When we thing about the word sales we thing about a car sales man or maybe a retail sales person. We say, “that is definitely not for me!” However, I believe that one of the most important skills to be learned for success are sales and people skills. Being a salesperson can take you so far.
There is one thing that you will have to sell for the rest of your life, and that’s you!
Whether it is your business you are selling to potential clients, or your idea to your boss. In interviews, with potential partners. Its all about how you sell yourself that will make the difference. So here are 16 things and tips to consider when trying to make a great impression and how to sell yourself. These are things I have done in interviews, when meeting people, and when trying to sell.
1. Eye contact
Now this should be a no brainer but you have no idea how many people don’t do this. For many its shines, others its lack of interest but eye contact is telling the other person they have your undivided attention. Detectives and body language experts say that when a person avoids eye contact it is a sign of dishonestly. Don’t come across as dishonest and just look.
2. Handshake or hug?
I am Latina so I love to embrace people with hugs all the time! However, this depends on who you are meeting. If its a potential client or a potential boss, please handshake. Now there is a science to the handshake, let me explain.
-Doing the twist
Studies show that when you twist your hands it can indicate dominance or submission either way it is not a good move.
-Keep it straight forward
When you keep your hand straight forward and give a shake of no more than three seconds those are the ones that tend to feel more comfortable to those meeting you. When I feel extra confident I will add a gentle touch to their hands with my left hand and I will explain why later.
-Hug it out
Now if its anything that is not in a professional setting I always try for a hug. The hug doesn’t need to be long or strong it just needs to be a warm embrace.
Note: please do not touch people that don’t want to be touched. People will usually signal with their bodies when they are not down with physical embraces. Their feet and legs will slightly move so they are not facing you. They might cross their arms. Or the most obvious they will quickly just put out their hand. Respect people and their space.
3. Speak clearlyNot speaking clearly will make you seem less confident and boring. People don’t want to be guessing what you said. It makes people uneasy and nervous. Two things you don’t want associated with you. Stop mumbling and speak loud and proud.
4. Negatives are a no no
For some reason I always travel far to meet people. So I always get the “you must hate the traffic” comment. Even from interviewers. To which I answer, ” I love drives, and I am use to them so they are not that bad.” Everything you say in the first few minutes set the tone for the whole conversation. Don’t let it be a negative conversation. Vanessa Van Edwards, a body language expert and people behavior researcher says, “When you say negative things, people can’t help but associate you with the negative comment, even if the comment is not about you.” So keep it as positive as possible
5. Small talk is deep talk
I know my conversation with someone is going nowhere when we begin talking about the weather. You know why? Because weather talk is boring! Not to mention more often than not it leads to negative talk on how much we hate the current weather! Instead when I am meeting someone for the first time I ask things like, ” What got you in this profession?” or “Any exciting events coming up?” The point is to light up the person you are talking to. Make them associate you with those positive moments. This also brings me to my next point.
6.Know a little about who you are talking to.
This is mainly when you are going in for an interview or a sales pitch. Know who you are talking to. You can look them up on platforms like LinkedIn. If its a sales pitch you better know what the company you are pitching to does, what is their mission statement and things that are related to your sales pitch. The more you know the better. It gives you a sense of what to expect.
Even though we are coming to very sensitive times when it comes to this topic, touch continues to be an important part of communication. The reason why it’s important is because when we touch we release oxytocin, also known as “the cuddle hormone.” This increases trust. Earlier I mentioned I tried to say hi with a hug as often as possible and that when I handshake I try to add a gentle bush to the other person’s hand with my left hand. This is exactly why! By giving them a gentle and warm embrace they already have their guard down against me. It’s easier to sell, charm. or connect with them. I always aim for at least three touches per conversation. The hi, the bye, and a high five, fist pump, or a gentle touch to their hand at some point during the conversation.
Be attentive to what they are saying. They have given you the time, give respect back by listening. Experts have decoded why people open up to Oprah so quickly in interviews. One of the reasons is she not only listens but she looks attentive. Her eyes are locked in to the person she is interviewing. This is good for any scenario. Sales, relationships, interviews, just listen! When you listen you will be able to learn what lights them up, what is their goal, and what are the looking for in you.
Another thing that I do when I am selling is repeat. Oprah also uses this technique. She rephrase what her guest tell her. What this does is show you understand what they are talking about and it gives a sense that you are on their side. This is also very helpful for managers trying to calm down a upset customer or employee. Remember, people just want to be heard and understood.
Part of listening is you showing interest. What better way than to ask for more. When selling, the more information you have the better you can recommend a service or product to someone. When interviewing, the more you ask the better you will understand the company and how you fit in their dynamic. With friends, the more you ask the more you get to know them.
When ever you agree with someone during the conversation highlight those moments. You can high five to the fact you both are into the same sports team. Or nod when you both agree that you hate germs. Don’t go making up lies just to seem more likeable because people tend to read unauthenticity. Just highlight moments when you agree. Most of the time, this is where my third touch comes into play.
12.Talk with your hands
We humans are very visual people. You can help make your points bigger or smaller by using gestures. Whatever you say can become more impactful and make your story clearer. Also, showing your hands is a sign of you being trustworthy. It shows you are not hiding anything according to experts.
Those that follow me on social media and have seen my videos know I use expression. When I say, “I have four questions” I will put up four fingers. When I say, ” you should as well” I point to the audience.
It also makes you look more confident and prepared. And we all know confidence is attractive. Use your hands, they have something to say.
This is really important. Our bodies will naturally face to what we are interested in. So if you are having a conversation with someone but your body is facing an exit, you are subconsciously letting the other person know you are ready to leave. That is not a good way to leave a good impression. When I interview or have a conversation with more than one person I tend to shift my body to whom ever is talking. I lean forward when they are saying something I agree with or I am compelling to. Even when sitting at a table and my feet or legs aren’t visible I will make sure to face my legs towards the person.
This I tend to only do at interviews but sometimes it comes out naturally when talking to others. We all do it subconsciously when we are talking to someone we find interesting. However , it can specially be helpful when trying to leave a good impression. I tend to mimic small gestures the person is doing. It makes the other person feel like you guys are the same and feels more connected to you. For example, a while back I was interviewing with two managers, a man and a female. When the female would lean in with a statement of her accomplishment in the company, I would lean in after her with a statement of approval for her accomplishment. When she crossed her legs, I would do so as well. It made her feel like we were on the same level. Remember, it has to be subtle and with time of 15 seconds or so of separation. Make it organic. You naturally do it when you like someone. You tend to copy their tone of voice or phrases they use. Don’t force it.
15.Acknowledge their awesome
Remember people just want to be acknowledge. Praise them when possible and really celebrate what they are doing, and what they are trying to accomplish. Authenticity in your attention and care is what will make you memorable.
16.Leave with a bang
Tell them how nice it was to meet them. You have one last chance to make them feel special and important. Them taking the time to meet you was nice of them. Tell them you are grateful and make sure to keep communication open by saying “we will stay in contact”,or “looking forward to hearing from you. “
Remember it is not about what you say that makes you memorable. Its how you make them feel. You can do this!
Written by: Lupita G.