Selling YOU : How to Pitch a Perfect Game
I hate salespeople. Seriously. It’s gotten to the point where I have a counter-pitch prepared for any sales rep who comes up to me. From the obligatory “how can I help you?” to the line pulled straight from a classic “How to Be the World’s Greatest Salesman,” I detest them all.
Pretty intense feelings, especially considering I’ve been in sales in one way or another most of my adult life. Even now, I’m trying to sell you on the notion that you should finish reading this. In fact, we’re all selling, all the time. From the bedroom to the boardroom, we’re all selling. Every day, you’re selling yourself, your ideas, or your stuff.
While it’s obvious that the appearance of the sales pitch is different, there are common elements, a framework, that is the same. And, it all begins with the very first thing we have to sell: ourselves. One of the basics of good sales training is the importance of knowing your product well. How well do you know you, as a product, as something you want some other person to buy?
Who Are You?
A few years ago, I took one of the popular self-actualization seminars. As part of that process, we were asked to respond to the question, “Who are you?” The answer wasn’t your name. Or what you do for a living. They wanted something much deeper.
For some of the participants, the struggle to answer was brutal. For everyone, it was the challenge to look at ourselves from a very different perspective. If we couldn’t truly define who we were, how could we possibly expect others in any area of our lives to engage with us in a meaningful way?
The answers were usually distilled, more or less painfully, into single sentences. I remember mine to this day. While it’s too personal to share here, there is one word from it that has become the trademark of how I choose to do life. Passion. To live with passion.
Everyone can define themselves by their own unique answer to “who are you?” Digging deep, what words describe the you that dwells behind the physicality that everyone sees? The words that resonate are the ones you should hang onto. Other words may sound good, but the hollowness of their sound fails to confirm them.
So, who are you? Knowing who you are and what makes you special provides a base of confidence as you prepare to tell your story. Your story is your pitch.
What is Your Story?
We all have a story. And, most of us like to share our story. The questions to ask about our story are:
- Is it accurate?
- Is it compelling?
Whether your story is accurate or not is strongly related to how much drama or embellishment it contains. Anyone can tell a great story with a degree from MSU. That’s Make Shit Up. If you really speak three languages, wonderful! But if you actually sorta know a second language and kinda understand part of a third, tell it like it is or don’t tell it. Similarly, all those terrible things you’ve had happen to you? Before you share those again with anyone sit down and write them out. Get rid of the drama. If there’s value in those events, in the lessons you learned, that’s the part that is worth hanging onto.
Your story becomes energized when it becomes compelling. It’s so great, that the person hearing it is drawn to act in your favor. A compelling story is one that identifies a problem, suggests a solution, and shows a benefit. In “One Perfect Pitch,” author Marie Perruchet calls these the storm, rainbow, and pot of gold. No matter if you are selling yourself, an idea, or a physical product, when your audience acknowledges there’s a problem, embraces you or what you offer as a solution, and sees the value of it, they’re much more likely to move into a relationship with you.
Make your story accurate and compelling. Once these pieces are in place, your story, and you, will be the one that’s remembered. It will be the one that they talk about. And likely, they one they adopt.
One Perfect Pitch: Selling Yourself
I highly recommend Ms. Perrruchet’s One Perfect Pitch for anyone who wants to delve deeply into the how-to’s of finely tuning your pitch. In a world that is measured in nanoseconds, it’s become ever more critical to deliver your message quickly, concisely, and with great accuracy. She shows you how to define and refine your pitch so that selling yourself is just part of what you do.
Images: Selling Everything Rick Keyboard GotCredit