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How To Sell Yourself Without Being “Salesy”

We all know how it feels to be on the other end of a tacky sales pitch, one that is sold in a sleazy, forthcoming and pushy tone — it can be a very unpleasant experience! But when your job, position, and expectations are to sell, you know that there is a fine line between authentic and inauthentic interactions. We teamed up with author, speaker, and entrepreneur, Dallas Dance, to go over everything you need to know about how to make an authentic sales pitch about yourself.

Dallas Dance is the President and CEO of the DDance Group, Inc., and believes wholeheartedly in authentic leadership and the power of being bold and courageous if you want to achieve big goals and solve tough challenges. This mentality applies directly to your approach to sales, as connecting with others is the first step to building long, lasting business relationships.

Change a Sales Pitch to a Dialogue.

It might be your first instinct as a salesperson to talk — how else do you sell without talking? But Dallas Dance cannot stress enough how important it is to listen to your clients for more time than you spend speaking to them. Being responsive to a prospective client’s needs, asking them opened-ended questions, and listening with intent goes a long way to fostering long-term relationships. Allowing people to openly speak about their needs puts you in the role of partner and consultant rather than salesperson and opens people up to trusting you. Try turning the conversation around, turning your sales conversation into more of an interview.

Dallas Dance suggests finding out information about what they are looking for and what their needs are, to position yourself as someone who really cares. This tactic will not only increase your experience of sales but will set you up for recommending the best possible product or service for their needs (and thus improving your service and their experience with your company). While using ‘listening’ as a sales tactic may sound sleazy, the most important thing to remember is that it also provides you with a much more pleasant selling experience.

Build an Online Presence.

Taking a step outside of face-to-face sales for a moment, let’s talk a bit about selling online. Social media has become a necessary marketing tool and tactic, and just as in face-to-face sales, it is easy to spot inauthentic ‘salesy’ content. Dallas Dance’s suggestion for a better sales tactic? Showcase content that doesn’t intend to ‘sell’ anyone on your products or services but provides them with something of much greater value. Instead of thinking about it as selling your product or service to someone, think about helping them buy.

When you sculpt your online presence through social media, it is important to be more than sales, and to provide people with useful information about: how to build a better brand, how to use hemp flour to bake, how to tie a head scarf in 10 different ways. These are all contingent on being a digital marketing agency, vegan baking company, and scarf manufacturer, but you get the point. Dallas Dance explains that being able to integrate helpful videos, posts, and ‘how-to’ advice into people’s lives gives them more value than: “Here is my product, please buy it”.

It is also important to steer away from product focused content, to provide a bit of humor, entertainment, and fun into your social media feed. There is an 80/20 rule in social media, where 4 posts either entertain or offer useful advice on a relevant topic or subject matter, and only 1 (in context), should be selling your product. In a world of transparency and disconnection, people are looking to find content that engages them directly with their interests and cares about helping them navigate their daily lives.

Utilize Search Engine Optimization.

All the above tools lean into the idea that your customer should come to you. Marketing that draws potential customers to initiate contact with a business rather than the other way around is very powerful and is called inbound marketing. One of the ways you are able to do this is through a tactic called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is an approach that requires ongoing maintenance and commitment, and often generates better leads and higher conversions.

From a sales perspective, one of the biggest advantages of inbound marketing is that, rather than interrupting prospects with unwanted solicitations, they are voluntarily coming to you to seek answers, advice, or information. Dallas Dance explains that while this may seem like a passive sales tactic, it is quickly becoming one of the most popular for the sole reason that it works.

Know How You Provide Value.

This might be the best piece of advice yet: When you do get in front of people (either in-person or online), try to think less about the product or service that you are selling, and try to consider what it is actually helping people do. Dallas Dance suggests conducting a brainstorm on your “why”—this will help you structure you sales pitch both online and in-person. At the end of the day, nobody cares about the coaching, web design or consulting services you provide, but if you tell them what it might be able to do for them, you might be onto a winner. Asking yourself why your ideal clients should care is an important step in formulating a sales pitch that doesn’t overly sell your product or service. It is easy to get into the habit of talking about what you’re selling and not why you’re selling it. Remember: focus on the “why”.

To summarize, try to be as authentic as you possibly can when marketing yourself and your business online and in-person. You’ve fallen behind on orders due to overwhelming demand? Post about it on social media. People love authenticity and a little bit of vulnerability. The old days of highly calculated and ‘pristine’ marketing and sales pitches are over, and Dallas Dance suggests jumping on the vulnerability bandwagon. If you think about how you like to be approached, spoken to, or sold a product, try and embody those characteristics the next time you’re concerned you’re sounding to ‘salesy

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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