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5 Tips To Sell Yourself

07/28/2011

At some point in your life you may have found yourself thinking…”How’d I end up in sales?”. With few exceptions, aspiring to be a sales professional is nowhere near wanting to become a fireman, professional athlete or movie star. Sales is not taught in school (of course, neither is checkbook balancing). But in reality we all have to sell. Be it a product, service or concept. First, however, we have to sell ourselves.

I’ve been in the business development mode lately. As a consultant I need to be selling myself and my services to insure that I have work. Sure some new business comes from referrals – but that is likely the result of effective selling earlier. In a small business you wear many hats but one thing for certain – you must keep one eye on your work and one eye looking for new opportunities.

For many people selling yourself is daunting. So here are 5 tips to sell yourself effectively:

Be You – It’s easier to focus on your conversation when you’re  not attempting to be something other than the genuine thing. This is also important in maintaining the relationship once the initial sale has been successfully made. Selling yourself generally results in creating a relationship of some sort. Nothing stresses a relationship faster than a personality transformation.

Believe In Yourself – You have something (skill, interest, expertise, education) that can benefit and be appreciated by someone else. Focus on your strengths. Be prepared to share what it is you do with energy, enthusiasm and humility. Doing so will illustrate justifiable confidence which is imperative in any selling situation.

Know Your Limitations – Just as in the first point it is important to not try to be all things to all people. Affirmation via contract, agreement or even conversation is what you seek. It can be tempting to do whatever it takes to receive affirmation – even saying you can do something you know darn well you don’t have the ability or expertise to pull off. Resist the temptation. Stay with your strengths.

No BS – Stay away from labeling yourself a guru, customer-centric, world-class, #1, top quality, etc. As Margaret Thatcher said, “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” Your actions, the benefits you provide and the results delivered speak more powerfully than BS claims.

Set Your Destination – Know what you want to come from your selling. If you want an employer to hire you – focus on that businesses needs, situation, competition. As a result you’ll be able to speak to how hiring you will meet those needs. If you are seeking a new client – go where they are (literally and figuratively). Use your network to be introduced, then use the 4 tips above.

It never hurts to practice your pitch. Write it down. Say it to the mirror. Record it and play it back. Get comfortable with what your saying, the words used and length of your pitch.

Bonus Tip – Always close with the “ask”. Ask for the job, the project, feedback, or even an opinion. Make the job of selling yourself a means to an end.

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