Posted in Communication, Nonverbal

Team Toolbox: How to Sell Yourself

“There are endless situations in life where the key to success is the ability to sell yourself to others.”

I’m in the market for a new point and shoot camera. So last weekend, I decided to stop by a camera shop.

I frequent this store, so I wasn’t surprised when a salesperson sidled up to me while I was intently studying a camera by the window display. In a quiet voice, he began to tell me the advantages of the projector camera. Impressed that he knew what was on my mind, I looked at him to respond only to quickly look away.

Trying hard not to appear rude, I gave him another glance, asked a few questions, but looked away again. Why?

The initially impressive-sounding salesperson was chewing gum with his mouth open while trying to convince me of the merits of purchasing the projector camera which, by the way, is on sale. Wow, half the price of the original SRP! But it didn’t matter; what stuck in my mind was how he was handling himself in front of a potential buyer: very poorly.

Our exchange reminded me of my late maternal grandmother who gently chided me when I was growing up for chewing gum. She never thought it becoming for a girl (or a lady or a woman) to do so.

The incident also brought to mind an article – How to Sell Yourself (and Why Your Career Depends On It) – I came across recently. One of the lines therein goes, “there is no getting around the fact that people judge others based on their appearance.” People also get judged because of their actions.

After some time, I decided to speak up and politely suggested to the sales associate to conduct himself more professionally in front of customers. Initially, he looked stunned. He was smiling, but his eyes registered surprise, probably because very few customers, if at all, would tell him that. But he took it in stride, I think, because our convo regarding the projector camera* resumed . . . without the gum in sight.

* To his credit, the sales associate never pressed for a sale. Instead, he reminded me what model to look up when I said I’d like to do more research before buying.

First published: 24 September 2012