The Real You
Copyright © 2003
I often wonder how the practice began of pretending to be someone
else in order to market your business. You know what I'm talking
about -- it's the marketing face, the selling voice, that you
often put on in order to attend a networking event or make a sales
call. Who taught you to do that?
I have a suspicion where we learn this behavior. Most of us spend
a lifetime observing showroom salespeople, product spokespersons
in the media, and hucksters on street corners. What we see
demonstrated there is artificial enthusiasm, manipulative use of
language, feigned interest, and in some cases outright deception.
Sounds awful, doesn't it? So why copy any part of this distasteful
way of selling?
Psychologist Abraham Maslow said, "If all you have is a
hammer, everything looks like a nail." Perhaps we believe
this is the only way we can sell because it's the only way we
know. I'm not accusing anyone of consciously deceiving prospective
clients. What I'm suggesting is that what we do unconsciously and
automatically is to behave nauthentically around them.
Intuitively, many of us feel as if something is wrong with this
way of operating. When we have to sell ourselves, we find it
unpleasant, disagreeable, even repulsive. But what if all those
negative feelings were simply because we hate the artificiality
and manipulation we think must be a part of selling?
Imagine what it would be like to go to a business networking event
as yourself. No facade, no pretension, just plain you. When
someone asks your reason for coming, you tell them the truth. You
don't have to claim you wanted to hear the speaker (if you
didn't). You can come right out and say, "I'm hoping to make
some contacts that will lead to business for me."
You wouldn't have to invent reasons to start a conversation. You
can walk up to someone who looks interesting and say, "Hi, I
haven't met you yet." If you're shy around strangers, you can
tell the first person you meet, "I'm sort of a wallflower and
feel awkward at events like this. Could you introduce me to some
Now imagine placing a follow-up call to a prospect where you are
completely honest. You could say, "I have some days open on
my calendar soon and I'm wondering if this would be a good time
for that project we've been discussing." Or, "We haven't
talked in a while and I'd like to find out if you're still
planning to start the new training program this year."
I see so many professionals and consultants struggle with trying
to find an "excuse" to call a prospect. You don't need
some manufactured excuse. You know the reason you're calling. Most
of the time THEY know the reason you're calling. Just say what it
Let's extend this same principle to making a cold call. Instead of
stumbling around awkwardly trying to make a polished -- but
unnatural -- sales approach, imagine yourself saying, "I'm
not much of a salesperson, but I'm really good at what I do. Can
we have a conversation about what you need and see if I'm the
right person for the job?"
If you've been working from a cold-calling script that makes you
flush and get a tight throat every time you read it, throw it out.
Come up with one really good opening line that feels authentic and
gets directly to the point. Then decide how you will answer --
honestly -- some of the typical questions prospects ask you. My
bet is that your calls will immediately get easier.
In fact, the more you become honest, direct, and authentic in all
of your marketing, the more appealing selling will be to you, the
more effortless it will become, and the more success you will
ultimately achieve. Because most business results from building
relationships, and how can you develop a relationship with someone
when you never reveal who you really are?
About the Author:
Hayden is the author of Get Clients NOW! Since 1992, C.J.
has been teaching business owners and salespeople to make
more money with less effort. She is a Master Certified Coach
and leads workshops internationally. Read more of her
articles at www.getclientsnow.com