The Formula for Selling Anybody, Anything, Any Time

Frances Cole Jones, author of "The Wow Factor"

Here'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. With this in mind, here's the proven formula for selling your best self to anybody, anywhere, any time.

First: Yale University did a study of the 12 most persuasive words in the English language. They discovered 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 says one word in the English language increases the possibility of cooperation from 60 to 94 percent. No, that is not a typo. I will repeat: 60 to 94 percent. This word is "because."

Lastly: The Duncan Hines Cake Mix Marketing Theory. When Duncan Hines began making cake mix, the decision to have cooks 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!"

Following, then, are three ways you can apply this formula for success:

1. A job interview scenario

When you are talking to a company about coming to work for them, you need to articulate the unique contribution you can make, so it becomes your shared success.

Too often, however, we spend our interviewing time talking about why we are right for the job. What we need to be talking about is why the job is right for us.

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."

2. Talking to your boss about a brewing situation

The use of the word "situation" here is deliberate. The White House doesn't have a Crisis Room, it has 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, the egg is not as much the mention of the expert attention but the opportunity you are giving your boss to apply that expertise to two possible strategies. Having him choose which he prefers (and tell you why it's far better) not only allows him to add an 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 others. 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, the formula would likely sound like this:

"Hello, I'm X. 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." (If your target is standing with another person or in a group, introduce yourself to everyone present.)

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 another person to add the egg of her choice is what will ensure your successful connection.

Frances Cole Jones is the author of "The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today's Business World." Her company, Cole Media Management, works with clients to enhance their professional and personal presentation skills. She lives in New York City.

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This is not about a job with any company but more about the kind of work that I do.

Many years ago, as a child; my Aunt Mildred and Uncle Merlin would come up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin from Rockford, Illinois to take me back to their home for the summer. While there; I would go to work in their motel and cottages that they owned. Work took presidence at all times. Although I wasn't too happy to see them come early summer when school let out; they did teach me a strong work ethic. As a child; I learned how to do things the RIGHT way. There was NO room for slopiness or simply passing up what I didn't really care to do. I learned how to clean the rooms properly and making them presentable to the public who rented them. I learned how to use a mangle in ironing sheets and other linens. Above all; I learned how to take pride in my work.

What I learned as a child stood me in good stead as an adult. Even today, at soon-to-be 67; I still work part-time as a Home Care Provider. Most of what this job entails is, of course cleaning the clients homes and of course, washing their dishes correctly. However, my job duties also entail me to take my clients to the doctor or go grocery shopping for them (or sometimes, with them). Also, I do light yard work; see to it that they get to their doctor's appointments on time and with certain clients; make sure that they get their medications on time. This also includes setting up their medications for the week. This job can (and often does) entail other unexpected things that come remembering their family members birthdays or other special occasions...visiting them at the hospital and spending some time with them...and then there are the times when someone will get really senile and rub excrement all over the bathroom walls and door. (Yes...this has happened to me...TWICE)! However, I told this particular client that there would NOT be a third time or she would have to clean it up as I would be gone from there.

For the most part; it is a pleasure working with the seniors and those that are for the most part...home bound. One lady and I have become the best of friends. Sometimes on her better days...when she is not feeling too badly; we will slip off to the garden nursury...although this is rare; but something we both LOVE to do. We'll even treat each other to a luncheon once or twice a year.

The main thing to remember on this kind of employment is the fact that the care provider must have a world of patience. Because it is not only the clients; you have to think about but their oftentimes; uncaring families who come in to take advantage of them as well.

Thank you Aunt Mildred and Uncle Merlin for instilling in me a strong and caring work ethic. Although they are long past; they made it possible for me to make a living...especially in this time when jobs are so hard to come phone is still ringing off the hook with someone wanting me to go to work for them.

So, for you young folks out there who have parents or others that you stay with who ride your backside to clean up after yourself...don't argue with them...thank them. You never know when you might just make a living at cleaning up after others. There are those who will sometimes fire you for no good reason what-so-ever. Then, there are those who will be very greatful to have you there helping them. Plus, it means so much to hear..."I don't know what I'd do without you". This is a mark of a job well done. I'm so greatful to my Aunt and Uncle.


December 10 2010 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Neith Petty

Excellent advice for various situations within the "job scene".
Thanks for giving it FOR FREE.

July 05 2010 at 6:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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