The Formula for Selling Anybody, Anything, Anytime

women salesHere’s the thing: sometimes we’re selling our ideas, sometimes we’re selling our products and, these days, many of us are selling ourselves as the best candidate for the job/as the person who deserves a promotion. With this in mind, here’s the proven formula for selling your best self to anybody, anywhere, anytime.

First: Yale University did a study of the 12 most persuasive words in the English language. What they discovered is that the most persuasive word in the English language is “you.” Consequently, I recommend throwing it around a lot: “As I’m sure you know,” “As I’m sure you’ve heard,” “I wanted to talk to you today,” etc.

Second: California-based Social Psychologist Ellen Langer revealed that there is one word in the English language that increases the possibility of cooperation from 60 to 94%. No, that is not a typo. I will repeat: 60 to 94%. This word is “Because.”

Lastly: “The Duncan Hines Cake Mix Marketing Theory.” When Duncan Hines first began making cake mix, the decision to have you at home add the egg was made in the marketing department. Why is this effective? Because they realized that when we add the egg we feel proud because we contributed; we can say, “I baked!” How does this work in a business scenario? You need to articulate how you can contribute to the other person’s success and/or how they can contribute to yours so that what is created becomes your shared success.

So that’s your formula: you + because + the egg = success.

Following are three different ways you can apply this formula for success

Talking to an Interviewer:

Too often we spend our interviewing time talking about why we are right for the job. This sounds a lot like, “And I just think this company would be perfect for me/would help me meet my goals.” No. What you need to be talking about is how you are going to contribute to your future boss’s/the company’s success once you are hired.

What might this sound like?

“I wanted to talk to you today because your job description/your company’s mission statement/your bestselling product is X, and my skill set/my personal passion/my sales experience is in Y. Applying the full force of my expertise to this job will enable us both to reach our goals.”

Talking to Your Boss about a Brewing “Situation”:

The use of the word “situation” here is quite deliberate. The White House doesn’t have a “Crisis Room,” they have a “Situation Room.” Likewise, you don’t have a crisis– you have a situation that needs to be resolved.

So, what would the formula for success sound like here?

“I wanted to bring a potential situation to your attention immediately because it requires expert attention. X has occurred and I have come up with the following two, possible solutions. Is there one that you prefer?”

In this instance, their egg is not as much the mention of their expert attention, but the opportunity you are giving them to apply that expertise to two possible resolution strategies. Having them to choose which they prefer (and tell you why it’s far better) not only allows them to add their egg, but to choose the temperature at which the solution is “baked.”

Talking to a Potential Target at a Networking event

Too many networking events are about what others can do for us, rather than what we can do for them. In my experience, however, the most successful networkers aren’t asking, “What can you do for me?” but “What can I do for you?” In this scenario, then, the formula would likely sound like this:

“Hello, I’m X,” (if your target is standing with another person, or in a group, introduce yourself to everyone present.) “I wanted to introduce myself because I know you are the visionary behind X idea/product/company, and I wanted to introduce you to Y/write about you in my newsletter/ask if I could help you organize your next charity event.”

As you can see, the offer doesn’t need to be huge — the fact that you made it at all is what helps you stand out. Leaving room for them to add the egg of their choice is what will ensure your successful connection.

Happy baking!

Guest Contribution by Frances Cole Jones

Guest advice and opinions are not necessarily those of