Your work is a creative form of self expression that you often don’t have words for.
It makes sense that, when it comes to selling yourself, you’ve either got no words at all or waaaaaaaay too many.
You either choke - spouting out a load of “...ums” and “...ers” before collapsing into a fetal position on the floor asking for your mom.
Or you end up telling people that you’re a “integral cog in the supply wheel of a major, multinational corporation that is responsible for fueling the minds of local entrepreneurs via the medium of caffeinated beverages”, rather than, “Hi, I’m John, I’m a Barista!”
If you want to stop word vomiting all over your potential clients and never “choke” again, you only have to do ONE THING:
before you say anything, pause.
You’ve gotta bring a level of mindfulness to this concept, because even though it sounds super easy, in practice, as multiple studies have shown, people CAN’T DO IT!
In fact, most people start talking just half a second after the other person has finished speaking.
Half a second!
If you think that counts as a pause, try timing it on your phone.
“So what? So I didn’t pause a bit longer. What’s the big deal?”
I’ll tell you.
Only pausing for half a second means two things:
You may not have caught everything the other person said because you were too busy thinking about what YOU were going to say when they finished!
You might have cut them off - they might have more to say.
I get it though - pauses are awkward. If you don’t trust me on this, try suggesting that XXXX at your next family gathering and see how that feels.
See, pauses ARE awkward.
“It’s all well and good telling me to pay attention and pause, but what if I can’t think of anything to say when they’ve stopped talking? What do I do then? Stare at them? Fake a heart attack?”
If the idea of pausing scares you a little, don’t worry. I’ve a simple hack for you.
Before you go out next and have a sales conversation, come up with some simple sentences you can use in these pauses to buy you some time and stop you breaking out into a cold sweat.
“Tell me more about that”.
“That sounds interesting. What kind of challenges has that brought?”
“So, who’s YOUR favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?”
It’ll give you a chance to pull yourself together while making the other person feel heard which is a vital step to
1. positioning your offer and
2. creating trust.
It’s the best kind of win-win and if you can grab a win from a potentially awkward moment, it’ll be even better!
(Also, if they name “Donatello” as their favorite Ninja Turtle, it gives you chance to break off the conversation early, as everyone knows the correct answer is “Michaelangelo”)
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