I was 22 and completely naive when someone, a new friend, first asked my opinion of sales as a career. I think I said something like, “Don’t you have to be a liar to be in sales?” – which turned into a heated discussion. My friend’s ability to change my mind, to convince me that being authentic is what sales is all about, ultimately got me to where I am today, leading teams to success.
My selling style hasn’t changed much over the years, nor have my leadership skills. The key to being great is simply being yourself. No lies, no walls, no bulky armor, no bullshit. If you’re struggling to find yourself, consider these 4 tips.
Convince yourself before you try convincing others
If you don’t believe in the story you’re telling yourself, your customers won’t either. Practice pitching to yourself, and ask if you would buy and why. If your manager is pushing a very particular script on you, using vocabulary you would never use if you weren’t prompted, it’s going to sound like you haven’t quite convinced yourself yet. Understand the message your product or service is trying to convey, and write the script in your own language.
Be in the moment and admit how you’re feeling
A bad habit to get into is responding “I’m fine” to the question “how are you?”. This gives no context into how you’re doing in that current moment, and more than likely just isn’t true. One really easy way to find yourself before getting into a sale is being genuine about expressing the way you feel. If you’re not feeling well that day, be honest. Making a simple switch from “fine” to “my coffee hasn’t kicked in yet, but I’m on my way and looking forward to it” sets the tone that you’re a real person with real feelings.
Be OK with not knowing things
Admitting we don’t know something can be uncomfortable, but if really want to be authentic, we need to learn to be comfortable with this. It’s as easy as saying “I’m not sure, but I know I can find out”. There is a lot of confidence in that sentence.
Learn how to disagree
Easier said than done, but when telling someone you disagree with them, it’s important you show your authentic self while doing it. Tell a story behind why you disagree, explain the experiences you’ve had that led you to believe differently. Remember your goal isn’t to be right, it’s to help your prospect better understand the benefit of what you’re selling. In the end, our voice is our vehicle for bringing ourselves to the table and making a difference, speak up.