Even highly experienced and successful salespeople can have a blind spot. So intent on what they want to accomplish, it’s easy to ignore how others view them. And it isn’t always complimentary. “Oh, don’t take Sally seriously. Just remember that she’s in sales.” This is one reason why year-after-year salespeople find themselves on the bottom rung of the public’s trust ladder.
Going into sales can be like having three strikes hanging over your head everyday: instant distrust, not being taken seriously, and getting more rejections than you deserve. What’s amazing is that so many stay in the field even when few gain significant success.
To cope with these negatives, salespeople also have an “other job” and that’s marketing themselves more effectively. Here are seven ideas for how to go about it:
1. Define yourself. Cultivating how others perceive them should be the No. 1 priority for sales professionals. With everything instantaneous, including the way others see them, there are no second chances. No one takes time to figure them out or has time to make an effort to get an accurate picture of what they’re all about.
The salesperson’s “other job” starts with identifying those characteristics customers value and respond to positively, as well as those that bother them and cause them to look for someone else.
When salespeople ignore defining themselves, others will do it for them — and chances are the results will not be what they want.
2. Share what you know. Having the right selling skills is basic, but salespeople often ignore the critical role knowledge plays in attracting customers and closing sales. Today’s customers look for evidence that a salesperson possesses the level of expertise they expect from those they work with.
One of the most effective ways to demonstrate competence in a digital world is blogging. Whether it’s making your ideas, experience and knowledge available by email, on your website, in industry publications or posting on LinkedIn, sharing what you know is an excellent way to connect with prospects and to let customers know why it’s in their best interest to work with you.
3. Be on time. It may seem like a minor, relatively unimportant, or overly compulsive issue, but being on time is a performance benchmark. Having a reputation for being late sticks; it doesn’t go away. “Don’t give that assignment to him,” the manager said. “He never meets deadlines.”
Anyone in sales who wants to show customers that they are dependable, reliable, and can be counted on, being on time sends the message, a characteristic that has immense value in business.
4. Not talking about yourself. Some salespeople just can’t resist trying to impress prospects and customers by interjecting themselves (and often their customers) into the conversation. It’s easy to forget that those we speak with are interested in overcoming their problems, having their needs met, and pursuing their opportunities, not listening to a salesperson’s “stories.”
It’s your solutions, not your “war stories” that get your customers’ attention. When you give them what they need, they’ll be quick to tell others what you have done for them.
Next page: 3 more self-marketing ideas
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