To be successful in sales, you have to be genuinely confident … or a narcissist.

I came to that conclusion as I was coming up with this article, not to promote being a narcissist, but to state what is.

Well, I thought, we buy from people who have a strong self image. We are more likely to trust them and, therefore, will believe that they are selling something worthwhile.

Self image: the idea one has of one’s abilities, appearance, and personality.

But then I thought through the antithesis of that. Just because someone gives off a strong self image doesn’t mean they have a healthy one. They may just think they’re amazing.

They may be a narcissist.

So, as I talk about what makes individuals good at sales, remember that the quintessential confident person isn’t the only one who will generate success. People with a false sense of confidence can also achieve success.

I suggest you strive for the former, but that’s entirely up to you.

How do you generate an effective self image on LinkedIn?

One thing I say often is, “desperate is never a good look.” Even if you have zero dollars in the bank, you must present yourself as though you have millions. If you don’t, no one will want to buy from you.

Desperation plays out in a number of ways on LinkedIn. Here are two:

Example 1: The Rogue Connection Request

You receive a connection request.

Upon looking at the person’s profile, you determine that you are okay connecting with this person. You accept. Approximately two minutes later, you receive an extensive[ly bad] sales pitch, concluding with a “link to my calendar” to book a call.

What is really happening here? There are a couple possibilities.

This person is struggling financially.

This may be personally or with their business. I get it, I’ve been there. It sucks. You need sales, like, yesterday, and it keeps you from the casual attitude that will actually generate them. Most people don’t buy after one engagement, it takes time. When someone doesn’t have time — they need money PRONTO — they are more likely to try and force sales. That very rarely — if ever — works.

This person received bad advice.

Another possibility is that this person was told this is the best way to sell on LinkedIn: try and connect with as many people as you can and send them your value proposition immediately. While I sometimes recommend this, it is always based on the mindset of the person being sold to.

Example 2: The Mimicker

Scrolling the LinkedIn news feed, you see someone clearly regurgitating the actions of the “influencers” they have come across on the platform. While there is nothing wrong with this — I wouldn’t have a job if there was — other people’s methods are meant to be a starting point, not the full solution.

Let’s look at what is happening.

This person doesn’t have his or her own professional identity.

When we watch influencers on LinkedIn, the idea is to build upon their advice. We want to give everything our own twist, adding pieces of who we are and what we stand for. For example, we see that posting video is a great way to generate engagement, so we begin creating and posting our own videos. This won’t work if we don’t incorporate a piece of what makes us unique and valuable to our audience. Going through the motions won’t cut it.

This person hasn’t innovated existing ideas.

Whether it’s tagging others, using hashtags, or writing original content, there must be a level of innovation from the person posting. It isn’t enough to simply do what others are doing … it is critical to put your own stamp on it. There has to be something within the “best practices” content that is uniquely you, or it won’t fly.

Sell by embracing your purpose.

I had a call with a new client today, and one thing he talked about was the “power of purpose.” It got me thinking, because I’ve talked about purpose on LinkedIn before, and it was met with comments about purpose being hokey or too “woo.”

I believe purpose is the north star of sales. Without it, you have no idea what you’re striving for, and you may find yourself grasping at straws.

My purpose:

To amplify what makes my clients attractive to their audience, increasing LinkedIn visibility to sell products or services.

In the context of this post, I develop and promote the self image of my clients as it pertains to their business goals. If my client doesn’t have a strong self-image, my work will fall flat.

In Conclusion …

How can you be good at sales? Whether you’re a narcissist or not (and I’m guessing you aren’t if you’re reading this), you must:

  • Know yourself (therefore avoiding mimicking)
  • Know how you are valuable to your clients (therefore knowing your purpose)
  • Know you will succeed despite present circumstances (therefore avoiding desperation)

Once you have those three things in place, you can point yourself in the right direction and attract the right people to you.

Good luck!

About Chrissie Zavicar

Chrissie Zavicar is the President and CEO of e-Link Consulting, which works with businesses to increase LinkedIn visibility.