Let’s face it: Even if you’ve never worked a day in Sales, you’re still a salesperson.
What exactly are you selling? Your skills. Honey Bunny, if you haven’t figured out it out by now, the “productivity precedes promotion -- bury your head in work and they will recognize your contribution” method of career development DOES NOT WORK. Most of the time, the higher ups have no real clue about everything you do on a daily basis and what exactly goes into putting out the fires that you douse on the regular.
That being said, it is of the utmost importance that you are able to communicate your value to the world at large. You can be the most capable, most talented, best suited for the job person, but that means nothing if no one else knows that.
How do I talk about myself, LaTisha? I have such a hard time with this.
Don’t worry, boo. I got you. You’re going to Sasha Fierce yourself.
Sasha Fierce is Beyoncé’s alter ago. It’s hard to believe it, but Beyoncé, the person, is not the same as Beyoncé, the entertainer. In order to channel the creative energy and commanding stage presence needed to captivate millions of people, Beyoncé, the person, created Sasha Fierce, the dazzling entertainer that you simply cannot take your eyes off of when she steps on the stage.
Here are five crucial steps for Sasha Fiercing your personal sales skills:
Step One: When you’re thinking about what you bring to the table, channel your inner Career Coach.
You are working with a new client and (s)he just happens to have your resume, your skills, your background, etc.
When we are thinking about ourselves, it’s hard to be objective because mindset moochers such as fear, self-doubt, and imposter syndrome hi-hack our brain and cause us to miss out on all of the great things we bring to the table. However, when we work with someone else, we easily see what they have to offer and can put that into words easier than if we were talking about ourselves.
Create a list of skills, experiences, awards, recognitions, and feats that you can talk about. If you’re drawing a blank, that’s okay. Take your time and do your research -- go thru old emails, work files, etc.
From now on, keep tabs on all that you’re doing at work, so that it’s not so hard to come up with things that set you apart. Keep track of projects you’re working on, money you’ve saved the company, deadlines that you met way beforehand, compliments you’ve received from team members/supervisors, etc. This will help you when you find yourself at a loss for explaining how you add value.
Step Two: Ask your close friends and trusted colleagues to tell you what you’re good at and/or what they appreciate you for.
This will help you step outside of yourself and see yourself thru someone else’s eyes. When I did the example, I was floored by how many of my peers admire my confidence and my willingness to get outside of my comfort zone. They also appreciate how warm I am and how I make people feel welcome and heard, even from the first moment I meet them. It really helped me to own my strengths because I wasn’t bragging. I was simply acknowledging what other people thought of me.
Step Three: Take assessments that will help you realize what your strengths are.
In Marcus Buckingham’s book, Now, Discover Your Strengths he talks about how we are obsessed with weaknesses. We’re always focusing on rounding out our skill set and improving on the things that we are not good at. Marcus posits that we should find out what we are good at and dedicate our lives to building upon those strengths.
According to this methodology, my top five strengths are Strategic, Positivity, Restorative, Input, and Futuristic. I also recommend taking the 16personalities.com quiz. I am an ENFJ-A. I have the makings of a fantastic life coach, which is great because that’s what I’m doing.
Step Four: Practice with other people, preferably with people who are encouraging and want to see you win.
Now that you’ve got a clearer picture of what you bring to the table, it’s time to start putting all of this excellence into your own words.
First, create a 60 second speech that includes your education, your work history, big accomplishments and where you’d like to go next. Since you don’t have much time, you have to include ONLY the important stuff. Practice your speech and time yourself. If you find that you’re at 90 seconds, practice so much and cut the non-essential stuff to get down to 60 seconds. This speech can be super helpful at networking events when someone asks you about yourself. You already know what to say.
Second, record yourself. I know it sounds scary and there’s nothing worse than watching yourself talk. Most people hate the sound of their own voice. You’ll want to pick apart everything, but don’t do it. Focus on the words you’re using. Are you conveying the message that you really want to get across? If not, how can you improve? This is not the time to bash yourself, your looks, the sound of your voice, etc. Again, Sasha Fierce yourself. Pretend that you’re watching someone else and objectively assess what they are saying.
If you don’t have anyone in your corner, enlist the help of a life coach or a career coach.
Step Five: Get out there.
Attend networking events, so that you 1) meet people you don’t know and 2) have the opportunity to practice in real life everything that you’ve been working on. I’m all about vulnerability. I have no problem telling someone I’ve never met, “Hey, I’m working on talking about myself and what I bring to the table. Is it okay if I run my 60 second speech by you to get your input? I appreciate any guidance you can give me.”
Make it a point to speak to 3 people you’ve never met before. Just three. You don’t need to be Ms. Networking and hand out your card to 50 people. Quality trumps quantity any day of the week, boo.
Yes, it’s scary. Believe me, I know. However, I choose to see these events as places where the friends I have yet to meet are gonna be. It helps take the edge off.
Let’s say you go and you bomb it. I mean, we’re talking about Drew Barrymore “Never Been Kissed” running into a door and falling flat on her back bombing it. At least you practiced, so next time will be better AND the likelihood you’ll see these people again is pretty slim. Even if you do see them again, it does not matter. You’re up to something pretty damn amazing.
Now it’s your turn. Comment below and tell me what you’re good at, what projects you’ve crushed, and where you want to go next.
I’m cheering for you. Like I’m your wingwoman on a Friday night.
From the Front Row,
P/S Want more? Lots of goodies over on my Resources page. Check 'em out and let me know what you think!