Three critical questions before you sell

Selling yourself is different (and harder) than selling a widget or a product, and for most of us it’s even harder than selling someone else – particularly if you are selling yourself as an expert, or a thought leader.


There are three critical questions you need to be clear about to sell yourself well:

-    Who do you work with? -    What problems do you help them solve? -    What outcomes / results does this produce?

So a brain surgeon might say I work with people who have brain tumours, I help them solve the problems of headaches, impaired vision and imminent death so that they can live long, healthy lives.

If you are selling yourself you want to get it to that level of clarity. I like to use the 12-year-old test – could a 12 year old understand it? If not, it’s too complex.

Clever people often make the mistake of trying to sell what they know. It’s a mistake. Sell the problems you solve, and the results that you produce. And include just enough of the ‘how’ so that I’m convinced you can. The brain surgeon has spent six years at medical school, three years specialising in surgery, and another three specialising in the brain in order to be able to solve those problems. But she doesn’t sell that, she doesn’t give a one-hour talk about the science, the technique, the skill, the process and the team behind it, she just says she’s going to get rid of the tumour. And that’s enough.

Love to hear your thoughts and experiences – are you clear on your three critical questions? You can leave your comments below.