Author Topic: How to be brave & sell myself  (Read 4511 times)

Norrie

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How to be brave & sell myself
« on: May 17, 2015, 09:46:24 PM »
Hi, guys. I've been lurking off and on for quite a long time, and haven't seen this answered, so I'm coming out of hiding.

I have a solid day job at a local university that I enjoy, but more than that, it's really needed for the medical benefits (which are top notch). It pays a very low wage, especially for my education level and skill set, but I love my co-workers, it's five miles from my house, and offers huge amounts of flexibility.

That said, I need to put together a side hustle to up my game. My area of knowledge is assessment and research, specializing in Qualtrics and IRB applications/design. I'd love to work with various companies, addressing the assessment and customer service side of things, and I think that I really have something to offer, but I can't get up the nerve to approach anyone.

I even put together a rather extensive list of folks I who own companies and would be happy to let me do a free test drive to build a satisfied customer base, but I can't even talk myself into approaching friends to offer free shit that will help them.

I've never worked in sales and never worked for myself, so this is all new to me. How do I become a bad ass side hustling consultant? I have the skillz, but am an awkward duck. Is there any hope for me?


vagon

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Re: How to be brave & sell myself
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2015, 12:59:00 AM »
What are you afraid of?

former player

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Re: How to be brave & sell myself
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2015, 02:20:00 AM »
Learn a script.  There are plenty of books out there to tell you what to say.  Then pick up a phone and say it.  If you have something of value to offer, the people who want to take advantage of that value will bite you hand off to get it and not even notice the awkward.

11ducks

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Re: How to be brave & sell myself
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2015, 03:02:04 AM »
Selling yourself is hard.  Maybe don't approach the first ones as 'selling yourself' but as asking them a favour- explain you are looking to build experience, and that you would really appreciate if you could  use their company as a test-drive to build on your business idea. After you have one-two under your belt, then you have something to build on?

Tjat

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Re: How to be brave & sell myself
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2015, 05:55:08 AM »
Would it be possible to build a product demo that gives you a tangible selling point? Many people are more comfortable selling a product that you can walk them through rather than sell with words alone.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: How to be brave & sell myself
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2015, 08:06:39 AM »
Since you have what basically sounds like stage fright, I'd practice in front of a mirror for a few days.

Then pitch to friends. But REAL friends, the ones who will tell you where the presentation lagged, etc.

Then I'd get one or two testimonials "he really helped our biz by..." things.

I'd build a kickass website. I'd print very cool biz cards.

And just pick up the phone or go out and start.

Sales is a numbers game. Ever been to a nightclub near a military base? Pretty cool people watching. Some 21 year old soldier will come in, walk up to a girl and ask her to dance.

She says no, he turns to her friend and asks her.

She says no, he turns to the girl standing next to her and asks....

Here's why: It's ALL no, until you ask. If it's still no: what have you lost?

BlueHouse

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Re: How to be brave & sell myself
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2015, 12:28:56 PM »
Selling yourself is hard.  Maybe don't approach the first ones as 'selling yourself' but as asking them a favour- explain you are looking to build experience, and that you would really appreciate if you could  use their company as a test-drive to build on your business idea. After you have one-two under your belt, then you have something to build on?
I agree with this.

Another take on it is to approach them and explain what you've already explained here -- that you think you have a great idea but you're very nervous about the sales angle of it.   Make sure to say that you respect their business acumen and would value their input.  Then ask them what type of "pitch" would work for them and whether they are interested in helping you build a sales strategy.  Most people really want to help other people, and this would be an opportunity for them to contribute, making them feel special, etc.   Maybe you repay them with a bottle of wine, or free product, or extra-good service. 
Good luck -- getting started is the hardest part and getting your first rejection is the only way to move past it.  Aim for one rejection!  Once you have that, then you're officially selling.  :)

2ndTimer

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Re: How to be brave & sell myself
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2015, 01:07:34 PM »
Regard making you pitch as an experiment rather than an actual pitch.  You are there to study their reactions and incorporate the results in your next one.  A failed experiment is not painful because you know many experiments fail.  They still give you feedback so you can set up the next one better.

igm

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Re: How to be brave & sell myself
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2015, 02:06:37 PM »
Would a meetup group, networking group, or a good Toastmasters group for practice, feedback and support be possible?

There is always hope.

Norrie

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Re: How to be brave & sell myself
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2015, 04:28:01 PM »
Lots of great advice here. Thanks! This is exactly what I was after.

Vagon, I'm not sure what I'm afraid of. I think that's what's bugging the shit out of me. We're not depending on this income for survival, my friends will still love me even if I blunder through it, and I really do know what I'm talking about. I think that I'm as scared of succeeding as I am of failing, which makes no sense, but there you have it.

I love the idea of approaching my friends and saying, "y'all know that I suck at this stuff, but can I do this as practice, and if I do a good job, will you write a nice review". I think that I can manage that.

Moustaches, I've toyed with the idea of a different job many times, but I keep circling back to enjoying the flexibility of this one too much. My husband has complete flexibility in his job/hobby (he calls it a jobby), and I seem to start seething with resentment if my job feels too much like work. Our quality of life is high with my current job, and I worry about the trade offs. One of our kids has chronic health problems and was recently at the ER on a Monday, ER again on Wednesday, hospitalized Wednesday night, ER again and hospitalized again a week later. In each instance, I could bail from work immediately and not even consider work while being there for her. This kind of thing happens at least once a year, so I'm not sure how well-suited I would be to a corporate atmosphere. (That said, I've also never worked in such an atmosphere, so I may have it all wrong.)

Mr. Tummy Mustache, until I read your post I felt confident that I had a totally charming smile, but from now on I'm going to be thinking, "don't look like the Joker. Stop looking like the Joker. Oh god, you look like you want to kill Batman". Thanks, pal!

vagon

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Re: How to be brave & sell myself
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2015, 05:20:44 PM »
Vagon, I'm not sure what I'm afraid of. I think that's what's bugging the shit out of me. We're not depending on this income for survival, my friends will still love me even if I blunder through it, and I really do know what I'm talking about. I think that I'm as scared of succeeding as I am of failing, which makes no sense, but there you have it.

Good so you know that this is essentially a risk free exercise for you.
If what is blocking you is emotional rather than rational, then I would focus on the process and not the product.
Don't think about the outcome, just rank your list from best to worst and then call the worst 5 on your list in succession.