Selling Yourself to Your Prospects
by Sheryl Wolowyk
“Selling” certainly has a stigma attached to it, doesn't it?
We think of greasy used car salesmen, over-the-top infomercial types, or maybe the “too suave” guy at the luxury boutique. And although they are different, everyone can agree that they're unsavory, at best.
More often than not, it's because these personas seem “put on.” Their actions and motivations feel forced and fake. They're disingenuous.
In addition to that, they spend most of their time telling us how great their product is, and not much time listening. We feel like we're getting our ears talked off.
Well, I want to erase the terrible connotation of “sales” out of your mind. True salesmanship, when done right, is all about the customer. It's kind, caring, and puts your prospects at ease.
And today, I want to focus on how you can sell yourself, so you not only draw an audience in an organic way, but create a strong demand for your products. Just by being you.
You'll learn how to use the art of storytelling to generate authority…
Why your content and presentations should focus on education first…
And the importance of social proof in establishing credibility…
Storytelling that Elevates
I have talked quite a bit in the past about how useful storytelling can be to your business. It immediately connects you to your audience, perks up your copy, and is a perfect way to get a point across without coming right out and saying it.
Even with all of this, there's another benefit to crafting a good story – it can boost your authority.
Think about the last time you heard a successful ExpertPreneur® speak. Chances are they gave their background story, which involved hitting rock bottom in some way, needing a change, and forging the path that lead them to where they are today. Good standard storytelling.
What you may not have noticed, though, is that the facts weaved throughout that story offer proof of why they are an expert. Why they are able to stand in front of you today and give a speech on whatever topic they're discussing.
Getting you excited to receive their information.
While telling a story for a story's sake is fun, how you construct it is very important. And I want to note that this applies no matter what modality you're working with – stage, webinar, sales copy or video. It applies universally.
First, you must include your “aha!” moment that led you down your career path. Even if it happened at a very young age.
If that moment happens to be because you hit rock bottom, all the better. Most people seek transformation only when they desperately have to. That's relatable.
However, even if that's not the case, dig deep into the reason why you chose your path. There will always be something there that matches the reasons your audience is with you right now.
Second, take the time to discuss how you made that change in your life. Did you work with a mentor? Go to college? Just start a business and learn through trial and error?
It doesn't matter how, what matters is that you establish your credentials. Show people how much experience and knowledge you have by sharing your history. You don't have to give your entire resume, though!
Finally, discuss how much your life has changed since then. Showcase the benefits you are experiencing. This applies to any industry – health and wellness, relationships, business-building. People will want to know how the knowledge they're about to receive could apply to their lives.
By structuring your story in such a way, you will have established your credibility as an ExpertPreneur® and Authority without overtly telling people they should believe you. You will gain their respect and, in turn, get more sales.
Content serves a few functions – lead generation for Ideal Clients, a sales tool priming your readers with information they need, and a way to establish Authority. People will come back over and over again if you offer useful and actionable content.
What you should take away from this, also, is that giving quality information away for free and educating your target market is a surefire way to sell yourself and your business. Your prospects will grow to respect your knowledge and want to know more.
For example, if you are doing a live event, you want to give the most useful and informative presentation possible. Talk in full about a pressing subject for your prospects, and give them tools to transform their lives that day.
What will happen is they'll love and appreciate what you share, and then they'll eventually want to take that knowledge to the next level. And who do you think they'll want as their guide?
The same goes for blogs, webinars, teleseminars, etc… Always maximize the value of what you are presenting. And make sure it's on topics that are important to your target market.
When you develop “freemiums” – free content pieces that can be used for lead generation or as bonuses with products – they should be as valuable as any real product you sell. They don't have to give away the same depth of information, however, they should be actionable.
And that's a key point here: you want to give away valuable information for free. But you don't want to give away too much. There's a fine line.
Value, in this case, means dialing your expertise down to the core concepts that will make the biggest difference for the people you are working with.
It means having a caring attitude, and genuinely wanting to see them have a transformation. Believe me, if you give them too much, it will have the opposite effect you desire: they will be confused and overwhelmed, and probably give up.
That's the last thing you want to have happen as an ExpertPreneur®!
Figure out the basics you can share with your ideal prospects. Give them enough to get started. And they will become your biggest fans.
Just by sharing well-crafted stories about your journey as an ExpertPreneur®, and providing your prospects with quality content, you will establish credibility as a leader in your industry.
However, there is another element that can really round out your image: social proof.
If you don't already know, social proof is any praise of your products or service given by someone else. It could be a customer, another leader in your industry, or even a celebrity.
As you probably know, when you praise yourself, people become skeptical. Think about that friend from school who bragged about everything they did. Didn't you find yourself rolling your eyes and thinking, “yeah, right…”?
When you supplement your storytelling, sales letters, and presentations with real social proof, you leap right over that skepticism. When people see others just like them benefitting from your product or service, they start to take you seriously.
Now, there are a few ways you can generate social proof. You can send surveys out to your customers after they've worked with you for a while, or had your product for a few months. You could also have one-on-one conversations with them, asking them specific questions about their experience.
If you sell through Amazon.com or another website like it, you can encourage your customers to get online and give a starred review. Those tend to be quite candid and offer great insight into your customer's mindset.
You should also consider getting endorsements from other industry leaders, even celebrities. Have them review your product, or use your coaching or consulting service, and give their feedback for your audience.
One word of caution, though: Make sure your Ideal Client actually follows the industry leaders and celebrities you get endorsements from. Especially when seeking out a celebrity (and I mean that in the broadest sense – local celebrities count, too!), make sure they are someone your target market respects.
No matter your method, it's ideal to get a wide range of people who use your service. That way you can pick and choose which you present to your audience, depending on who they are.
And that's a key: when presenting social proof, the people you are quoting must be relevant to the people who you are speaking to. Otherwise, it won't matter much to them.
Anyway, by offering social proof, you will improve your business success exponentially. People will want to experience the transformation others have experienced. And you will get a lot more sales.
It Isn't So Bad
Once you break it down, selling yourself isn't all that awful, is it?
All you have to do is what you do best – educate and help others. Show how much you care and how much knowledge you have to give.
When you just give and don't worry about tactics and “sales tricks”, it not only makes things a lot easier for you, but you end up performing a lot better. People will enjoy listening to you, communicating with you, and buying from you. Earning you more while doing what you love.
And as an ExpertPreneur®, you really can't ask for more.