I’ve never considered myself a salesperson. I have sold gym memberships, used cars, slushies, IT services, beer and more used cars. But, I've never truly enjoyed the sales aspect of my work.
I was watching "Shark Tank" the other night and a contestant was trying to sell the sharks on her product, a dog food cake. While I thought it was an excellent idea, the sharks did not.
The contestant admitted that she didn’t consider herself a “salesperson.” To this, Mark Cuban replied something to the effect of, “If you believe in your product, you should have no problem selling it.”
Let’s face it: Most women hate buying used cars about as much as they hate re-entering the dating scene. That’s a given. But, if you want to get out there, attract the right guy and have successful relationships, you have to sell yourself.
Perform a SWOT analysis.
For those of you who don’t know, a SWOT analysis stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities.” For the purpose of this article, let's focus on strengths and weaknesses.
List at least 10 strengths; I know you have them. Now, list your three most major weaknesses. Seeing them on paper might help you focus on what you need to change.
Are you overly emotional? Take steps to work on it. Perhaps you don’t like the fact that you’re short. Deal with it and cross it off the list. If you can’t change something, there is no use in harping on it.
Focus on your strengths.
If you are a pharmaceutical rep and have a drug that cures cancer 95 percent of the time, wouldn’t you lead in with that? You wouldn’t start out by saying that it causes constipation, diarrhea and dry skin. Sure, you’d have to mention it later as a disclaimer (in small print), but you wouldn’t dwell on it.
We all have flaws, but we should relegate those to the fine print. Unless you are legally or morally obligated to tell your new partner about your flaws (e.g. an illegitimate child, felony charges), then why bother saying anything at all?
In time, it will become clear that you’re a terrible dancer, but by then, your strengths will have taken the main stage and your weaknesses will be but an afterthought.
Fix your weaknesses (to the extent that you can).
A few years back, I was trying to unload a 2007 Cavalier. When turned on, it shook and there was a distinct rattling in the hood. I knew I couldn’t sell it in that condition, so I took it to a mechanic who repaired it. (Turns out, a dead squirrel had gotten in the radiator.)
I had to repair the major flaws before I could present it to a potential buyer.
Don't go all Heidi Montag and invest your life savings in plastic surgery. Instead, handle your major demons before choosing to date someone.
Presentation is everything.
When I sold used cars, I made cute little intros, like
Hi, my name is Quinn, and I’m a 2000 Hyundai Elantra. I love keeping my passengers warm in the winter, as they listen to their favorite sounds on my 2010 Alpine sound system. More importantly, I keep them safe in the snow with new tires. I’m a great car for a first-time driver or college student and I make a great second family car.
I didn’t mention that the car was old and still had manual windows. The buyer could see all that in the pictures.
Try this on for size: Which one of the following two girls would you rather date?
Girl A: “Old, average looking, kind of frizzy hair, broad shouldered with a touch of scoliosis, slight speech impediment, terrible dancer and cook. Has a really boring job doing something with computers. Just recently got dumped.”
Girl B: “Young, super-cute, a little taller than average, great smile and really smart. In fact, she writes code for sales software you might use at your job! She’s working on her Six Sigma and she loves to go running, skiing and snowboarding. She just became single, so she’s a hot commodity right now.”
Both descriptions are of the same 26-year-old woman. The first is how she describes herself to me, but the second is how I see her. When you’re writing your Tinder profile, remember that you’re selling something way more valuable than a used Hyundai Elantra.
Don’t let your age dictate your worth.
This spring, I had a 2008 Pontiac G6 and a 2002 Grand Cherokee I was looking to sell. The Pontiac was newer, but I asked about the same price for them both. Why? For one, the Cherokee is just a better car. (Seriously, those things are sturdy as hell.) Also, it’s in better condition.
The Pontiac was missing the driver's side visor and there’s a dent in it from where my mom backed it into a pole.
In an informal poll, every guy preferred a 37-year-old with a college degree, no kids, a healthy lifestyle and great personality, as opposed to a chain-smoking, self-tanning 22-year-old with a few kids. Age is just one card in the deck; if the rest of your hand is good, guys won’t even care. That being said…
Look, I’d love to get $100,000 for that Pontiac the same way I’d also like to date Bradley Cooper while having affairs with both Liam Hemsworth and Ryan Reynolds. But, we all know neither will happen.
I’ve met people who want to buy Range Rovers for $10,000 the same way I’ve met women who want a guy who is (and I quote) “at least 6’2,” clean shaven with just a bit of scruff, makes seven figures a year, writes poetry, rides horses and volunteers with sick children."
Guys, this isn't Build-A-Bear; the chupacabra you’re looking for doesn’t exist.
Practice your pitch.
A few years back, my grandma passed away and I found myself with a trunk full of random junk from her basement. I knew that none of it was valuable, as the farthest my grandma had ever traveled was on a cruise ship with Aunt Helen.
After wrapping all of the junk up in the 1993 Detroit Yellow Pages, I decided to take it to a few antique dealerships.
“Well, what do you have there?” the portly man behind the counter at the first shop asked.
“Uh… a truck. It’s an antique,” I added, stating the obvious. “And then, there’s these vases… and this coin…”
“Miss, these vases aren’t antiques.”
“Yes they are; they are from China. The Ming dynasty, I believe.”
“The Ming Dynasty was 700 years ago. These were made in 1987. See? It’s stamped right here.”
“And these are plates from 1977 or 1978. Probably came from Sears. And someone got this coin on a Japanese cruise ship,” he smirked.
I knew I had to change my antiquing tactic, so I began to practice my pitch at the next few stores (many of which considered NASCAR memorabilia antiques).
“Hello sir!” I announced. “We’ve come into the possession of some rare goods that I think you might be interested in. Come on… look at them,” I said, displaying them as if on QVC.
I continued, “These dishes are eloquently carved and can be used to hold delicacies, such as cheese and crackers, or perhaps candy for when the grandkids come over. Some recently emigrated parents bought this truck as a toy for their young son in 1930. This coin? Total 80s cruise ship memorabilia. Hipsters love this crap. Old people love the rest.”
I walked away $250 richer that day, all because I changed my pitch.
I know it sounds ridiculous, but practice your pitch with your friends. If I can sell 1980s junk from a cruise ship, you can attract a significant other.
Let yourself be taken on many test drives.
Notice that I did NOT say, "Sleep with lots of dudes." Think about it: When you’re in the market for a new car, do you just pick one car and only test-drive it? No, you usually check out several. In dating, you’re the buyer and the seller.
Maybe some pieces are out of your price range and maybe, some aren’t what you thought you wanted. I know people who swore they’d never drive a SUV, but upon getting in a Mercedes E-Class, realized they loved the feeling of piloting a spaceship, or perhaps large battle tank.
So, go out with that guy who’s not quite your type. He might just end up being the chupacabra you were looking for all along.
Realize that you will never be perfect.
I know a lot of people who have been trying to start a business/write a book/launch a music career for years, yet they don’t feel that they are quite ready yet.
Perhaps one of your weaknesses is that you feel you are overweight. By all means, make some healthy lifestyle changes, but don’t let them hold you back from getting started.
In the meantime, get out there and live! Even Fortune 500 companies have weaknesses, but they believe in their products and they sell like crazy. You don’t see Apple shutting down production because there might be a flaw in the iPhone, do you?
If you wait until you think you’ve got it 100 percent together, your next relationship will be in your nursing home.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It