By Hannah Cohen. Appeared in APeeling November 2019
Until recently, I never realized how much my life revolved around sales, branding, marketing and understanding the needs of my customers. My sales life started from a very young age in Girl Guides. I would go door to door selling boxes of the mint and “Oreo” style cookies. There were no sales goals or targets for Girl Guiders, they just wanted you to do your best to sell one or two boxes. I, on the other hand, would sell cases of cookies. I sold them to students in school, teachers, principals, neighbors, my after-school program councilors and of course family members.
I created my own versions of sales funnels. I put up printed notices anywhere I frequented stating I was selling Girl Guide cookies allowing anyone to fill in the information, name, phone number, quantity and to sign up for your boxes (Pre-sales).
I would revisit the locations every week to count how many boxes were sold and if the area I was selling in had any interest in buying the cookies (Metrics & Analytics). I would go door to door with the same forms asking neighbors if they wanted to pre-purchase boxes of cookies (Direct marketing/Direct sales)
What does this have to do with my topic? Everything! I was my brand, dressed in the Girl Guide uniform, even though my friends made fun of me all the time. This built trust, I was identifiable, in a uniform, showing that I was not trying to fool anyone. Why is trust the most important thing in branding and sales? People buy from people they know and trust.
Now, how do you build trust when you meet complete strangers, or even if you are introverted or have little to no confidence? In this article I’m going to show you some quick steps to start taking to build your authenticity and your best brand, YOU.
Let’s start with some simple easy tricks… Ready?
Yes, you read that right, Language. Building yourself as a brand means everything about you is who you are. Your language speaks volumes to trust and how much trust your potential clients will invest in you. Here are some words NEVER to use in business and definitely not in written correspondence.
WE: So who is ‘we’ who has ownership if issues arise? Why aren’t you taking ownership over this? These are the questions that subconsciously run through everyone’s mind when you use WE. Instead replace it with I or whomever will handle the account going forward. Just think you call a company, you are asked ‘who did you speak with’ is your answer I talked to ‘WE’ or someone’s name? Which is stronger?
HAVE: Ever hear the saying “There are 10 seconds to make an impression?” well, don’t use the word HAVE! It is a weak useless word. Look at a resume, how many times do you need to read I have this talent I have done that task, before you think wow big ego with nothing to show. If the sentence will flow without the word, then delete it. Rewrite what you are trying to convey with strength and power. For example: I have worked with a sales team. I have achieved sales goals. I have increased overall sales by 70%. V.S. I spearheaded my sales team by setting high targets, developing tactics to motivate my team, the results, we achieved a 70% increase in sales volume. Which is stronger?
THINK: No one is coming to your business to hear what you have to think. There is google, consumer reports and reviews to hear what people think about you, the product, or the service. Consumers want to KNOW what you know. To demonstrate, you have to be confident, not just in your products or services but yourself as well. Instead of saying “I think that’s a great idea” say “That’s a great idea” BIG TIP, if you do not know something, don’t bullshit! Nothing pisses off a customer more than a liar and a moron. Want to know my rule of thumb? I say “You bring up a great point, I don’t know the answer to that, let’s find out together” You win way more brownie points with someone if you are humble, honest and demonstrate that you are willing to find the answer without lying to them.
There are many other techniques to convey confidence and improve your communication in life, but once you get started you will start to see the benefits of implementing simple little adjustments when talking to new clients, friends, family and your community.