You may have no interest in sales. You may be a lawyer (like me) and decide this article does not apply to you, but selling yourself is a fundamental skill that everyone, in any line of work, must learn to do. Keep in mind, you are your own best advocate. No one will ever sell you as a candidate like you can sell yourself. The lesson here is that if you can convince someone to believe in your skills and your capabilities, they will take a chance on you.
You might be thinking, “I am really not capable of this,” but you are. Take charge of your career and put yourself in the drivers seat. Don’t depend on others to do what you can do better. First, take a step back and think about all the qualities that make you right for a particular job. Once you believe in what you are selling (yourself in this case), the rest comes easy. When preparing for an interview, here are some things to ponder, the basics of sales 101 that can advance your career:
Make a list of your strengths and start thinking about how they will help you succeed in the position you are seeking.
2. Give examples
Think of specific examples of how your skill set makes you the perfect candidate for the job. You can even use examples from your current or past positions.
3. Prepare questions
Make a list of intelligent questions you will ask during the interview that demonstrate interest. When you have ﬁnished outlining these questions, take the time to think about what their possible answers might be and how you can respond. You want to be prepared for every aspect of the interview.
4. Demonstrate conﬁdence
Managers want to hire someone conﬁdent and capable. Even if this is your very ﬁrst interview, you want to come across as someone who is capable of rising to the challenge. Think back to the list you made. Take the time to really highlight your strengths and work them into the conversation, even if you are not directly asked to discuss them. For instance, when you are being told what the job entails, ﬁnd an opportunity to explain how your particular strengths make you a perfect candidate for this position.
5. Be honest, never pushy
No one likes to buy something from someone who is pushy. You want to buy from someone trustworthy. Don’t go overboard trying to demonstrate how great you are, because it may appear disingenuous. Instead, just be honest. When speaking about yourself, use specific examples of prior accomplishments to help demonstrate your abilities. This way you are actually supporting your arguments with facts.
6. Demonstrate the features and benefits
Features tell, benefits sell. Showing the features and benefits of a product is the best way to showcase how valuable it will be to a buyer. Use the list you have created to demonstrate the features you have that will benefit the company and make you the perfect person for the job.
7. Close the sale
Close the sale by asking questions and demonstrating true interest. Ask thoughtful questions in an interview that demonstrate you have done your research. You can even bring your questions with you. You want to prove you took this interview seriously. Review your list of questions at the end of the interview and make sure you didn’t forget anything, this is perfectly acceptable and shows you are thorough.
Getting a job is difficult. You are competing against quality candidates and you need to make yourself stand out. Learning to sell yourself effectively will help you to do this. Once you have this down, you are ten steps ahead. Good luck and happy selling!
Have a story about how strong sales skills helped you land a job? Need some advice on how to beef up your salesmanship? Share with us in the comments!
Ask Levo Mentor Bonnie McDaniel, Founder of Women are Talking Initiative, how her sales experience contributed to her diverse career!