I was at a social event a couple of years ago when someone asked me what I did for a living. Hmmm, I knew how I wanted to answer that question, “I’m a professional speaker.” Instead, I muttered something about being a sales facilitator or some other non-sense. It wasn’t until some months later that the social event misstep came rushing back to my mind. I was speaking to a group of sales people and I asked what they were reading and studying to hone their craft. In response the sales people began telling me things like, “I don’t have time to read.” “I doubt there is anything about sales I don’t know.” “Learning about selling? Heck, I have been selling longer than some of my clients have been alive.”
Does Your Customer Know That You Get Paid For This?
When the sales people told me these things I immediately inquired whether or not their clients and prospects knew they got paid for selling stuff. They all confirmed that the clients were all aware of this fact. So, I inquired further, you are a professional sales person? I mean, you are in the chosen field of professional selling? They slowly began to nod their heads in agreement and a bit of wonder of where I was going with this.
The question I had to ask myself that night at the social event, and the question I was asking of these sellers was, “why don’t you boldly proclaim that you are a professional _________?” (Fill in the blank with your profession). Why didn’t I proclaim (loud enough for others to hear) that I am a professional speaker, author, teacher and coach? The only answer I could come up with was that calling yourself a pro has some baggage with it. People will automatically make a judgement call on whether they think you are right or whether you are fooling yourself. To put it simply, am I credible as a professional?
What Do Professionals Do?
Being a pro means that I do things that amateurs don’t do. Think about it, when you watch a professional athlete perform their craft you know that there were many hours of preparation and practice that led to the performance. The same should be true for you. Are you investing in yourself to grow your skill so that there is no mistaking that when people are in your presence, they are in the presence of a true professional?
For me this meant that I needed to begin to read, observe, engage with and follow other professional speakers. My areas of expertise when I speak are sales, sales leadership, personal development, personal leadership and coaching, so I began learning all I could about those topics. I listen to audio, I read books, I follow blogs, I follow experts in these areas on Twitter, etc. Do I agree with everything that others have to say? Of course not, but by investing the time to hear what others are saying on these subjects it helps me perfect my point of view.
What could you do today to raise your game so that everyone that see’s you perform your craft will know that they are watching a pro at work?
You can see my new video on this subject by clicking HERE.
Photo Credit – www.freedigitalphotos.net – Photo by Ambro.