Advancing Associations

How To Sell Yourself – Part 15 min read

Coaching4CareersAuthor: Coaching4Careers


Posted on: 20th May 2016

Mark Moore (@MisterMarkMoore) helps businesses generate more revenue quickly and sustainably by aligning and accelerating the sales performance of their technical sales, non-sales and sales people. Find out more at www.HelpPeopleBuy.com.


When you need to sell yourself as the right person to do business with or hire, there is one question above all others on the mind of your buyer that they will answer about you, no matter how you come across. Of course, if the fit between you and the opportunity you are exploring is right, then you’ll want your buyer to realise this.

To increase your chances, it pays to know and understand that golden question, and to know how to position yourself accordingly.

So what’s the golden question?

Are YOU the sort of person who is highly likely to effectively help me get what I want whilst avoiding the (increasing) risks and costs I don’t want, in my career/personal life (or in this specific situation)?

…and how sure am I of this?

OK, here’s the break down of the question:

‘…Are YOU the Sort of Person…?’

Whatever you are selling, YOU are momentarily part of that package. It’s possible, even likely, that you are more of the package than you realise.

Everything you say or do either moves you towards or away from the sale. Whilst I don’t agree that ‘to be liked’ is a prerequisite for being able to sell (many people think it is, but I bought a house that I loved, by the beach, from someone I definitely did not like) it is true that being likable is often a desirable trait when selling.

So, your buyer has an idea of the sort of person they would like to move forwards with. Trustworthy and customer caring are two common traits they are looking for. And they will constantly assess you against their image of what that looks like.

‘…Who is Highly Likely…’

Their decision and everything you do to help them make it is all based on theory. It’s about increasing your chances. The more you can demonstrate the fit between not just the results and value you can potentially provide them, but also the personality traits that you have that matter most to them, their certainty goes up.

If you saw the Brad Pitt movie “Moneyball” about the Oakland Athletics baseball team, you’ll know what I mean about certain proven traits and behaviours being good indicators of future success.

You sell yourself when you increase your buyer’s certainty.

‘…To Effectively…’

In today’s phenomenal pace of change, buyers and hirers often realise that they don’t necessarily want the ‘best’ or the perfect person. They don’t have time to find them. They usually want someone who is good enough to do the job.

However, they do want that job done effectively! There’s a difference between someone who can deliver, and someone who can deliver effectively, so you’ll need to somehow convince them that you have what it takes to do that.

You sell yourself when you are effective.

‘…Help Me Get What I Want…’

You are exploring serving them, to deliver the value you’ve agreed upon. The important hidden twist here is that every human being wants a whole lot more than is obvious and a whole lot more than they actually tell you. We’re not robots (yet).

Making a business or employment decision might appear to be all about business, but it rarely is just about business.

In fact, I’d argue that there is always (100%) the emotional human element that creeps in to people’s decisions.

Decision makers want to strive to achieve their business objectives, for various reasons that are important to them. But they also have other desires that may swing their decision. Sometimes people ultimately want more power, praise, or just to simply look good.

You sell yourself when you can help people get not just what they say they want, but what they really want.

‘…Whilst Avoiding the (Increasing) Risks and Costs I Don’t Want…’

In selling yourself, whether you are competing against the status quo (selling the idea of changing) or competing against your direct competitors (the buyer knows they want to change, they just want to explore who is best going to help them), you are always competing against perceived risk.

And this level of risk can increase over time, or as external influences change. Buyers want someone who will avoid or reduce risk to their decision.

They don’t want their business or personal life threatened and they certainly don’t want to create new headaches and frustrations.

You sell yourself when you can demonstrate that you’ll minimise the risks that matter to them.

‘…In my Career, Personal Life (Or in This Specific Situation)?’

All three of these matter. They are connected. Even those who think you can leave your personal life at home will find that their own business and career decisions are influenced by their personal life too. And our personal lives are clearly impacted by our professional decisions. Human beings have certain needs, desires, values, worldviews, beliefs, hopes, dreams and fears.

Yeah, that’s right, when you sell yourself, you have to sell yourself in to that lot! Good luck!

This part of the question is to remind you of this fact. You are not just selling yourself into a business situation, or an isolated personal situation. You are selling yourself into a part of the buyer’s business, career and life. So treat that with great respect and act accordingly.

And How Sure Am I Of This?

The second part of this question is to remind you that your buyer will continuously notice you and your approach. And it may swing the decision either way. They are looking (and double checking) for more certainty. We know that trust is hard to gain, and easy to lose so be good.

You sell yourself when you drive this feeling they have home.

In part 2, I’ll give you a practical framework to follow to actually implement this. It will help you to develop a plan of attack to sell yourself into just about any situation you need to.

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Coaching4CareersAuthor: Coaching4Careers
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