A while back, personal wealth expert Ramit Sethi was promoting something called the ‘briefcase technique’ that he claimed helped him and many other people land their dream jobs, get a pay rise, and walk away from virtually any form of business negotiation a winner.

That sounds like a gimmick, but it isn’t.

The most important factor behind it’s success is that it ultimately forces you to change the way you approach any interview or negotiation. Instead of passively answering questions or making requests, when you pull your proposal out of your briefcase, you are actually defining and positioning your value, and that helps to bring the decision maker over to your side. But to do this properly, you have to go in with a keen understanding of the business as well as the hopes, challenges, and dreams of that person sitting at the other end of the table. You also need to figure out the best way to sell the person on your abilities and passion. As Sethi puts it, “80% of the work happens before you walk in the room.”

He’s right- with or without the briefcase.

If you want to be successful in business and in life you should never see yourself as an interviewee in an interview, a negotiator in a negotiation, nor a presenter giving a presentation. In every single one of these situations what you really are is a salesperson.

Selling Is Not Sleazy or Superfluous

I frequently interview talented, experienced candidates who have a hard time promoting themselves. Some of these people are uncomfortable with the whole sales concept. It makes them feel pushy, arrogant or fake. Others just don’t see the need for it. Shouldn’t their qualifications speak for themselves? On paper, these candidates may have better skills and better sector experience. Yet, time and time again they lose out to the candidate who can better articulate his or her value in the interview.

The reality is that landing a job requires a different skill set than doing the job. Most candidates are solely focused on building the skills and credibility to do the job. They come to the interview thinking they are prepared because they have all the “right” qualifications, experience, and certifications in place. Getting the job, however, means knowing how to effectively interview, network, and negotiate. In other words, you need to know how to influence those around you to get the outcome you want, and this applies to anything in life.

It reminds me of a quote I a recently read;

Selling impacts every person on the planet. Your ability or inability to sell, persuade, negotiate, and convince others will affect every area of your life and will determine how well you survive… Your ability to do well in life depends on your ability to sell others on the things in which you believe! … It doesn’t matter whether or not you call yourself a salesperson because you’re either selling something or someone is selling you. Either way, one of the parties is going to influence the outcome, and it will either be you getting your way or the other person getting his/her way… Regardless of your preconceived opinions, ideas, or evaluations regarding sales and salespeople, you need to fully adopt the idea that you are going to have to sell no matter what your position or job is in life.

The individuals who know how to sell, persuade and influence are the ones who can get the promotion they deserve or the pay rise they have been looking for. They are the ones who can sell design solutions to clients, win competitions, lead design teams, and achieve strategic partnerships. And, they are the ones more likely to be hired over their more qualified peers.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this topic – I have always said ‘selling is not a dirty word’ – please post your comments for discussion.

(Quote – Grant Cardone, Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life)