Monday, February 24, 2014

People Buy People

People 'buy' People.

What are they 'buying' from you?

Seriously. Think about this. What is it that people get and can expect when they interact and work with you? Is it worth the price?  If what you have to offer is not uniquely different than the person standing next to you, then why would someone choose you?

It starts to feel a little like picking sports teams in grade-school, no one wants to be the last one 'picked' for the team, but this is what happens every day in business.  When you go for an interview, when project teams are being put together, when promotions are being made, when consultants are hired.  Skills, abilities, attitudes and experiences are being bought, which means we are all in the business of selling ourselves.

How good is your sales process?

As with any product, you can't sell what you don't know.  How clear are you about your strengths?  You can't articulate and highlight what you don't know.  Ideally you want to build your brand around the key strengths you possess that are both marketable AND that you enjoy using.  An exercise that I use with clients to help them uncover these strengths is the following...
Take out a piece of paper and draw a quick chart. Down the left-hand column, create a list of your accomplishments and achievements that still instill you with pride. Pride is a key component because if you still feel good about what you achieved you likely used some talents and skills you enjoy.  
Across the top row you are going to list your abilities.  Start with the first accomplishment you listed and consider the various skills and abilities that you called upon to help you complete that task.  List them in the top row, checking each off in the row across from its associated accomplishment.  
Look at the next accomplishment you listed and check off any of the abilities you added that apply to this accomplishment.  Some may have been used while others hadn't.  Add any additional skills that you haven't yet indicated.
Continue to review each accomplishment, checking off any of the abilities you've listed that were used to complete each, while also adding any additional skills/abilities that were also used.
When completed, take a look at the abilities with the most check marks. These likely represent those skills/abilities that you call upon the most and represent your key strengths. Given that these accomplishments are pride-filled moments for you, these strengths are also likely to be things you enjoy doing and are talents that others recognise in you and turn to you for help with. These are the elements that people 'buy' from you.
Knowing what you have to sell to others is one thing, selling it is another.  People can't buy what they don't know is for sale.  What are your marketing strategies?  Doing great work, and letting it speak for you, is one strategy... but it is only one. On its own it is insufficient to ensure that your product - 'you' - stands out on the shelves.  What other strategies could you implement that help you to stand out and be seen?  Here are a couple of quick tips borrowed from our Bragging Rights program to help get you started...

  • When you have helped someone out and they thank you, don't ever respond with... 'No problem'.  Ever.  Saying 'no problem' implies that, in fact, it was no problem.  Which is rarely ever true.  Don't diminish the work you did by saying that it was no problem.  Simply saying 'you're welcome' is better, but consider letting them know you went out of your way for them by saying something along the lines of... 'I know how important it was to your project so I juggled a few things to make some room to help you out'.  It never hurts to let someone know you are willing to give a little something extra, which helps differentiate you from the rest of the crowd.
  • When you enjoy doing something, let people know... so you can get more of it!  We may be good at many things, but we really only want to work on those that we are both good at AND love doing. Others aren't likely to distinguish between the two if you don't highlight the difference for them.  
  • When you meet people that you haven't seen in a while and they ask you what you've been up to, do not... I repeat ... DO NOT simply say 'nothing much', or 'keeping busy'.  Give them some insight. This is a great opportunity to insert a little brag-bite, a short update on something, just one thing, that you have been doing that highlights a strength.  Make it short, snappy, interesting... but start getting the word out about what it is that you can do if you want people to remember it, and you, when great new projects are coming down the pipe.  
People are constantly in the market for people.  People to help bridge the gap between their personal talents and their needs.  Help them to see you as the right fit for that gap by selling yourself appropriately.  People are buying people all the time.  If they are not buying 'you' then it may be time for you to revamp your marketing strategies.

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