Don't "Fake It Till You Make It". Use What You Have

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Thanks to Steve The Copywriter for giving me this idea.

When we are selling to new clients, some of us are new to it. Some feel out of place. Some are just introverted. But many of us are nervous.

And if you are new at selling, this applies especially to you.

Never "Fake it till you make it". It's terrible advice. Why? Because it's so easy to get caught. Even worse, you are starting the relationship with your client on a lie. And you have to keep that lie going if the relationship continues. That's very bad.

Always use what you have . Use what you are...what you really are.

Any nervous tick, stutter, limp, shyness, or feeling of inadequacy...just makes you unique. And you know what? The client has felt the same way.

If you think you are too old, use wisdom and experience as your advantage.

If you are brand new and young, use your eagerness and willingness to got the extra mile as your advantage.

Are you shy? At the beginning just say "If I seem nervous, it's because I really want to work with you". And you know what? The person has been there too, and will completely overlook it. And now they are pulling for you..

Do you stutter? Lisp? have an accent? They pay more attention to what you say. It all just makes you more unique in their mind.

Years ago, I injured my lower back. For a few years, I could barely walk, and needed to use crutches to get around. I was in serious pain most of the time. And I sold vacuum cleaners door to door.

Did I quit? No. I hired a guy to help me carry everything, and I cold called, door to door on crutches. Was I trying to get sympathy? Not in the least. But I worked with what I had.

And after a quick question about the crutches (nearly everyone asked), it was ignored and I was off selling. Maybe an occasional grimace here and there....from me, not them.

Are you from a different country? Are you short, fat, tall, bald, odd? Use it.

The "Average person" is a myth. If you think someone is cool, collected, brilliant, sophisticated...it's because you don't know them well enough. I've shared the stage with some pretty well known marketing gurus. I can promise you, any fear or phobia you have...they have in spades. The microphone won't pick up their knees knocking.

When I was in high school I was so shy that I never had a date..or even asked, never went to a dance or sports event. Didn't go to the prom.....I didn't even attend my own graduation. Painfully shy. I never looked anyone in the face. I always looked down.

So....for some strange reason, I decided to sell for a living. First life insurance, and then vacuum cleaners.
I never overcame my shyness. I still don't enjoy social gatherings, and avoid them if I can. I never go to parties.

And I never did "Fake it till you make it", although I got that advice often. I just sold while shy. You can be shy and still work hard. You can be anything...shy, anxious, afraid, phobic...and still work hard, except be lazy. Lazy matters.

No matter what thing about you is different, believe me, it matters far more to you than to anyone else. If you have a pimple, it seems like everyone is staring at it. But you know what? Everyone has had a pimple. Nobody cares...and almost nobody will even see it unless you point it out.

Just starting out? Be that eager new guy that will move heaven and earth to help a new client. Mention that because you are new, you have few clients, and so you can devote more time to your new clients.

Customers love helping out new people. Remember, everyone was new at their job at least once. They know what you are going through. Go through it together.

If I were making cold calls and it was my first day. The first thing I would say to the first person I talk to would be "You are the very first person I have talked to on my new job. Please tell me if I screw up". They will almost certainly laugh, and give you extra attention. They will be pulling for you to succeed. People are like that.

"Faking it till you make it" means you are wearing a mask...all day. And masks are exhausting.
Be genuine. It's not only the easiest thing to do, it's the best way to sell.

Anyway, I hope that helps.
#fake it till you make it
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  • Profile picture of the author scajo
    What a great story you told us. Thank you very much!
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  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    I think I'd vote for this as being post of the year... Maybe even all time... :-)
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    People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.
    What I do for a living

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  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    Us rookie car salesmen were told to tell our first customer that this was our first sale.

    Worked a treat.

    Some of my peers were still saying that 3 months later though ;0( bad people bad people)

    Great story Claude
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    Making Calls To Sell Something? What are you actually saying?
    Is there any room for improvement? Want to find out?

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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by helisell View Post

      Us rookie car salesmen were told to tell our first customer that this was our first sale.

      Worked a treat.

      Some of my peers were still saying that 3 months later though ;0( bad people bad people)

      Great story Claude
      Thanks.

      In a related idea, saying it's your first sale is good, if it's your first sale.

      But I had a "salesman" work for me that was terrible. Finally, one day he comes to the phone (in a prospect's home) and says to me that they are buying.

      Claude "Congratulations. I'll help you with the paperwork"

      Rep "I'm so excited about this sale. I haven't had a sale in over three months!"

      Claude (gritting his teeth) "Did they just hear you say that?"

      Rep "Sure. They are sitting right here"

      Claude The Merciless "OK, you just killed the sale. Don't speak Just fill out the paperwork as I instruct...but between now and the time you leave, they will come up with a perfectly plausible reason why they have to change their minds. I'm telling you that now, so you can learn from this"

      Rep (a few minutes later) "Claude, they just found out that the husband may get laid off, so they are going to have to call us back. But when they call us back...is it still my sale?"

      Claude The Weary: "Sure. I'll see you back at the office."

      The lesson here is...it's a completely different message you are sending when you say that you are brand new, and it's your first sale....instead of saying that nobody has bought from you for three months.

      The rep had no idea what he did wrong. And still didn't think he killed the sale.

      He was telling these people "Nobody buys this. The fact that you are buying it is an aberration".

      Just a thought.
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  • Profile picture of the author Maxxx333
    this is really a good story to tell!
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    A related thought; How Is This To My Advantage?

    It doesn't apply to everything that happens. If you get cancer, it won't apply.....

    But I remember one winter (in 1977-1978, I think) Everyone in town was snowbound for several days.

    I lived in a mobile home at the time. These were newer homes and everyone was an owner. The snow was deep enough that nobody could get out of the park, the only road to the park was uphill, and they hadn't plowed it yet. In fact, nobody could even back out of their driveway for 3 days.

    I was selling vacuum cleaners. I had one in my car. I thought about just staying in, until everyone was plowed out...I had a good excuse not to work..

    But I also knew I had about 200 families that were stuck at home all day...all within a 5 minute walk.

    So I grabbed my box with the vacuum in it (It may have weighed 30 pounds) and my sales kit (another 30 pounds in a sample case)....and I started going door to door.

    Normally, I wouldn't sell so close to where I live, I don't want customers feeling free to drop in. But it's what I had to work with.

    This is sooo long ago...I have to go by memory...but I know I sold 15 (12 net) vacuum cleaners in those three days. I had to deliver them later that week, because I only had the one demonstrator (Normally, I would leave the one I sold in the home)

    I started at about 11AM and worked until it got dark. Lots of dragging my stuff on top of 3-4 foot drifts. Almost everyone invited me in. After all, it was during a snow storm. All the stores were closed. They had nowhere to go.

    I remember going into the office the day the roads were cleared, (and the snow storm stopped). There were 4 or 5 other reps there, and they were all talking about how horrible the storm was, and how they couldn't work.

    I don't think I even told them what I did...the moment had passed. It would have just been rubbing it in. And they weren't trained at all in knocking on doors. We provided all the appointments to them. I was the only one there that preferred getting my own appointments.

    __________________________________________________ ________________________________

    I remember once our vacuum MFG decided to make a drastic change in the machine. They held a meeting at the MFG facility with all the distributors there. There may have been 25 of us there.

    I listened as one dealer after another complained about how the change would make it harder to service machines, or how the change meant they had to invest in new parts, or how they had to relearn a new presentation...and of course there was a minor price increase..and there was plenty of baying at the moon over that.

    The CEO of the company was a good man, but he didn't know how to handle this mob. He started apologizing, and I said....

    "Carl, don't apologize. You have given us a fantastic gift here. If any of us were thinking of increasing our price...now would be the time. We could completely justify it on this being a new machine. Thanks for making that transition easier....

    And I've been wondering how we could make money from the hundreds or even thousands of old customers we have. We couldn't sell them a new vacuum, because it was identical to what they had. The features were the same. By you investing in these improvements, you have given us he perfect reason to contact all our existing customers and selling them a new machine. (Sadly, on;y a few pairs of eyes brightened on that one)

    You changed how the machine is boxed, (from 2 to 3 boxes), and now we can sell the third box as a separate offer, or include it as a bonus, or use to bargain...because it isn't seen as all included. Having three boxes increases the perceived value in the customer's eyes. It will be easier to get a higher price and a higher profit on every sale.

    By changing the machine you have added features we can talk about with the customers. And our reps have new reasons to get excited about these new and exciting improvements.

    I just wanted to say Thank you for thinking about how you could solve these problems for us."


    It would make a great story if I said that all the distributors applauded, and we all hugged each other. But that's not what happened. Most of the people there still complained...they just didn't complain to me any more....because I wasn't one of them.

    But two of the biggest distributors there..and the CEO privately told me that I saved his bacon, and that he wanted me to make a short video (VHS) about the improvements made.

    Why did I speak up like that? First, I saw a good man being beaten down by the wrong reactions of his distributors. And...I knew as he was describing these changes (and showing them to us), that this was the new reality...and if we gave it just a little thought, we would see the huge advantage this change gave us.

    When there is a change, ask yourself "How is this to my advantage?'. You'll be surprised how often it really is.

    Apparently I love hearing myself talk.
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  • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
    @ Claude, you won't need to write anymore books, you giving away the all good stuff here by the bucket loads.
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    | > Choosing to go off the grid for a while to focus on family, work and life in general. Have a great 2020 < |
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  • Profile picture of the author Sebulba
    Excellent Advise as always, Claude.

    I have had occasions in my life where I tried to fake it -- rarely did I make it. On the other hand when I was genuine and truthful that honest speaks louder than any "impressive bragging" does.

    Seb
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  • Profile picture of the author Kent Hopkins
    It's true that showing a vulnerability to your client instills trust by default. They see you as being "real". What a great story you shared here. Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of that.
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    Doubts Kill More Dreams Than Failure Ever Will.
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  • "Faking it till you make it" means you are wearing a mask...all day. And masks are exhausting.
    Be genuine. It's not only the easiest thing to do, it's the best way to sell.
    I agree. But I also think in addition to being genuine, you do need to show confidence to let people know that you know what you are doing. That's the original intention for "Fake it till you make it." Because most of us are going to start out insecure even though we know know what we're doing. Even though we know we can do a good job.

    Leverage on the skills you have AND show some confidence. Do that you and you won't need to fake anything.
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