This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sell Yourself

Lincoln Beachey, in his business suit he wore ...Lincoln Beachey, in his business suit he wore for flying (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seeing Is Conceiving   

       In show business, stage performers are advised to learn how to sell their acts.  In other words, when they're in front of the audience they need to do whatever it takes to please and entertain their audience.  Performers are selling themselves to their audiences in hopes of maintaining an image that will make them more appealing to their public.  

           Whether we are going to a job interview, a first date, or some other situation where image can make a difference, we want to make good first impressions.  A product with good packaging will stand out more than the one in the plain brown wrapper.  Attractive art work on a book cover might be just the thing to cause the browser to pick that book up to learn more about it.

            Likewise you should look like the role you're being expected to play.  If you're being hired to be a birthday clown and you show up in a business suit then you'd better be darn unique, funny, and entertaining if you want to keep getting hired.  The point is either fulfill the expectations of others or make your image work for those with whom you are dealing.  Looks may be superficial, but they're often the first level by which you are judged.

Make It Real

           Looks are easy, but actually playing the part may be more difficult for some of you.  Determine who you are or want to be and play the role accordingly.  You want to impress others and not depress them.  You shouldn't do things to offend or upset those you are trying to sell yourself to unless that's your shtick--and that's rarely the case.

            Practice smiling and being attentive to others.   Be interested in your customers--it will make them feel good about you and you might learn something.  Come across as genuine, sincere, honest, and trustworthy.  You want to be someone who others will like and find dependable.  When customers believe in you, they will feel more confident about whatever it is you are trying to market.

Leave a Good Impression

          If you've done a good job at selling yourself, people will remember you.  Building and maintaining a good  reputation is part of your sales job.  It's an ongoing process.  If your client base likes you well enough, you can even survive shortcomings if they happen.   We're all susceptible to a bad day now and then and when you have solid loyalties established they will usually be very forgiving if you acknowledge mistakes and failures.  Don't let pride or resentment get in your way.   Your goal is to strive to do better and your customers should have faith in you.  It's your responsibility to give them reason to believe in you and for them to want to believe in you.

Some blogs that I'm Sold on:

Spunk on a Stick is L. Diane Wolfe's forum for presenting what she's learned as a professional in writing, speaking, and promoting.   Diane presents vital information in her own spunky style.

Then there's the blog that asks the question:  What does Little S have to say today?  In fact that's the name of Sylvie's blog.   And if you want to know what Little S has to say then you'll have to go over there and find out.

If you want to read about food then head on over to Sheila Scribbles.   Sheila doesn't always talk about food but that's her topic during the A to Z Challenge.   And who doesn't like to talk about food?

         What are some of the things you do to sell yourself?    

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  1. Wonderful to read Lee.

    They have changed me over to the new Blogger.....not impressed at the moment as I don't know where the different things are.

    Have a good week-end.

  2. This is some sound advice even when it comes to seeking a job or anything else similar, it's always important to sell yourself. Awesome post Lee.

  3. Good post! And a timely reminder, thank you because I hate the idea of selling myself so I try to dress it up – & go for the soft sell, because I’m the sort of person who doesn’t like door-knockers or hard sales pitches. If I want something I know where to find it usually. However I am going to need to change this soft-sell habit as I’m about to release and publicise an anthology of work, *grits own teeth* & smiles!

  4. I give out freebies from time to time to sell myself. Smashword coupons are free so it doesn;t cost me anything, and hopefully the recipient will say something good about me and my books to their friends.

  5. I hate the idea of marketing my own image! I suppose the point is that I do it all the time anyway, consciously or not, so I'd best control what's out there.

  6. Another good post Lee! I like the soft sell approach. I think a lot of authors are doing it well these days :)

  7. Very useful post and I agree one hundred percent. As a wannabe writer trying hard to get my foot in the door, I am all for selling myself. I made the decision early on to write commercial fiction. I wrote what I loved, but I wrote to please readers and I keep a close eye on the market. As far as agents go, this idea comes in to play with things such as rewrites. The writer must agree, but at the same time, we have to view ourselves as a marketable product and not as (solely) an artist if we want to sell.

  8. Always a good reminder. I try to smile big. I try to connect with the person and ask them about their life, their interests, you know, the Dale Carnegie thing.

  9. It's always important to be real, not only with yourself but with others. Keeping a smile on your face will help more than people know. Keeping an open mind is also important. Great post Lee. Have a great weekend.

  10. I'm making things. I'm making costumes. I'm making puppets. I'm making mistakes; I'm pointing them out.

    I'm learning that participation is different on the blogosphere than IRL.

  11. I read a book a while ago about an Australian girl who married a Frenchman, "Almost French." One morning she was leaving to go to the bakery and her husband noticed the sweats she was wearing and asked where she was going, "To the bakery,"she said. "You can't go like that," he said, it's not nice for the baker!"

  12. Must be real, but that real has to be good as well.

  13. Yvonne -- Last night my site switched to the new format, but I immediately switched it back to the old. I don't want to contend with it until after the Challenge ends.

    Yeamie -- Best to make a good impression if you want people to like and support you.

    Keira -- Glad you made it by. I'll get by to see you as well.

    Kay -- I definitely prefer the soft sell on the giving and receiving end.

    Stephen -- Freebies given in the right way can't hurt. It's something we usually have to do to start the word of mouth going.

    Sara -- Everyone is out there selling themselves and their own thing whatever it may be. Might as well figure out exactly what you want to "sell" and then do it effectively.

    Jemi -- I think the in-your-face approach can be a real turn-off.

    AM -- If we are only trying to please ourselves and rely on our own judgement, our audience will probably be rather small.

    Stine -- Dale Carnegie and others in that vein offer some good advice well worth following.

    Ladydragonfly -- A sincere friendly smile is difficult to turn down.

    Kelly -- Online interaction offers a sort of shield of protection. When it's real one on one then things start getting more honest.

    Loverofwords -- Nice anecdote. We are being watched wherever we are. I wonder if Walmart customers ever think about that?

    Alex -- Best not to be a real jerk.


  14. How do I sell myself? I give paintings away! It works! A lot of people who I have given paintings to later come back and buy one.

    Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors

  15. "Sell it! Sell it!" - I can hear Directors calling out to actors..... right up there with, "For goodness sakes, don't phone in your performance!"

    My personal pet peeves: calling it in and not selling it... not loving it.

    Thanks for a fantastic post.

    Your A to Z's and beyond never fail to delight.

    Julie Jordan Scott
    Fellow A to Z Challenge Writer
    twitter: @juliejordanscot
    S is for Sara Teasdale
    On a Mission to Spread Word-Love Throughout the World

  16. Thank you for mentioning my blog, Lee. That was very sweet of you.

  17. You make it sound easy and for some I think it is. I have such a hard time "selling" anything, especially myself. I love to see others do it so well, and I think, "They really are interesting."

    I've really met a lot of those dynamic and fascinating people on this A to Z.

  18. I'm sort of shabby so will sell myself in a super serious shut-down sale as a second, slightly damaged soul.

  19. Great post and it applies to so many things in our lives not just being a writer.

  20. it's like a performance--i always told my drama classes--to sell someone on this or that as a practice for stage presence

  21. Great advice. I think listening is an underrated talent when it come to those first impression meetings with agents/editors. It's so easy to let nerves get the better of you and allow "burbles" to come out instead of coherent answers.

  22. Hey Lee,
    I used to be 'Gary the Gigolo'. Sadly, I had to keep giving refunds.
    "Spunk on a Stick". Now that sounds interesting and I shall not mention any lost in translation with that one.
    Always good practice to be honest, real, genuine and make appropriate eye contact.
    Have fun Lee and continued inspiration through your most informative blog.
    With respect, Gary

  23. Great information as always. :-)

  24. Mimi - Free samples work well if your product is good.

    Julie -- You're right. If you don't put you're heart into what you're doing and give it life, you won't inspire others to buy your performance.

    L.Diane -- You were an especially obvious choice for an S blog.

    C.Lee-- I'm the same way, but I've found if you're just being yourself and you believe in what you're doing it can be easy. I think it's more difficult if you don't believe in what you're selling, but hopefully you believe enough in yourself to sell you.

    Rob -- If that works well for you then you've hit on your magic technique, but if it's not working then obviously a change has to be made.

    Susan -- As with all of my posts in this A to Z series, the techniques are applicable to anything we do in life.

    Lynn Proctor -- Actors can make great salespeople and vice versa.

    Leslie -- You make a good point. It's better to listen and only speak when you have something earth shaking to say.

    Gary -- You're right. One should deal with their contacts as though they plan on seeing them again and on a regular basis. Fly by night sales that are insincere are very disheartening.

    Tracy Jo -- Thanks!


  25. Lee I thought your post was about a completely different "sale"...I tell you I have been reading things into blog post titles all some written
    Rorshasch test. Once I read your post though it became clear what it was...your series during the challenge has really been good, thanks.

  26. I'm sorry I haven't been visiting during the A-Z! I'm a slacker! but I'm here now :)

    Re: selling myself, I am not the best at this. I don't mind putting the info out there, but asking people to look at it is another matter ;) I'm getting better though, I think!

  27. Great post Lee!! I love reading your blog. I truly enjoy your writing.

    Visiting from the A to Z Challenge

  28. Agree 100%, and I used this advice to my advantage in my theatre days, when I need to more literally play a part. It would be ridiculous to show up in costume, but if I were auditioning for, say, a part in a historical drama, I would nix the red lipstick, put my hair up loosely and wear a long skirt. Part for a siren? Something sexier. The idea was to get them to see me in the role without looking like I was pandering. It's the power of suggestion -- and it goes WAY beyond theatre.

  29. Great tips! I try to get myself out there online and make connections. I also help out my fellow writers.

  30. This is fantastic advice and a terrific reminder for those of like me who get caught up in a daily grind and forget to pay attention. Love Spunk on a Stick, and I will have to check out the other blogs right away.

  31. Chuck -- Words can have many meanings! I used selling in more than one context in this post in fact.

    Trisha -- A lot of selling has to do with self-confidence and confidence in your product.

    Carla - Thank you!

    Kelly -- I can attest to what you're saying. When you came to talk to me about my advertisement looking for the lead in Snow White, you looked so much the part that you sold me on you as soon as I saw you.

    Christine - You got it right. Sales and promotion is a two way street.

    Melissa -- Selling oneself is a philosophy that should become ingrained in everything we do.


  32. It is important to sell yourself in everything you do, but there are so many factors involved. For example, a young person could come off eager and ambitious while an older person has to be careful not to appear too anxious or overly confident. It's a very fine line. Julie

  33. Excellent advice, Lee! I especially like "Make it Real". As Oscar Wilde said, "Be yourself, everyone else is taken."

    Happy weekend!

  34. Lee,
    Yes, you do need to "sell yourself" in whatever you do.

    Thanks for highlighting some of the blogs you like. I checked out "Spunk on a Stick"...she has some great posts.

    The Write Soil
    1st Writes

  35. Great post and tips I can use right away.

  36. Never really like the idea of selling myself but we all must do it.

  37. Hi Arlee! Enjoyed your post. I was already a follower of Spunk On A Stick, but now I'm also a follower of the other two blogs you mentioned.

  38. Thanks for the mention, you are such an encouragement to me, and I've met so many cool people through you. Thanks for doing all of this!

  39. As always, excellent advice that applies to numerous situations. Thanks for the great tips.

  40. Julie -- Maybe the caveat is to know your product and know your market. It can be tricky.

    Karen -- Great line by Wilde.

    Dawn -- Diane knows what she's talking about.

    Sharon -- Hope it helps.

    Wanda -- I know what you're saying. It can be humbling for many of us.

    Susanne -- Great!

    Sheila -- Thank you for being there for the rest of us.

    Susan -- I hope my posts can work on many different levels.


  41. Great advice and tips here, thank you.

    I network with others through twitter and blogs. I also believe you should be yourself.

  42. Selling yourself requires self-esteem that I am kind of lacking at the moment. I am really trying hard to build myself back up.


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