How, exactly, do you sell yourself? The question is vital because customers will not buy your product unless they have first bought you—the salesperson. One of your fundamental challenges is to persuade customers that you are someone with whom they want to do business.

If the sales training programs and sales coaching initiatives you are receiving (or delivering to your sales force) aren’t tackling this issue head-on, you are wasting your money.

Research proves that the first major buying decision every customer makes, during every single sales call, is not about your product or your company or your price. It is about the salesperson. I cannot stress this enough: Customers will not buy anything else from you unless they first decide to buy YOU.

The principle is so crucial that three of the nine acts in my own Action Selling system are devoted to selling you. In Act 2, you Leverage Your People Skills. In Act 3, you Ask the Best Questions. In Act 4, you and the customer Agree on Needs.

In sales training courses and sales coaching efforts based on Action Selling, you learn how to design and conduct sales calls that begin with selling yourself. Do you do that by telling customers how much you know? By impressing them with how smart you are? Do you whip out your resume and tell them your life story?

Not exactly.

At no point do you whip out your resume and talk about you.

The way you sell yourself is by asking questions about the customer. It is the human connection that you make with prospects or clients that determines whether they will buy you. No sales skills are more vital than those involved in asking great questions. You ask questions about the individual and his or her company. You ask questions in order to understand the customer’s needs and the issues behind those needs. You ask more questions to double-check your understanding and to gain agreement with the customer on what those needs are.

How does all of this sell you? First, you demonstrate your sincere interest in the customer as a person and your desire to understand the customer’s business. You make a connection. You show that you care. The old saying is true: Customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. In sales training programs and sales coaching efforts based on Action Selling, you learn how to do this-in depth—under the deceptively simple headings of Acts 2, 3, and 4.

But then how will the customer find out how much you know? During Act 3, you demonstrate your professionalism by asking open-ended questions that are skillfully phrased and sequenced. You actually show how much you know while showing how much you care. By Asking the Best Questions, you accomplish both goals simultaneously. Now, that is a sales skill worth having.

And when, in Act 4, you summarize what you heard from the customer while asking questions, you demonstrate your excellent listening skills. Everyone loves a great listener. You’re SOLD!

For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.

Duane Sparks

About Duane Sparks

Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling.  He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations.  Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).