Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The Art of the Deal: We're All in Sales, Whether We Want a Job, a Raise, or a Date

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The Art of the Deal: We're All in Sales, Whether We Want a Job, a Raise, or a Date

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

WANT A RAISE? YOU'RE IN SALES! Seeking a promotion or that cool new job? You're in sales! Single? Well, then you're definitely in sales.

The bottom line is that we're all in sales, regardless of what we actually do for a living. Someone has to "buy into" the idea of giving you that raise, promotion, or whatever it is you're seeking.

There are moments when you have to sell yourself in order to accomplish a goal or move forward in life. For some, that's a scary prospect. For others, it's a nobrainer. But no matter how you approach it, you need to understand that selling begins with establishing trust, safety, and comfort with your "customer." To do this, you have to create a relationship, and that boils down to three important things: intimacy, generosity, and accountability.

My company works with sales forces worldwide to teach them how to establish "instant intimacy," which is absolutely necessary if you want to make a sale. Creating intimacy with another person is one of the most important and gratifying things we do in life. It's core to our very nature as human beings. And it all begins with a foundation of authenticity.

This can be tough for some LGBT folks, especially if they have spent part or all of their lives not being authentic, hiding from the world and themselves. But let's face it, most people can sense when you're trying to be something that you're not. You only have one chance to make a great first impression, so just be yourself.

In my book Never Eat Alone, I suggest kicking off any conversation by talking about your interests and passions--and ask the other person about his or hers too. Both of you will begin to shine when you are talking about things that matter to you. Then share your dreams and aspirations. Here's a secret: We all like to talk about our dreams. Bonding around them is a surefire way for two people to connect deeply.

Next, I encourage you to share the challenges you are facing. This is an intimidating step for some people, but a powerful one. You'd be surprised at how quickly another person will open up about his or her own struggles once you've shared yours. Often, some pretty deep fears and vulnerabilities are revealed.

Practice this first with friends at a cocktail party or in the break room at work. You can even try it on a date. If you experience resistance or feel the other person's uneasiness, back off a little and come back later. …

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