

The Dilemma is: We have to, but we can’t.

After a wobbly start in selling, I figured out the Soul of Selling system and actually became a whiz kid—selling for other people.  But when I started my own book doctoring business, I found I couldn’t sell my way out of a paper bag!

The first thing I did was to panic. The second thing was to look at my checkbook. The third thing was to buckle down, get real, and commit to solving the problem.

I decided to ask myself the same questions I would ask a client if they were in my situation. Two years later, I had book doctored two national best sellers. Five years later, I bought a condo in San Francisco. Those questions became the basis of my Soul of Selling (Yourself) system.

1. What attitudes are in the way for me? My main concern was that selling myself made me look conceited and smarmy. I knew that was just negative mental chatter, but it had worked its way into my thinking and festered for years. I cried a few tears—well, more than a few—and then I did what I always tell my clients to do. I wrote down all the negative mental chatter, just to get it outside me. If I could see it, I didn’t have to be it.

2. Is this service valuable to people? Clearly, book doctoring was valuable. People could get books published that wouldn’t have been published without it. This was in the heyday of self-help and how-to books, so there was a great demand for helping experts in various fields communicate their messages effectively.

3. Am I good at it? Can I deliver the value? I had worked in publishing and been told I had a talent for book doctoring. I’d seen the results. I knew I could do it.

4. Can I let this positive information replace the negative attitudes? Uh-oh. I could feel the whiney little voice in the back of my head saying, “But I can’t help how I feel. It’s my personal truth that selling yourself is smarmy.” But there was another little voice, the angel sitting on my right shoulder. That little angel whispered that it might be kind of exciting to go out into the world in a new way, being more of the person I wanted to be, someone who could be a stand for what she did. It was two steps forward, one step back in changing my attitudes, but I committed to taking those two steps forward each time I caught the mental chatter. It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually I got comfortable with the new way of seeing myself.

5. How would I sell this if somebody else were doing it? That was easy. The benefits of book doctoring were clear, and the person delivering the service was good at it. At this point, the scales started to fall from my eyes and I saw the most important question…

6. Can I sell my gift, and not myself? What if I took myself out of the equation and presented book doctoring as if I were talking about the service itself, and not about me? What if I treated my knack for book doctoring as just a gift that was out there in the universe—and that had randomly attached itself to me as its sales agent? Could I sell book doctoring, and not Carol Costello?

With that last question, a wave of relief washed over me. Are you kidding? I’d be delighted to take myself out of it!  Suddenly, I could do this! And I did.

Take a minute to answer the 6 Soul of Selling (Yourself) Questions for yourself. What do you see?

NEW NEWS:  On Tuesday, February 5, I’ll be giving a webinar on “Sell Yourself Without Feeling Pushy, Creepy, or WEIRD!” as part of the Women Business Owners Sales Boot Camp.  The presenters are great, the price is right, and I invite you to check it out:i'm-a-coach-salesb

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