By Chris Cicchinelli
Too many people in sales fail to recognize three undeniable truths: People buy people. People buy stories. People buy you.
How you present your knowledge of your products when you’re trying to make a sale is just as important as the quality of the goods being sold—because at every step of the sales journey, what you’re really selling is yourself.
But here’s the thing: no one can sell you but you. You need to deliver a marketing plan with you at the center.
Trust me, as a CEO, this applies to me, too. I’m out there selling myself every day, in every way. How do I dress? How’s my tone? How’s my posture? Do I seem confident? Truthful? Trustworthy? Am I connecting as I should? Am I giving off the proper vibe?
Sales is about impressions and relationships
If you’re in a business where sales are paramount, you aren’t just an order taker. There are pre-buys of inventory, sales presentations, and one-on-one meetings with customers where you forge relationships. Sales is about nothing if not relationships, connections, and making an impression that lasts.
Your job is twofold: to make “yes” the logical and emotional choice, and to paint yourself as the person people want to do business with. That means presenting the necessary positive image to achieve those two interdependent goals.
So, how do you do it? Here are five tips for making sure you’re selling customers the best possible version of you.
Tip 1: Showcase your value.
When I started my business, I knew that one day I’d be a millionaire. I just didn’t know when. I also understood that if I acted like I was making $50,000 a year, everyone would treat me like I was making $50,000 a year. You need to carry yourself like “you’re money,” whether you have it or not. If you play your cards right, this behavior will become self-fulfilling.
It gets back to the simple fact that we generally are treated the way we demand to be treated. Showcase your value. Dress the part. Act the part.
Try this experiment sometime: go into a coffee shop dressed in a tank top, shorts, and flip-flops. Then, the next day, go into the same joint wearing business casual clothes. I guarantee you’ll get 10 times the service in the business casual attire than you did in the tank and shorts. It’s just human nature to treat people who project quality with quality.
Tip 2: Embrace the power of one.
There’s a lot of power in the number one. One text message, one phone call, one class, and one customer can change your entire business and life. This concept goes back to focusing on your relationship with your customers. A simple handwritten thank-you note or genuine interaction with a single person can turn that person into a lifetime customer.
You’re selling them by selling you. Be knowledgeable about your products and excited to teach people what you know. Genuine enthusiasm for your job and the task at hand are infectious.
Better yet, use Walt Disney as your model. He was so phenomenal at what he created, and so skilled at selling it, that his customers wanted to see what he put out into the world again and again and told their friends and family. Even decades later, Disney’s genius in selling himself and his belief in what he produced leaves people in awe. To this day, his company sells not just a brand but an experience.
Tip 3: Say “yes” to change.
How do you handle sudden changes in your business? Do you sulk and whine, or do you embrace the shift and use it as momentum to propel yourself forward? If we’ve learned nothing else from the COVID-19 crisis, it’s that having the capacity to quickly recalibrate, pivot, and develop a new strategic direction is the key to success.
Consider the example of Starbucks. The coffee giant started out as a company that sold high-end coffee beans and espresso equipment. When founder Howard Schultz recognized the need for a coffee shop that could serve as a gathering spot for Seattle residents, he switched things up. He started selling coffee by the cup, taking his business to the next level and meeting every change along the way with confidence and fortitude.
Remember that while certainty is never certain, you can be prepared to modify the narrative. Keep an eye out for the silver lining in every situation and be adaptable.
Tip 4: Roleplay rejection.
Negative responses inevitably will come your way, even when you think you’ve done a great job at something. This shouldn’t throw you off your game. The next time you find yourself stressing about your business, take a minute to ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing someone could say about my business, and how would I react to hearing it?”
Once you have a solid response strategy in mind, you’ll be prepared, and nothing can take you down. You’ll already have thought through a worst-case scenario, and you’ll be ready to handle it.
Tip 5: Give your productivity a tune-up.
Productivity and success go hand in hand. That’s no news flash. Productivity is about three things: eliminating distractions, creating a motivational playlist, and getting organized. I know; it’s easier said than done. But becoming more productive is surprisingly simple once you give your habits a tune-up.
First, turn off your phone notifications. Getting rid of that particular distraction will help you focus and complete tasks faster. Second, create a music playlist to motivate you while you work. Studies show that 90% of business leaders perform better while listening to music. Then get organized with lists and whatever else you need to stay on task. Being organized boosts productivity, saves time, and eliminates stress.
Here’s another tip: you know those tasks you just dread, like making cold calls and reaching out to past customers whose interest has faded? Perform those first thing in the morning. When you get them out of the way early, you’ll suffer much less anxiety during the rest of your day.
Use these tips to build the best version of yourself and, ultimately, a more successful business.
Chris Cicchinelli is the CEO of Cincinnati-based Pure Romance, LLC, where he leads business development, operations, sales, and marketing for more than 40,000 Pure Romance ambassadors worldwide. He’s the author of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller The Secret Is YOU: How I Empowered 250,000 Women to Find Their Passion and Change Their Lives. Learn more at secretisyou.com.