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Just Be Yourself
by Barry J. Farber

Think back for a moment to your greatest sales calls. What made them so successful? Usually, it’s because the sale went so smoothly. You did all your research, you had in-depth knowledge of your product or service, you set your objective for the call, you closed and, voilà, sales success.

But there’s another factor that contributed to that success: you. Because you were so well-prepared, you were able to sit back and sell from the heart.

Baseball’s Yogi Berra once asked, “How can anybody think and hit at the same time?” My question is, “How can anybody think and sell at the same time?” The best salespeople are those who feel so comfortable with selling that they don’t have to think about what they’re doing.

When I was a sales manager, I had a rep who wasn’t doing very well. At first, I couldn’t understand why. He had a great personality; people thought he was a natural-born salesperson. But he wasn’t making sales. So I went along with him on some sales calls to find out what the problem was.

It didn’t take long to realize what was happening. As soon as we got in front of a customer, his personality changed. It was as if he’d tucked his true self away in a pocket, and another person came out of his mouth. He took the customer through a robotic, by-the-book sale straight out of Selling 101. He stepped into what he perceived to be “salesperson mode”—and stepped right out of the sale.

The best relationships with customers often happen when you can just be yourself. When you feel comfortable with clients, they feel comfortable with you—and that’s when they buy.

There are four stages of competence in any pursuit. When you begin a new skill, such as selling, you’re unconsciously incompetent—you’re not really aware of what to do to be effective. Eventually, as you improve, you become consciously incompetent—you know there’s more to learn and you need to make improvements. Then, when you gain experience, you become consciously competent—you’re aware of the steps you’re taking and the things you’re doing well. The last and most important step is when you become unconsciously competent. At that point, you’re so thoroughly skilled that you no longer have to think on a technical level, and you can sell straight from the heart.

“To thine own self be true” was Polonius’ advice on how to be successful, and being true to yourself is what selling is all about. Understand your customers’ needs and challenges, and keep your objectives in mind at every call. Then, trust yourself enough to let your customers see who you are as a person, and they’ll return that trust.

No matter what, don’t be like that young sales rep with a split personality—one for real life and one for sales. When you hide your personality, you’re hiding your most valuable sales tool.

Barry Farber consults with a variety of industries to help them grow and
expand their business.
He is the best-selling author of 11 books on sales, management and customer
service. His latest release “Diamond in the Rough” CD program is based on
his best selling book, radio and television show.
Visit him at: or email him at: