As a professional, you probably think you need to master a lot of skills in order to get your dream job. Or, be the most talented to get ahead at work.
While those things won’t hurt you, there’s really only one skill you need to know: how to sell.
However, when you think of sales tips or how to sell yourself, you probably think of a slimy used car salesman. Or some pushy multi-level marketing scheme.
Many of us have negative connotations when it comes to the term ‘sales.’ But in reality, learning basic sales principles can help you in your personal and professional life. Here’s how.
Why knowing how to sell yourself is important
Knowing basic sales tips isn’t just for people in sales. You probably don’t realize it, but every day you have to sell yourself in some way or another.
First off, in a job interview, you have to sell yourself. Essentially you have to illustrate, in a rather short time, why you’re a worthy investment.
Learning how to sell yourself in an interview is a great skill that can help you score your dream job. Then when you have the job, you have to sell your ideas — to a boss or colleague.
And if you run a business, sales are the backbone of making a profit. You also might have to pitch a new client or customer and sell them on the company.
“I think the reality is that all of us must engage in some forms of persuasion, every day,” says Stanley P. Jaskiewicz, attorney, and a member of Spector Gadon & Rosen, P.C. “Other people rarely do what we think they should simply because we tell them to.”
Every day there are instances that require us to sell. And many of us either feel ill-equipped to deal with them or feel uncomfortable trying to do something we’re not sure how to do.
3 major sales tips you should master in your career
If you’re looking to take your career or professional life to the next level, consider becoming a master of sales by utilizing the following three sales tactics.
1. Start a conversation, then build a relationship
I used to be a telemarketer in college selling theater subscriptions over the phone. It was a pretty awful job, and I got hung up on a lot.
However, I did learn the art of conversation. And I learned that all sales start with a conversation. Then you can graduate to building a relationship with a potential customer.
“To be successful in sales you must build relationships, listen to your prospects, and do your homework,” says Michelle Colon-Johnson, founder of 2 Dream Productions, Inc.
“You can know every sales technique known in the industry but if people don’t feel the connection they are not going to buy from you,” Colon-Johnson explains. “As author Bob Burg says, ’People do business with who they know, like and trust.’”
2. Communicate your value proposition effectively
In order to sell effectively, you want to be genuinely interested in the other party. You’re not talking at them, but talking to them.
At the end of the day, you have to understand who they are and what their pain points are. Then you can figure out how you can help.
Maria Vizzi, a salesperson at Indoor Environmental Solutions, Inc., says that one of the most important skills you can have in sales is being able to effectively communicate the value proposition that you offer.
A value proposition illustrates the value that you provide to a customer. And it’s what makes people want to work with you or to buy your product.
Ultimately, selling is all about the art of persuasion and getting people to buy into your idea. That you do, in fact, have a solution to their problem.
“People will not know the value you add unless you tell them, and tell them clearly and concisely,” says consultant Dawn Roberts. “You must target your actions towards what your customer (your boss, line manager, or actual sales customer) wants.”
“Once you do this, you must be able to clearly and effectively articulate how you’ve done it,” Roberts adds. “This is sales basics at the core.”
3. Speak plainly and be yourself
When learning how to sell yourself, it’s important to avoid jargon and stuffy presentations. People want to connect with you and learn about what you have to offer as you speak plainly.
Whether you want to learn how to sell yourself in order to get a raise or to get your dream job, consider practicing a presentation or discussing with a friend or mentor beforehand.
As mentioned above, likability is huge as well. Therefore, be yourself. And don’t hesitate to focus on your passion and integrity, too.
As a small business owner, I’ve sold ideas for projects to clients while leveraging my sincere passion for them. The great thing about passion is that it’s infectious. And when people hear the excitement about your ideas, they are likely to want to follow along the journey.
Additionally, when learning how to sell yourself in an interview or sell a product or service, it’s important to sell the benefits or the results. People want to know “How does this help me?” Or, “How does this solve my problem?”
For example, if you’re trying to convince your boss of trying something new you wouldn’t want to say, “I really want to try this new thing and think it will be good for the company!”.
Instead, you want to sell results. You want to sell the impact. You would say something like, “Switching over to this process would lead to more employee productivity as well as lower costs by 20 percent.”
Selling effectively can give your career a boost
Whether you’re in sales or not, knowing basic sales tips and how to sell yourself are keys to success in your professional life.
There will be times where you have to go to bat and sell your ideas or sell your worth, and show people the value you bring. Knowing how to sell yourself in an interview and other areas of your life can be a big leg up.
What’s more, having a basic understanding of sales techniques can help you master the art of persuasion, which in turn can help bolster your career in the long-run.
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