When I was younger, I held an image in my mind of who a great salesperson was. This person commanded the room. They knew the perfect questions to ask. They always said the right thing at the right moment. They were always pushing to close deals (ABC – “always be closing!”). They also had a strong, outgoing personality with the confidence to naturally attract a lot of opportunities.
That image of a great salesperson felt like everything I was not, and that was a problem.
In my early thirties, I realized I needed to develop stronger business development skills to get where I really wanted to go. I’ve always enjoyed creating new things and putting them into the hands of people who could benefit from them; but, I wasn’t an outgoing person and didn’t have much sales experience. “Uh-oh,” I thought, “How am I going to be able to replicate what great sellers do?”
It felt really daunting. I thought I’d have to work really hard and make a lot of changes. I’d need to fix my weaknesses and change who I was to be more like those great sellers.
Then, two important things happened that changed everything for me. First, a friend recommended a sales coach to me. Then, another friend mailed me a very short book, The Go-Giver. (Side note: We love this book so much, it’s now on our Top 10 Books for Accountants list!)
I devoured the book in ninety minutes. The Go-Giver explores the principle of attraction – that by giving to others, you can naturally attract people who want to give, too. It helped me see new possibilities – instead of having to live into my mental image of a great salesperson who was always selling, I could focus on something that came way more naturally to me – giving.
Thanks to The Go-Giver and the support of my coach, I realized I did not have to replicate someone else’s style to be great at developing business. I could develop my own style based on strengths I already had that felt much more authentic to me. Instead of fixing myself, I could be myself.
This huge shift in mindset was so freeing!
To this day, I am so grateful to have received those two gifts from two friends who are givers themselves.
With hindsight, I can see that I was already a part-time giver back then; but there was so much more giving I could do, with awareness and intentional action. I’ve always enjoyed connecting with new and old acquaintances to uncover ways I could contribute to their success. Once I became more intentional about doing it more often – by giving more – business development actually became fun!
The most successful business development comes from deep within – where you can tap into your potential to positively impact others and find a style that feels authentic to you.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable about selling – if you think you have to contort yourself to fit your mental image of a great salesperson – give yourself permission to explore how you can bring more of you to business development instead. If I can do it, anyone can!
See you in the DoP,