You are your own brand. And your own brand ambassador for that matter. Did you know that? Nine times out of ten, when you sell a product or a service or even an idea - people aren't buying it because they love that product/service/idea. They are buying it because they love you, and your enthusiasm for it, and the way you showed it to them. They see it through you eyes. They see it because of you. And the only reason they listened to you sell it for that long is because they like you. If you had given the same exact pitch, but were a smelly, drunk, rowdy bum.... I doubt you would've gotten past "RAH KIDS THESE DAYS, LEMME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS GREAT NEW..."
No, no, smelly drunk bum man.... That's ok. I have to go watch paint dry or do literally anything besides listen to you right now.
At the beginning of this year I briefly worked as a door-to-door fundraiser. It was one of the most challenging jobs I ever had, but it taught me some of the most precious lessons of my life so far.
Do you know how difficult it is to go door-to-door in the suburbs of New York in the middle of winter for 8-10 hours a day and ask people for money? It's the most frustrating job in the world. But at every door you have to put on a happy face and give your pitch and try to convince this person (someone who is probably just barely scraping by themselves in this shitty economy) to donate $25 a month to your charity.
FUN FACT: Nobody in their right mind wants to do that. Especially when you are only collecting 'donations' by signing people up for child sponsorship programs and asking for their credit card information.
Personally... if I had knocked on my door, I would've laughed and slammed the door shut. "Hello stranger? Oh you want my credit card information? HAHA, no."
And 98% of the time that's exactly what happened. Sometimes I was dismissed in a slightly ruder fashion. OK a lot of the times. OK a MUCH ruder fashion. But 2% of the time.... I would get lucky. I would knock on a door, and a nice man/lady would be standing there. Hesitant at first, but comforted and intrigued to see a young, smiling, enthusiastic, red-nosed (it was freaking cold) face at the door.
The people that I DID successfully sign up for these child sponsorship programs, all told me that it was because of my personality. They were sold on ME, not the charitable nature of the program. They were sold on my friendliness, my openness, my honesty about how much it sucked to be out there in the cold for 8 hours dealing with more-often-than-not rude people, and my passion for the cause.
Despite the rain/snow/sleet that was often pouring down from heavens above, despite the fact that I knew 98% of the people weren't going to hear me out, despite the shitty pay and having to eat my lunch on the subway everyday.... I put on a smile at every door. And that's what got me those sales.
No matter what you do in life, always remember that you're selling yourself, and you're ALWAYS selling yourself. It's an unfortunate truth about life, but the sooner you realize this Marketing/PR 101 trick, the sooner you'll find yourself on the path to success and hopefully happiness.
Every opportunity is a networking opportunity. Every person you meet is someone who should walk away remembering you for your awesomeness.
Beaming out positive vibes,