If you sell a product or service on a regular basis, let me pose this question to you; What do you sell?

Maybe you’re in the insurance business, so you sell insurance, right? Maybe you’re in the retail business and you sell the products in your department, right? Perhaps you’re a web developer, so you sell your web design services, right? Wrong. Well, maybe not 100% wrong, but mostly wrong. Why?

Because you sell YOU.

When you sell a product or service, the potential customer or client is more influenced by YOU, the seller, than what you’re selling. A great product overshadowed by a bad salesman leads to no sale and vice versa – a bad product overshadowed by a great salesmen can lead to the sale of a bad product. Many times, subconsciously we as consumers do or don’t purchase a product depending on the manner in which it was sold to us.

In retail, store fronts are designed to make the sale of their most important products. In the person to person market place, you are designed to make the sale of your most important product. Plain and simple, you sell you.

How do I know this? When I started my business, I was learning and growing as a designer, developer and business guy. I certainly didn’t have the expertise I have now, nor the best product, but I got clients, I got referrals. It’s something that I didn’t recognized until recently.

I landed my very first freelance website job before I really knew how to build a full site. I landed design work that was well over my head and expertise in my beginnings, but I still got the jobs and they turned out alright. Was I falsely advertising myself or my services? No – I was just fortunate enough in the beginning to sell “me” more than my technical know how. There were far better designers than me. There were far better developers than me. But my clients didn’t see perfect code and glorious designs as much as they saw my passion, my attention to detail and my care towards their business.

“People care about how much you care more than how much you know.”

I may not have saw it then, but I see it now. I got into graphic design when the grungy, splatter look was in (Any designers reading this will surely understand) and at the time, I loved it. I’m amazed that I got the clients I did. My work wasn’t terrible by any means but it wasn’t great. My mindset however has not changed much from when I started. I meet with a potential client, they’re going to know that I care about their business and I’m going to give my all.

So are you working harder at selling your product or selling you? Though both are important, it’s far more important to work on yourself than your service.

When a potential customer is hearing your pitch, they are looking at YOU. They’re saying, “Is what this guy or gal is selling making me want to be like them? Am I intrigued or impressed by this person? Sounds harsh and judgmental but I can tell you it’s the truth from both perspectives. As a consumer, of even knowledge or teaching, you look at the salesman far more than the product. Ever heard the same sermon from 2 different preachers and one just resonated far more than the other? Ever had the same lesson taught by different teachers and one just stuck while the other didn’t? The content was the same, but the teaching and the people selling or distributing that information were different. It’s the same in sales. That’s why car salesmen working in the same lot can sell the same cars but some sell far more or less than others.

I’m not implying that you shouldn’t focus on the quality or your product or service, not by any means. I’m also not saying that having expertise and know-how isn’t important, but what I am saying is that those things should not overshadow YOU. Because you – your personality, your attitude, your speech, your body language, you – are the most important aspect of that sale.

So work on you. Personal development sounds like a cheesy seminar lecture but it is so much more than that. Work on your presentation, your vocabulary and all the things that will contribute to a better representation of yourself.

Hope this has encouraged and inspired you to work on yourself and that it’ll lead to more sales!