As a coach, speaker, writer and consultant, I’m selling me. Well specifically, my time, skills, knowledge, ideas, creativity, energy and experience. Among other things. And, to be totally honest, for a long time I was uncomfortable putting any kind of commercial value on myself. It felt weird. Egotistical, perhaps. Which said more about my mindset and lack of confidence than the actual process.
The Old Days
In 1987, when I first started training people for a living, I was surprised (guilty, almost) that people would happily pay forty bucks for a workout with the ‘twelve dollar guy’ (my previous hourly wage as a gym instructor). It almost seemed wrong. For the ex-fat kid with no university qualification at the time, forty dollars an hour was a fortune; a fortune that I wasn’t sure I was worth.
It’s fair to say that, in the early days of building my own business and developing my brand, crappy self esteem, fear and self-doubt were all something of a professional barrier for me. But then I’m not alone in that, am I? While I understood and was comfortable with ‘me the trainer’, I didn’t really grasp ‘me the commodity that people might place a dollar value on’.
Over the years, I’ve learned to differentiate between (1) me the flawed, curious, emotional creature and (2) me the commercial resource. I needed to. I wouldn’t have survived professionally otherwise. And while I still doubt myself and still have much to learn (being human and all), I now have a much better understanding and awareness of me the commodity that people will consider ‘buying’. Call any of the agencies that currently represent me as a speaker and they will tell you exactly what an hour of my time is ‘worth’.
When it comes to the task of selling anything (from a sandwich, to a house, to an idea), it’s in our interests to build a commercial strategy on the understanding that consumers are fickle creatures who, more often than not, buy on emotion. It’s also prudent to keep in mind that emotion (about what they might buy) comes largely from perception. Perception of what they believe they’re getting for their investment. Perception based on their previous experiences. Perception of what they believe a particular product or service will do for them. Perception of what they believe to be good value. After all, nobody needs a hundred thousand dollar car, an eighty inch TV or a pair of thousand dollar shoes. Nonetheless, all those things sell like crazy.
Which is why I love my Jimmy Choos.
Which brings me to you…
If you have something to sell – be it a program, product, service, skill or even an idea – come back tomorrow and I’ll share some practical and proven strategies to help you increase your value in the market place.
Enjoy your day.