Acting the Part and Finding Success | August 15th, 2011

I work and network with a lot of small business owners, and something I hear frequently is “I’m just not comfortable selling myself”. It’s a common theme. After all, most of us didn’t go into business to become sales people. We went into business because we had a terrific product, or because we wanted to work at something we enjoyed . . . or because we really hated our boss. However, if you don’t find a way to effectively communicate how great you are, how will your business survive? Unless you have the capital to hire really good salespeople, you’ll need to learn to market yourself.

How do you begin the process of learning how to promote yourself and your business? Start with the end result. Is it your goal become a successful business owner? Act the part of the person you aspire to become. Today.

I have conquered some of the most challenging situations in my life by imagining I was in a movie. I’d ask myself how I wanted to be portrayed on screen. Did I want to be seen as incompetent or weak? Not me! I wanted to exude confidence and strength. When every fiber of my being just wanted to hide in a corner, I would mentally turn the movie camera on. I’d exhibit calmness that I didn’t truly feel I possessed. After a while it became second nature to slip into this “act”, and soon it became my reality.

To become successful, you must act successful. It doesn’t matter how fantastic your product is or how superior your service is. You will most likely fall short if you don’t sell yourself first.

Do you have an important interview or sales call on your calendar? Think of how you want it to proceed. You’d probably like to be perceived as knowledgeable and professional, yet friendly and approachable. Rehearse the scene in your mind ahead of time. Envision the outcome you desire. By all means you’ll want to be genuine, but the goal is to keep your insecurities from peeking through. Above all, always remember that you are a successful business person. You are NOT a stay at home mom trying to earn a little extra income, or a recently laid-off repairman trying to make ends meet.

Not sure how a successful business person should act? Join a chamber of commerce or networking group and attend a few meetings. Choose one or two business owners that appear very successful and observe how they present themselves. Keep that mental image in your head and try to emulate their characteristics that you admire.

Does it feel a little outside your comfort zone? Good! You’ll never grow as a person if you just stick with what you know.

Keep in mind that acting the part is not just pretending to be someone you are truly not. If it goes against your core values, it isn’t the right thing to do.¬†Acting the part is simply a way to become the better person that you want to be.

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