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VOL. 36 | NO. 52 | Friday, December 28, 2012

How to push your most valuable product

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Print | Front Page | Email this story

Another possible client said “no” today, and you don’t know what to do.

You’ve followed everything you’ve been taught in school and in on-the-job training. You’ve dressed the part of the executive, put plenty of work into meetings, and tried to be serious about your presentation. You’ve even taken the initiative to email everyone who’s involved and you still heard “no.”

You tried to make a sale and were unsuccessful, but maybe you were selling the wrong thing. In “The Art of Selling Yourself” by Adam Riccoboni and Daniel Callaghan, you’ll see what clients really buy.

You are not just a salesman for your business. Selling yourself, says Riccoboni and Callaghan, is just as important; more so, if you’re an entrepreneur. Selling yourself is the best way to put your strengths to the forefront of business and to gain success.

The first thing you need is to develop self-belief and confidence because you can’t ask someone to believe in you unless you believe in yourself. To do this, understand and appreciate your own qualities, define your Unique Selling Points, and learn to maximize eye contact and a warm smile to project confidence.

"The Art of Selling Yourself"

by Adam Riccoboni and Daniel Callaghan

c.2012, Tarcher Penguin

$15.99

188 pages

Next, prepare, prepare, then prepare some more. Do your research, rehearse what you plan to say, and write a succinct 60-second “elevator pitch.” Know how to structure a meeting and an email for maximized attention, and never, ever leave any questions unanswered.

At that all-important first meeting, be sure that you’re dressed for business. Watch your body language and pay close attention to the body language you see; what isn’t said is important as what is said. Know your audience, mirror them by confirming key points, and don’t be embarrassed to take notes.

Remember that email is forever.

Cultivate empathy because you should understand clients before you can expect them to buy from you. Always under-promise and over-deliver, which will delight the client and the boss. Understand the 80/20 Rule and use it to your advantage when prospecting for new business. Be willing to go the extra mile, know how to bounce back, and learn to manage media, including the social kind. Lastly, cultivate an aura of leadership; it’s a trait you’ll need often for a successful future.

You’ve probably already figured out one thing: “The Art of Selling Yourself” is very, very basic. It’s a primer for a newbie, for sure, but it also might work as a refresher for someone who’s stuck in a sales rut.

And yet, there are issues…

In building a salesperson, authors Adam Riccoboni and Daniel Callaghan move step-by-step, methodically, which is helpful. Not so helpful is personal advice on giving compliments, smiling a lot and managing media. The first two could easily become smarmy and insincere. Depending on the industry and experience-level, the latter could be downright career-ending.

I think this book has its merits, but generally only with supervision from an experienced mentor or as a brush-up for someone in a slump. Without those two caveats, “The Art of Selling Yourself” rather leans toward a “no.”

Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of business books are read in more than 260 publications in the U.S. and Canada.

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