some people try to sell their capabilities. they pitch what they can do for you or your organization, generally related to being or making something better, faster, cheaper, or more efficient than someone else. they peddle their wares, sometimes with cold calls but a lot of times with advertising. while they almost never say it, they often start their pitches off with “now that i have your attention for the next n minutes…” but the problem is they usually don’t.

they have moments, not minutes, to convince you that their capabilities are worth your investment in both time and money. they have to prove to you and other decision makers that you want to buy from them. with so many competitors, that’s difficult to do. so they lay out their pitch filled with metrics, and demos, and dozens upon dozens of superlatives before wrapping it up at the end by asking for money. “let us know how we can help you” really means, “let us know when you want to buy something.”

the alternative, however, is to sell yourself vice your capabilities. you don’t pitch what you can do to improve someone’s organization. instead, take the time to build relationships. you may be better, faster, cheaper, or more efficient than others, but you’re not selling that—you’re selling an indispensable resource: you.

when you don’t advertise and you give yourself and your abilities away for free; when you spend the time to educate people and help them solve their problems right now, without asking for payment; when you let people see your true work, not a demonstration, and give them a reason to trust in you.

that’s when you delight customers and win market share.