How to Sell Your Ideas Without Being “Salesy” – Part 2

When parents are raising their children, they often dream of what their kids will become … a doctor, a lawyer, a pastor, or whatever. I suspect very few of them dream of the day their kid will become a salesperson. That would probably sound a bit sleazy to a lot of parents.

But the fact is, everyone who gets ahead at any career gets there … partly … because they are good at selling something. Perhaps the doctor is able to “sell” the patient on the idea of continuing to pursue a certain treatment regimen. Or the lawyer is able to “sell” the client on the advisability of using her services in the future. Or an employee is able to “sell” the boss on the idea that they deserve a promotion because of their great talents.

So selling … properly … is not sleazy. It’s the way life works. When you learn to “sell” without being “salesy,” a world of opportunities opens up to you.

In last week’s Tuesday Tip, I suggested a few “selling” strategies. Let me take you a bit further today.

► 1. Manage your “brand image.”

In other words, you have an image. People see you a certain way. And the image you project has a huge impact on your sales effectiveness.

Have you ever thought about how people see you? On what people think about your “brand image?” Many people haven’t.

And lots of other people who have thought about their “brand image” come to a stupid conclusion. They’ll say something like, “That’s just the way I am. If they don’t like what they see, that’s their problem. They can take it or leave it.”

It sounds noble, but it’s highly counterproductive. For example, you know you wouldn’t talk to your boss or customers the way you might talk to some buddies or girlfriends at the bar … if you wanted to get ahead. It just wouldn’t work. You know that you have to manage your “brand image” to get the results you want at work or in life.

So I’m advising you to give some serious thought about how you come across to other people. If you don’t know, start asking. And if you don’t like what you hear, start changing.

If you’re not selling others on getting all the cooperation you need … whether that comes from your coworkers, your customers, your spouse, your kids, or your friends … then it’s time to ask what image you are projecting.

Do your customers see you as apathetically taking their business for granted? Or do they see you as a person who’s eager to give the very best service?

Do your kids see you as a pushover who doesn’t have to be listened to? Or do they see a parent who is worthy of respect and means business?

Sometimes you have to stop pointing your finger at what the other person is NOT doing and look at the perception you are creating.

► 2. Show appreciation.

A lot of people think “selling” something is all about “getting” something from others. That’s partly true. But one of the most effective ways to “sell” is to “give appreciation.”

Perhaps no one does it better than legendary football player Peyton Manning. He is truly a man of letter … the handwritten kind. As Manning puts it, “I don’t know who qualifies for a letter, necessarily. It’s probably just somebody I played against for a long time or guys who played the game the right way.”

Former All-Pro safety John Lynch said he treasures the letter he got from Manning upon his retirement in 2008. “I was so touched that the very first letter I got when I retired was from Peyton,” Lynch said. “It was a handwritten note that meant more than the gift ever was. He sent a case full of Silver Oak. It meant so much to me because of the respect I have for him. I still don’t drink it. So there’s a case of Silver Oak in my wine cellar to this day from him.”

Manning said the habit of writing letters, as opposed to relying exclusively on email, is a holdover from childhood. “My mother sent me an article one day on the fact that the handwritten letter was becoming a lost art in the text-messaging and e-mail world,” he said. “My mom said, ‘Hey, just so you know, when sending a thank-you note, if someone hosted you at their home, or sent a wedding gift, or a thank-you gift, an e-mail is not acceptable. A handwritten letter is what you must write. So I’ve got to give credit to her.”

When Manning was in high school, he was flooded with recruiting letters from college coaches. The first thing he would do when he read a hand-signed one was lick his thumb and rub the signature to see if it smeared, checking if the autograph was penned or stamped.

“I remember when I got my first handwritten letter from [former Florida State coach] Bobby Bowden, telling me he really enjoyed watching me play,” he said. “Boy, it had a big impact on me. He took the time to write that letter. I knew it wasn’t his assistant writing it.”

It was the showing of appreciation that “sold” Peyton on joining certain football teams. And it was the showing of appreciation to others in the football industry that “sold” them on Peyton.

Scott Jerabek from the Bayer Crop Service learned that at my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary experience. Scott said, “Thank you for the outstanding experience at your Journey and for the positive changes that I’ve been able to make. By just using one of your techniques, exhibiting an attitude of gratitude, I’ve broken through some barriers in my career as a professional salesperson. And I’ve been able to improve, really improve, two of my tougher customer relationships. On top of all that, your Journey gave me the tools to maintain a positive mental attitude and build my self-esteem. Thank you again.”

Scott learned how to “sell” or “get more cooperation” by giving more appreciation. I invite you to join my next and last public offering of my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program coming March 31-April 1, 2021. Register during the month of November and save hundreds.

Final Thought: Over the years, the words have changed a bit, but the sentiment hasn’t. I remember my grandparents asking, “What does it take to get a little cooperation around here?” I remember my parents and first boss wondering, “How do I get people to do what I want them to do?” And today we use the more “sophisticated” word of “engagement.”

They all mean pretty much the same thing. It all comes down to “selling” yourself and your ideas. You’ve just learned two more ways to do that.