No matter what you do for a living—you’re in sales. We’re all in sales all the time. Everything is a sales pitch. When you give your opinion on a conference call, you’re selling an idea. When you negotiate breakfast options with your kids, you’re selling a product. Heck, when you update Twitter you’re selling yourself.
Growing your business is a constant sales pitch. You have to seem larger and more experienced than you are. You have to take jobs that will stretch your company and force it to grow. You have to stick your neck out. You have to say “sure we can do that” first and then check with the powers that be to make sure that you can.
Selling yourself is the exact same game. What’s for sale is YOU. If you want someone to take a leap of faith on you, you must act larger, more passionate and more experienced than you feel. And it’s not easy to do. Most of us feel awkward when we put ourselves out there. You know exactly what I’m talking about. When you stick your neck out (and they say yes), you’re afraid they will find out that you’re really not all that you claim to be. That anxious feeling is the psychological hot button of sales. It’s there and always will be. And just like that gene that made you lactose intolerant, it’s not going anywhere. So you have to learn how to deal with it.
In this economy, what people want most from you is confidence.
I’m feeling it right now. With every new gig comes the fear of failing and fraudulence.
Do I think I can do it? You bet I do. I think I’d knock it out of the park. But I’ve got to sell myself first and deal with the fraud factor later. I can’t walk into the room and say, “Just so we’re all clear, I’ve never really done this before, and I have my doubts, and I just wanted to share my insecurities with you in case I don’t measure up once you pick me.” And neither can you.
They are hiring me for my confidence. So I’ve got to promise that I can do something before I know that I can. And in this economy, what people want most from you is confidence. It’s easy to lack confidence right now.
You are probably busy telling yourself, “No one is buying in this economy.” You may even be worried about your company’s viability or your own job security. This makes selling even tougher. The anxiousness that comes with selling in an economy like this is simply that same old fraud factor at work. You will always feel awkward when you are uncertain about how things will turn out. Always.
The first step to selling yourself—to selling confidence—is recognizing that the pit in your stomach isn’t the economy. It’s the fear of putting yourself out there. It just so happens you are putting yourself out there at a time when the economy isn’t doing so great.
The truth is, people are buying in this economy. They are buying products, services and solutions. And they are buying from people with confidence.
So ditch the economy as your excuse and pick up the phone. You may feel awkward at first, but trust me. The person on the other end of the line wants exactly what you’ve got: a huge jolt of confidence.
This article was published in February 2009 and has been updated. Photo courtesy of Mel Robbins