I typically tell people I have a decade of sales and marketing experience because that essentially dates back to my first “grown up” job at Merrill Lynch in 2005. But to be honest, I had “sales” jobs even before that. In high school I applied for this program that involved working for Macy's as basically a teen brand ambassador. At the time, I thought I wanted to work in fashion – and Macy's is basically the only department store in Memphis, Tennessee – so it was kind of exciting. Little did I know, some of my “ambassador” duties included being that annoying girl shoving perfume samples in your face and begging you to just tryyyyy it.
It was – in my typical over-dramatic teenager life – the worst.
Trying to sell stuff to people who aren't interested is bad enough, but being an awkward, introverted 16 year old girl trying to sell (overwhelmingly smelly) perfume to people who aren't interested is a special kind of awful.
I am NOT naturally good at sales.
I am naturally good at shopping when things are on sale, but that's an unrelated skill.
If you are a blogger / small business owner the most important sale you'll ever make is yourself.
Whether you are selling a product or service, you need an audience to sell it to.
That audience is made up of real people, and if people don't know, like, and trust YOU, they won't buy what you're selling. You have to be able to sell YOURSELF before you can sell any of your products or services.
I'd love to tell you that if your product or service is really amazing, people will buy it anyway… but that would be a lie.
I'd also love to tell you that selling yourself is really easy… but for many people, that's not the case.
I mentioned earlier, I'm not naturally good at sales, but I can sell anything I believe in – to pretty much anyone – because I can sell MYSELF and I'm good at figuring out what people want.
Full disclosure, since my days pushing fragrances at the mall, I've actually had years of formal sales training. And over the past decade, I've sold everything from multi-million dollar investments in long-short hedge funds to $10 costume jewelry. I've sold products, services, and myself more times than I can count, so I promise you, it's not that hard – IF YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND YOU BELIEVE THAT WHATEVER YOU ARE SELLING CAN HELP PEOPLE.
I tried to re-write that last sentence for maybe 20 minutes because it sounds so touchy feely – and I hate touchy feely – but there's no way to get around it in this case. Believe in yourself. If you are going to let your self-doubt issues prevent you from putting yourself out there, you will absolutely have a hard time selling anything. Get over it. Seriously.
So here's the thing. I know the idea of “sales” makes people feel icky. No one likes telemarketers. No one likes product pushers. No one likes the cheesy car salesman. (I've never even bought a car and I'm not a fan). But if you are reading this blog post, chances are, whatever you're selling isn't lame. Whether you provide a service like coaching / consulting / photography / design or you create digital or physical products, YOU have a serious advantage when it comes to sales:
You are in control of what you are selling and who you are selling it to.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”That audience is made up of real people, and if people don't know, like, and trust YOU, they won't buy what you're selling. You have to be able to sell YOURSELF before you can sell any of your products or services.” quote=”That audience is made up of real people, and if people don't know, like, and trust YOU, they won't buy what you're selling. You have to be able to sell YOURSELF before you can sell any of your products or services.”]
Most people who are out there selling stuff are selling someone else's products and services – and they are selling it to whoever their employer tells them to sell it to. That kind of sales is not so fun unless you really like selling.
But if you are creating YOUR OWN products or services to sell – even if you hate the idea of “sales” – YOU GOT THIS.
You're not selling products, you're solving problems.
You're not selling services, you're serving your clients.
You're not selling, you're helping.