Sales. Is. Everywhere.
Convincing someone else of your way of thinking and coming across as an expert (without being snobby about it) is not just a businessperson skill.
Selling yourself is critical for any situation where you need to persuade someone else that you or your opinion are the best way forward.
Sales isn’t just doorknocking…
- Forget the age-old association that sales is just buying and selling products. It’s come a long way from chipper salesmen flogging insurance door-to-door. It’s not just about telemarketing. It’s everywhere, and learning how to sell – not just sell things, but sell yourself – is how you can get ahead.
- Job interviews
- Creating partnerships with other companies
- Selling your product/service as a brand owner
- Convincing a client of the best way forward
- Applying to rent a new property
Sales skills are NOT just for salespeople – we can all do with a crash course in selling ourselves. But what does it look like to sell yourself? We can’t all be schmoozing car salesmen, but there are ways to bump up our people skills and give our self-confidence levels a boost, regardless of how not-confident you feel now.
CONFIDENCE IS KEY
While this may be true, self-confidence does not come naturally to the majority of us.
A 2021 survey of 2,000 UK adults found that:
- 60% of men and nearly two thirds of women are not confident in their ability to do their job
- 62% of women and 50% of men don’t consider themselves intelligent
A separate study found that the term ‘Imposter Syndrome’ was searched 700,000 times in the space of a year. So, if you’re questioning your ability to do your job, you’re not alone!
The good news is that self-confidence is a bit like a muscle. With training and practice, you can build it up until believing in yourself and your skill set comes as easy as taking a breath. Here are our confidence work-out tips:
- We tend to be really hard on ourselves when we see others doing well. But let’s be real – there will ALWAYS be someone who is more successful than we are. Stay in your lane and focus on your achievements. When you’re constantly hyping up your own successes, confidence will follow.
Fake it ’till you make it
- A common enough phrase, but let us tell you – it WORKS. Just acting more confidently can actually trick your brain into feeling more confident. Try things like smiling more, dressing for success and utilising open, inviting body language.
Practice makes perfect
- Start placing yourself in more situations that have the potential to make you doubt yourself. By continually embracing these situations, you’re flexing that confidence muscle and making it stronger for the next time you need it. Only by putting ourselves in uncomfortable and vulnerable situations can we learn and grow as people.
THE ART OF NEGOTIATION
Selling yourself will inevitably require a fair bit of negotiation. Whether it’s negotiating for more pay or finding a happy medium that a client is willing to pay for services, having good negotiating skills will always come in handy. Here are our tips:
Focus on the relationship
- At its centre, negotiating is about relationships. When the other party respects you, you’re much more likely to have a smooth negotiation and win their trust.
- Don’t walk into a negotiation thinking that you’re going to get everything you want. Do the work to understand what the other party wants, get creative, and make it clear that you’re on the same team. Good negotiations mean both parties are walking away with a win.
Be an adult
- Negotiations can be a melting pot of emotions. If you notice the other party beginning to think or behave a little childishly, be the respectful adult at the table. If you’re keeping your emotions in check, the other party will likely come back to their senses soon enough.
MAKE THEM LIKE YOU
Now, we know that no matter what you do, not everyone is going to like you. That’s okay. We can’t control that. What we can do is make sure that we’re coming across as genuine and friendly as possible.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie offers plenty of tips on how to do this, including:
- Don’t criticise or complain
- Remember their name
- Acknowledge your mistakes
- Take a genuine interest in the other person
- Be generous with praise
- Don’t be afraid to turn on the charm
These are really simple tips, but something as little as remembering that their dog’s name is Dimples will let the person know that you were listening and genuinely interested in them – not just interested in what they can do for you.
MIRROR THEIR ACTIONS
Mirroring is a sales tactic that involves copying your partner’s gestures, posture or tone. It’s mostly done unconsciously – have you ever been having a coffee with a friend and suddenly noticed you’re both leaning forward, resting your head on your hand? This behaviour is often used by salespeople to gain trust and be more likeable. However, mirroring only works if the other person doesn’t realise you’re doing it. If they do… well, you’ll come off a bit creepy.
Here’s what you do:
- Listening is priority #1 – you need to establish the connection first
- Nod your head when appropriate
- Dip your toes in the water by matching their vocal tone/pace
- Experiment with subtly matching their gestures and posture – this needs to look natural!
LABEL THE EMOTIONS
Negotiations can often cause a lot of emotions to bubble up, so it’s important to address them in a calm, controlled way. Labelling the emotions essentially means you identify how the other person/party is feeling and state this out loud.
This might look like, “It sounds like you’re really passionate about this, but it also seems like you’re anxious about getting this decision wrong.”
Labelling never begins with “I”, and always centres the other party’s emotions. By doing this, they’ll feel understood and you’re going to build a lot of trust.
All in all, sales tactics are just very handy life skills. So, if you didn’t get the confidence gene and the thought of selling yourself makes you break out in hives, all is not lost. Self-confidence, negotiation, communication and basic sales techniques can all be taught, as long as you’re willing to put in the work and practise.
Megaphone, Australia’s #1 Social Media Agency, has tripled in size in just 2 years because of our unique and dedicated focus on self-development and constantly learning – about sales, communication, and so much more.