Whether or not you do it for a living, absolutely everyone sells. If you are not in a sales role and proudly claim that you have nothing to do with that side of the business, then you might very well be missing out on some helpful insights on how to accelerate your career. In every business and personal role we play in life, we need to sell in one way or another. Just consider the following questions and ask yourself whether you have ever: Bargained for a better discount?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions then guess what? You are already in sales! And if you happen to be a fully fledged "salesperson" in terms of your career, then you are probably a step up from those who are in "denial" about the fact that they are selling themselves every day, whether in the workplace or in any other areas of their lives.
It is important to remember that before you can sell yourself successfully to other people and thus also sell your ideas, wishes, needs, ambitions, skills, experience, products or services, you must be 100 per cent sold on yourself.
It is equally true that before you can sell your product to somebody else, you must be 100 per cent convinced about how good it is. Otherwise, you won't be able to sell with conviction and, no matter how much you try to fake it, people will see right through you.
You must believe in yourself and have complete self-confidence. In short, you must be totally aware of your own self-worth. It was my mother, Grace Girard, who instilled this in me and also taught me how essential it is to have self-respect.
She spent most of her life assuring me that I could be "number one" by always stressing the importance of selling myself and thinking of myself as worthy. In her own way, she was saying what my friend Dr Norman Vincent Peale told me years later: "Joe, you are what you believe, you are what you think you are."
It all begins with how you think about yourself and really knowing who you are.
There is no one in the entire world to equal you, who can match your fingerprints, voice, features or personality. You are an original in the fullest sense of the word. In that sense you are and always will be number one. And now that you realise it, your job is to reinforce that fact in your conscious and subconscious mind every day.
You can only win in the business of selling yourself by believing you are number one and acting as if you are. You should remind yourself about this every single day – either verbally or by using some other visible sign. Just as plants need to be cared for on a regular basis, so does your mind. As Dr Peale, the best-selling author of The Power of Positive Thinking counsels, "say it and say it and say it again. You are what you think you are."
You should also firmly believe that you sell the world's number one product – YOU!
It should go without saying that you must come across with sincerity. Being sincere is the easiest part of selling. It's simply a matter of caring about your customer and believing in what you sell. If you don't feel this way, my advice is to seek other employment or find a product to sell that you really do believe in.
It's imperative that sincerity goes together with honesty. Don't ever think about lying because once you lie, you've lost all credibility. And as far as I'm concerned, you're through – completely finished. As the Greek writer Aesop once said, "A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth."
Certainly the last thing a salesperson – and I have been a successful one for most of my adult life – can afford to do is to play around with the truth, to colour it or to stretch it. A salesperson who lies or comes out with half-truths will soon find himself without prospects, without customers and without a job.
Points to note