“You have really sold yourself and your product/expertise today. But if you had to choose, which one is more important? Selling yourself – people buy people. Or selling your product/service, but being less personable. Are they 50/50 or is there a sway either way in your view?”
I had this excellent question (and lovely compliment!) at the end of a pitching masterclass I ran recently – here’s my view …
The quick answer is that it’s both, but the longer answer is that you shouldn’t, usually, be selling your product or service anyway.
Because no one cares about it, and no one wants to be ‘sold to’. They only care about the result that they get from your product or service – the value that it brings them, and that’s what you should be talking to them about, and if you do that, you don’t need to ‘sell’ so much.
This approach involves getting to know the client, and their world, well. It means being someone who is able to listen, to understand the problems that the client is facing, and why they need a solution to those problems.
And, if you can do all of that then you’re almost certainly going to come across as personable, or at least reasonable, anyway!
There’s one more thing to add – when people ask us to pitch to them (either online or in person) they are, often, saying that they need to look you in the eye, to hear the sound of your voice before they can make a decision. Without realising they’re saying ‘I don’t trust a rational decision-making process. I need to meet you to make a decision’.
I’m not claiming that any of our clients consciously do this, but it’s nearly always a factor in face-to-face pitching. They’ve read your website, but everyone’s got a great website. They’ve read your proposal, but all proposals sound great. They want to meet YOU to help make that final decision.
And so, it should be obvious, being able to ‘sell yourself’ is a key part of the pitching process.