In the professional world today, if you don’t know how to sell yourself in business, you may find yourself falling short of your career goals. But what does it mean to sell yourself?
It’s not selling out — finding ways to change yourself and what you bring to the table just to fit into whatever mold you think is necessary to succeed. By all means, continue learning and growing professionally — continuous learning is a hugely important for professional success.
But you also need to know what you have to offer and be willing to appropriately — but aggressively — present that to others in a winning way. By regularly and effectively promoting your skills and experience, you can establish yourself as a reliable and knowledgeable resource in your organization and industry at large, which in turn can lead to an increase in opportunities and greater success in your career.
But how can you do this?
Here are some tips for how to sell yourself in business.
Know Your Strengths
Nobody is going to be a better advocate for you than yourself, so it’s important to be able to identify your unique skills and expertise and be able to convey what sets you apart, to potential clients, employers and co-workers. Clearly articulating what you bring to the table establishes credibility and makes a strong impression.
To identify your strengths, start by thinking about the areas where you excel, as well as skills that come naturally to you. Consider what sets you apart from others in your industry; use this information to develop your personal brand. If you can do this well, you can set yourself up for long-term success in your career.
When you’re confident in your abilities, it comes across in the way you present yourself to others. This can have a positive impact on the impression you make in professional relationships and, ultimately, may lead to greater opportunities in your career.
To build confidence, focus on what you do well, seek out positive mentoring relationships, and be willing to take risks and put yourself out there. When you display confidence in yourself, it will wear off on others, giving them greater confidence in you as well.
Remember, confidence is a mindset, and it’s something that can be cultivated and strengthened over time.
Whether you’re looking to attract new clients, build a network for new job opportunities, advance a project in your current organization, or any number of other reasons, building strong working relationships with others will go a long way in helping you meet your goals.
To build relationships in the workplace, start by networking and connecting with others in your current organization as well as within your industry and community at large. Attend events and conferences, join professional organizations, and take advantage of online networking tools like LinkedIn. When you meet new people, focus on building genuine connections by showing interest in their work and goals.
Additionally, knowing that you might need to ask for their assistance in the future, ask new connections what you can do to help them advance their own professional goals. And don’t forget — keep in touch and follow up regularly to maintain the relationship. Strong professional relationships can give you a network of supporters who can help you succeed throughout your career.
When you’re authentic, it shows, and others will be more likely to trust you with their own professional goals. It’s important that you can show potential employers, co-workers and even prospective clients that you’re a genuine and trustworthy partner. But how can you be authentic at work, especially when you feel like you lack confidence in your ability to live up to others’ professional standards?
Start by being true to yourself and your values. This goes back to my first point — you’ve got to understand your own strengths to be confident in them. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or pretend to have skills or experience you don’t really possess.
Highlight your strengths and, crucially, be honest about your limitations. There’s value in admitting when you’re not able to deliver in a certain area. It may wind up being a learning opportunity, giving you a chance to develop new skills. But you might also have a chance to recommend someone better suited to a task, which can build your own credibility and strengthen your relationship with that person.
Additionally, be willing to share your personal story and experiences, showing vulnerability when appropriate. Authenticity will help you build stronger connections and, ultimately, find greater success in your career.
If you follow these tips, you can learn how to sell yourself in business effectively and start to build (or enhance) a successful career. Remember, the goal is not simply to promote yourself — you are trying to establish yourself as a trustworthy, knowledgeable, go-to resource. Focus on showcasing your strengths, building strong working relationships and connections across a wide network, and communicating effectively with both potential clients and current collaborators.
When you’re able to do those things well, you’ll find you’re no longer solely responsible for selling yourself — others around you will gladly help you do it, too.
Still need help knowing how to sell yourself in business to achieve your professional goals? My book, Lead, Don’t Manage, can help you know how to advance in your career — or you can book me to speak at your next personal branding and leadership event!