Learn How to Sell

Learn how to sell yourself and your ideas. For this blog post, I want to talk about a recent article that I read from Inc.com, Best Career Advice: Learn How to Sell. The first few lines in the article say it all:

No matter what career you’re planning, there’s no smarter move than learning how to sell.

That’s especially true for entrepreneurs. You may have the greatest idea in the business world, but if you can’t sell that idea, you won’t and can’t attract investors, customers, or talented employees.

Another hard truth that many people have to face is this:

a mediocre performer who knows how to sell will ALWAYS beat an exceptional performer who doesn’t. And an exceptional performer who also knows how to sell ALWAYS beats out everyone else.

Sometimes, I hear people ask, « what does she/he have that I don’t? » Or they make a comment that they could come up with better ideas than someone else.  Unfortunately the person they are criticizing is the one who has a successful business or the one running a successful organization. One main reason could be because they know how to sell their idea and themselves. They can sell not only in a conversation, but in writing. The question of what someone may possess that you may not is actually a good one. Asking why someone may be more successful at the same thing as you is not bad. It is good to self reflect and assess what you can improve on. Observe this entrepreneur’s approach; how do they talk to customers, potential clients, donors, sponsors and people around them?  What types of marketing strategy do they use to attract the people they want? How do they sell their product or service? Pay attention to their language; both body language and the words they use.

Another area that I notice that most of us struggle with is in writing.  Some of us could sell anything if we just had to talk to people, but when it comes to putting our ideas on paper (or on the computer in this age of technology), we draw a blank. Selling yourself through writing is a skill though that every entrepreneur most also acquire.  Some people would like to see an entrepreneur that has diverse communication skills.  You have to be able to outline how feasible your idea is both on a long term and short term basis. Most importantly, you won’t be able to reach everyone by word of mouth, so you must use all methods of communication. In the article though, there is a resource that stood out to me about, How to Have a Meaningful Conversation:

As an entrepreneur you must approach almost all encounters as an opportunity to sell yourself. I have a friend who recently started her own business and in the first 15 seconds of any conversation she tries to say: « Hello my name is…and I recently started my own business. » Right away, whoever she’s speaking to has an idea about her, what she does and even maybe start making connections on how they could possibly work together. This is something that can be practiced and does take time. For more resources, check out the article: Learn How to Sell.

Janice Williams