In this article we’re following on from my blog post on How to get your Edge – Part 1 and taking a closer look at how you can utilise more of your edge in your business and career. Part 1 focused more on identifying the big picture areas of your edge and now we’re going to see and overview of the finer tuning you can apply.
You’ve got a clear purpose, you know what you’re going to do and how to crush it. You’re about to go out into the big wide world and start working on your vision. You’re probably pretty excited about the prospect of your vision starting to take shape and maybe even a little nervous of where to start!
In this article we are delving into some key areas that are definitely going to set you out from the vanilla of society. These are points that you need to at least be aware of and in the long run, ideally master. I’ve already talked about finding your direction and your ‘why’ to what you’re doing. So with ourselves being really congruent and aligned in our vision, how are we going to execute when we’re in front of potential clients and bosses?
Know what you’re selling
The amount of people that are out there and haven’t thought about exactly what they are selling is incredible! They don’t know their product, service or attribute that they are selling and it’s going to kill them off before they even start.
I’m not talking about ‘I’m selling dreams’ or any of that fluffy sales stuff either. That might be a good hook for some clients but if you’ve got a detail person in front of you that wants the specifics then you’re going to be screwed. Take the time to acquaint yourself with whatever you’re selling to whoever it is.
‘Knowledge is power’
A timeless quote that is attributed to Sir Francis Bacon and is as pertinent now as it was then. Although when you’re selling;
‘Knowledge is empowerment’
Knowledge of your products, how they work, what they do and the application of them to someone’s life is going to get you massively prepared and empower you by knowing what you can deliver to who!
And for everyone out there that is thinking ‘I’m not a sales person’. You are. We all are. Everyday. We are always selling something to someone. Whether you’re selling eating fruit to your kid or showing your skills to get on to a sports team. It’s all sales.
Have you ever gone into a shop and you just know that the salesperson just isn’t listening to what you’re saying? You ask for a certain TV and they take you to the complete opposite of what you had in mind and none of the features are on your list of things you look for in a TV. It’s not what you wanted and it’s not what you asked for.
This is an extreme example but you get my point. A lot of people tell you what they want in conversation, in job interviews or a service they’re looking for. Just listen and see the difference.
I thought I used to listen pretty well until I went and did a course in counselling that was focused on Carl Rogers and person centred counselling. In essence it was a practice in active listening. We would practice listening actively as the client talked about their problems for a year every week and all the time we would be picking out what they were saying throughout the conversation to bring them back to it at the right time.
About halfway through the course as this skill seeped into my unconscious I noticed that suddenly my results in conversation starting sky rocketing. I sold more in my retail job at the time and got genuine, heartfelt thanks from customers, thanking me for them spending significant amounts of money on products.
When you listen you find the issue that needs solving. Then you can apply the solution to them. Whether it’s a product, service or an attribute that you have. Once you find the solution for the client and you bring them value everything falls into place.
Once you’ve actively listened to your clients’ needs and found the issue you then have to ask questions to specify how you can fulfil that need. ‘How would it change your life if you had X?’ and ‘What’s important to you about X?’ are a great place to start.
As you collect information about what the client is looking for, be thinking ‘What do I have that can give them the most value?’ not ‘what can I flog for the most money?’ What gives the client massive value? More on this further on in the post.
Talk to people not at them
Write down every bit of jargon you have in your business, product or service. Think to yourself ‘If I couldn’t use these words or acronyms how would I say it?’ and then ‘How would I explain this to a 6 year old so they understand me?’
Most of your clients don’t understand all your fancy jargon and probably don’t care. They want it in terms that they understand. Some people might love talking jargon and if you’re talking to people from that industry/ area then go for it. But if you’re pitching to people that aren’t in your industry you need to have the flexibility to be able to explain your product just as well in layman’s terms.
Don’t talk to them like their stupid, speak to them like they’re a person. They could be your biggest fan ever if they understand what you can do and what value you can provide to them. Your job is to show the value that you have and that’s pretty hard to do if you’re speaking in lengthy jargon that they have no interest in.
Bring Value to the Table
I’m a great believer in bringing value to people, both myself and through my business. When someone reads a blog post I write I want them to have some knowledge they didn’t have before, if they come on one of our courses they will get well thought out, relevant content for them, if they sign up for coaching with me I will work relentlessly to ensure that I have turned over every rock to get the most out of it for them.
If you don’t have value and spew out the same stuff as everyone else, you will blend in and be like everyone else. This comes back to your strengths that I brought up in Part 1. Your strengths are how you bring value to the table.
When people see value they will buy into you. If you push your product and make claims that aren’t true this will become apparent early on. You might get the first buy in from them but they will not come back for more and it won’t do well for you or your business in the long run. So I urge you to make the value you give your priority!
This article has taken a look at a lot of aspects that I highly recommend that you start practicing, even if its just being more aware of them. Each of these points are articles in their own right and as time goes on I’m sure I will be writing about each of these points in a lot more detail!
Start utilising these points, integrate them into your life and into business. Before long you will see the benefits and how by tweaking and refining the processes and the way we do things they can amount to big changes.