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Salespeople come from a variety of industries but the one thing they have in common: They all sell value. It can be a challenge, however, to sell something you don’t have yourself. Simply speaking, as salespeople, we can only sell value if we value ourselves.
Jenean Merkel Perelstein is a business and sales anthropologist who uses scientific techniques to help salespeople close the cultural gap between them and their prospects, clients, and the organizations they are working with. Her job is to help them understand the cultural approach and take advantage of it.
Value often gets mixed up with values which are the standards or qualities we deem as worthwhile. Value is what we put out into the world, what we offer in exchange. It then becomes part of the larger conversation about money, prosperity, and playing in this market economy. The value becomes part of the interwoven concepts that have to be considered together.
When we stand in strength with our values, it means we understand the true qualities and the true standard that we deem worthwhile to offer in the marketplace. If you’re not stepping into that sense of value and you haven’t done the thought process of figuring out what it is in the first place, then you’re basically starting the conversation a little bit behind.
Knowing your worth
You need to know your beliefs and what’s possible and not possible for you. This includes knowing your attitudes, state of mind, and feelings. All of these things build together into a larger concept of knowing your worth and taking ownership of your work. Doing that will enable you to come forth and articulate the worth and value of whatever you are representing.
Regardless of the words you speak, the cultural interactions you have with other people will be part of the underlying conversation. The energy you exchange in your conversation can expose whether or not you are operating from a place of desperation or a lack of confidence. Clients see this right away. If this is you, there is foundational work that needs to take place.
People that have been unsuccessful for a long time start to wear an air of desperation. It becomes harder for them to meet another client or go to another meeting. If you are managing this type of person, there’s an opportunity to talk to them about standing in their strength, taking ownership, and changing their direction. Salespeople have to look at the value they offer, not just transactional value, but value as human beings as they bring what makes them unique and special into the conversation.
Build your value
As an individual, you can start building value by looking at your own personal strength inventory. Look for the red flags that are holding yourself back from being able to understand and articulate your value.
Jenean looks at all this through an anthropological lens, the cultural lens. She sees each individual as a culture of one and looks into the attributes of that culture. Starting there helps her client understand their own personal strengths and enables them to build on how to shore up their foundations.
Doing this on yourself will then help you to start recognizing the cultural attributes of your prospects, future clients, and the organization that you’re hoping to go deeper with. You’ll be able to see the gaps between your cultural attributes and their cultural attributes. The closer you can close the gaps, the easier the sales conversations will be.
Attributes that make up a culture
There are four primary attributes that make up culture: attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, and values. The first, attitudes, can change quickly. Attitudes affect your state of mind and your feelings. The attitude can change based on your mood and outlook. The second attribute, behaviors, needs to be consistently evaluated for opportunities to change based on the needs of the client. Beliefs, the third attribute can be conscious or subconscious. The brain operates within our beliefs to protect us and to keep things normal. Evaluate if it’s these beliefs that are creating a ceiling to your success. The fourth attribute, values, is what could bridge the gap between you and your client.
Jenean asks her clients to journal a deep inventory of these attributes around their career, finances, thoughts about their abilities to make money, and how they take care of their relationships. When you have these attributes in common with another person or group, then add on norms and traditions, you have a culture. Every workplace has its own culture.
Do an inventory
Knowing your value means doing an inventory of what makes you special and unique, and what you may struggle with. Once you do that, you will begin to recognize where you are holding yourself back. You can then identify the work you need to do to get better and articulate your value in future meetings.
There are times when the work culture is dominated by someone who is highly regarded. Sales leaders and people who have stayed in the company for a long time can influence the culture, even when their outcomes aren’t good. A toxic influence can mess up the productivity of the sales team. Start digging and see if the culture enhances the productivity and the positivity of your workplace and team. If not, it’s worth investigating the origin.
As a salesperson, you also start identifying the people of influence in your target organization so you know the people where you can make the greatest impact.
Keep a success journal
Jenean shares that it is important for salespeople to keep an ongoing success journal. Culture teaches us not to be arrogant so we tend to dismiss compliments and praise. The brain, however, remembers and listens. The success journal is an opportunity to recognize when you’ve done a good job. It offers the brain evidence that you’re capable of.
When we don’t validate ourselves internally, we can start telling our brains that we don’t value our successes. To compensate for that, we can start looking for external validation, which will eventually let us down. Keeping a journal of your successes will help you overcome these inevitable obstacles. It’s imperative to occupy your brain with these successes to help you move forward and push through your boundaries. Reading your success journal right before a sales conversation will compel you to focus on your successes and you’ll find that the conversation will go smoother and yield better results.
“You Can’t Sell Value If You Don’t Value Yourself” episode resources
Create your personal inventory now. Visit the official site of Stand In Your Strength for a free resource on how to start making your own inventory. If you are interested in more sales stories, you can talk to Donald about it. Reach him via these channels: LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook about any sales concerns.
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