Coffee with Dr. Wale – Selling yourself


dr wale

Coffee with Doctor Wale.

I finally went for coffee with Doctor Wale yesterday.  I had been invited a couple of times but I was abit half hearted about the whole issue.  Being the Kenyan that I am I have been like I spend a thousand bob a month to listen to a guy talk.  Nah. So when I heard he was going to Parklands Baptist I decide to go and check him out.  Why?  Because it was free duh.  Anyway he was talking about financial management which is one of the areas I need to grow in.

After listening for about an hour I became a believer. The things I like about Dr. Wale are that he made me laugh and then he was real.  I like speakers who are real about who they are, where they have been, and their struggles.  Hopefully when I become an internationally acclaimed speaker (its coming people. It’s in my five year plan.  Watch this space) I will be like that. So I got convinced I need to go for Coffee with Dr. Wale yesterday.  I decided to invest in my mind which is just as important as financial investments.  Actually your mind is your most important asset.

Dr. Wale was talking about selling yourself.  He talked about some of the myths about selling oneself.

Myth one.  Once a product is good, it will sell.

Reality. A bad product that is properly presented will outsell a good product that is poorly presented.

Myth two.  Not everybody is gifted at selling.

Reality1.  Everyone has to develop it

Reality 2.  Your marriage, promotion, happy living are all tied to your ability to sell.  Dr. Wale gave us the example of him having to sell himself to his girlfriend who was not interested in getting married to a guy like him.  He had to sell himself as the man she should marry.

Reality 3.  Someone is always selling.  Either you or the person who says no is selling.  A sale is always being made.

Myth three.  The truth always sells.

Reality 1.  Truth will outline the lie but the lie can outsell the truth.

Reality 2.  A lie that is confidently told will have more impact then the truth that is timidly told.

Being passive or having timidity is not a values.

Case study

The greatest lie to be sold in our generation.  The Iraq weapons of mass destruction.

Lesson.  Never underestimate the power of selling even if it is a lie being sold.  What was being sold?  The invasion of Iraq.

How was the product sold?  We watched a clip of General Powell telling the UN the reasons that Iraq had to be invaded.  The reason for the attack was blamed on flimsy evidence but the speaker for the product – war was very convincing.

So if you want to sell something first you must create a compelling motive.  Dr. Wale asked us what is it about us that needs to get out there.  We were to list five items.

A lot of people are not able to sell themselves because they have not established a strong enough motive.  They always have something to fall back on in the event that what they want to do doesn’t work.  Or they give excuses why they can’t pursue something.  This breeds complacency.  Why is it that those who come from a background with nothing end up being rich?  It’s because they have been at the bottom and they have the motivation to get to the top.  Most people in comfortable positions or backgrounds don’t have that.

The thing I got is what motives you and how strong is that motivation.


There is the guy who sold the Eiffel tower to many people over and over again.  He was never arrested.  Why?  Because it would be embarrassing to the people who were conned to say that they actually believed in such a con.  Nobody believed that somebody would tell a lie that grand.


Confidence is contagious.  America was confident (so they said) that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  This confidence brought in the other nations into agreeing to go to war.  The story was too good to be a lie.

The thing is people like confident people but detest arrogant people.

A confident sales person exudes charm and enthusiasm about the benefits of their products to you. An arrogant sales person points attention to themselves.

The best way to sell is to be a good listener. Enthusiast listening.  When you listen it gives you insights into the person and gives you clues of what to say to win the person over.

A confident sales person evaluates the importance of the prospect and play to the ego of the prospect. The arrogant salesperson comes to the room with their own ego.  Buyer ego and self ego do not mix.  One has to give way to the other and if you are going to sell.  You must be confident enough to allow yours to give way.  The only important ego at that time is the person you are selling to.

Golden rule.

People buy people.

You need to develop yourself to a point where you are sellable.  Question: what made Colin Powell so sellable?  His credibility was his rank, experience and his integrity.  He was believable.

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling.  If people like you they will buy from you.

People will reward (buy you) according to how much value they see in you.  The sale must always be about them.

Proof that people buy people is the mystery of the bookstand.  The test drive rule is that people buy experiences.  If they listen to a speaker at a conference and like him they are more likely to buy his books.  We must therefore be able to create an experience that people want more of.  We need to create an experience with whoever we are selling to.

By the way we are like transmitters.  We transmit signals to others.  We need to learn what we are transmitting and learn to transmit what we want others to think about us.

We need to think how do I go against the traffic and sell myself.  Many people are content to go with the traffic.  It is exhausting.

People rush to buy an author’s book after listening to a great speech by the author because they want to take a piece of the experience with them. Anchoring.

Visual impact.

We need to have creative visuals that send the right image.

Colin Powell was a perfect salesman for the task of selling war.  His testimony was the game changer.


So how do you sell yourself at work?

Make sure that you are able to attach your proposal to a visual that will strike an emotion in your boss.  People are more likely to execute what they can see.  Connect what you are saying to a picture.

To sell to a potential client.

Make sure you are sending out the right message by how you look and talk.

Watch your mannerisms.

Make the client the center of your conversation.

To sell to an investment partner.

Make sure you know what you are talking about.

Whenever you are trying to sell yourself to somebody appeal to reward, not to compassion. What will the person get out of this?

Make sure you look successful. Success attracts success.

Don’t consolidate mediocrity. Appeal to the fact that you have something irresistible. If you appeal to compassion all you will be given is pocket change. The real deal is in showing the person what is in it for them.

The theory of inflation

 Sell yourself to your future by building yourself to the point where you’re present cannot hold you anymore. What I understood from that is that you must first sell yourself your vision. To grow you must believe in yourself and grow yourself as the product until you become so valuable that you outgrow any restrictions that could be put on you in the process.

So see you next month at Coffee with Dr. Wale. By the way the coffee was excellent and so were the opportunities to network.

PS. Books he is currently reading that he recommended to us  were Daniel Pink – To sell is human and Shiv Khera – You can sell.




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Potentash Founder. A creative writer and editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]