Many people think of selling as a talent you were born with. Is there any truth to that?
Well, yes. In fact, everyone was born with the talent to sell from day one.
You were born to ask for what you want, even if those asks were pre-verbal and unconscious.
“Feed me, change me, protect me, love me.” All as natural as breathing.
However, over time the talent to sell, to ask for what we want, was educated out of us.
“It’s rude to ask!” we were told. Along with a lot of other negative messages.
And as we progressed in our careers, we got very good at a lot of things, but selling was put at the bottom of the list. In fact, in many cases, it was stigmatized.
We had the smarts and the technical skills to succeed, but the talent to ask, the talent to persuade, to sell, had atrophied.
How do I know this?
Because, as clients came to me over the years I heard the following over and over again:
“Robert, I love what I do. I really do. I love helping people. I love doing my work. It brings me happiness and fulfillment. But I hate marketing and selling myself!”
Me: “Oh, why is that?”
“Well, it’s because I hate to ask anyone for anything. And marketing and selling feel like begging, being needy, or worse, being manipulative. And I just hate that!”
So, dear parents who screwed up your kids by telling them to not bother anyone, to not ask people for help, and to never, ever, sell anything….
If it wasn’t for you, everyone would have retained and expanded on their natural-born sales ability.
But then, alas, I would have nothing to sell! So, thank you! ;–)
If marketing and selling are a struggle for you, it’s not your fault. It was just the luck of the draw. You had zero choice in the matter.
You were educated out of asking for things, for being creative and resourceful about getting what you wanted.
Instead, you were rewarded for doing your homework, following instructions, and blending in with the crowd. For playing it safe.
But one fine day the idea popped into your little head that being a self-employed person might be a good idea.
You could work on your own, do what you wanted and not have anybody tell you what to do. You would control your destiny.
So far, so good. Until you noticed one day that clients weren’t flocking to your business and paying you high fees.
And how do the majority of self-employed professionals react to this reality? They don’t, because they are terrible at asking for help.
And within five years about 50% of them are out of business.
What do the enlightened ones do who don’t have the marketing and selling skills they need?
They realize there’s no shame in this. And they know they won’t gain these skills magically or by sheer luck.
They also understand that ultimately, selling is not only about getting what you want but also about helping others get what they want.
So they get to work. They read, watch videos, attend classes, and hire consultants and coaches to help them.
The turning point is a reality check:
“I am s**t at marketing and selling. I had no background or encouragement in that from my parents, school, or previous jobs.
“I now see selling as a refined skill of communicating my value to others so they see that working with me will make a difference to them.
“So I’ll take action and improve my skills until I master selling.
“I can learn. I can get good at this. And I will.”