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I am amazed how many people I work with that struggle to sell themselves. They easily and confidently sell a product or service – often with the caveat that they need to believe in it to do so – but when it comes to promoting themselves it’s a different story altogether. Can you relate?
This has been particularly relevant when I have coached long term corporate career players into consulting or setting up and running their own business.
Selling Yourself – Does Introvert or Extrovert Matter?
Many try to “hide” behind the fact that they are introverts and rue not being more outwardly focused than all those louder extroverts and “people people”out there. Others reckon it’s because they were more “back office” focused in their corporate role rather than being in the thick of the “front office selling people”. (I know I used that excuse for quite a while when I transitioned from being a corporate executive to running my own business).
Reading Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” gives such a wonderful perspective on what she calls “the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”. I believe it is a must read if your work involves working with people (don’t we all?). Introverts will be so encouraged by the strengths they realize they actually bring to the table and extroverts will hopefully learn how much value there is in listening to and learning from the views held by the quiet ones.
So What’s Holding You Back From Selling Yourself?
However, irrespective of either (or both) those views, by far the most people admitting to struggle with selling yourself actually struggled with an underlying lack of confidence and often also insufficient self worth. In my book “Life learnings of a Life Coach” with it’s tagline of “what’s holding you back from raising your game?” I devote a considerable part of it towards these more prevalent type of obstacles which I call “made in the head”, and explore a range of options and approaches in dealing with those obstacles or barriers.
So if this is resonating with you, then please know that making the required changes to overcome such constraints in our thinking and in our self talk and self worth is actually much closer than you think.
Good executive life coaches can really help with these kind of obstacles holding us back. My clients that have had the biggest breakthroughs were the ones that were willing to address these. This isn’t counseling or therapy or psychology we’re talking about here. It’s exploring what we have taught ourselves to think over decades which has resulted in us unconsciously playing out certain behaviour patterns commensurate with our beliefs that we made in our heads, often in our childhood.
I have personally identified and successfully dealt with a whole bunch of those and have guided a great number of clients to do the same. We all then look back and wonder why we left it so long to actually deal with those perceived barriers. Why? Because once identified, and “let go” we could replace them with more supportive and sustainable ones and off we went towards our intended success and expectations with significantly increased confidence and results.
This usually also manifest in a significantly more confident ability to selling yourself.
This is another such situation which everybody can address, but most don’t and only very few will. And it is usually a small subset of about 5% or so that do.
What Other Factors Matter In Selling Yourself?
A supplementary factor I have learned both personally and from all the business people I have coached is the value of your track record of consistently delivering what you promised over a period of time. It is what builds credibility. It is what you are known and remembered for. It is a significant part of “who you are”. This gives great confidence, if we really believe in ourselves around this.
Building on that, one approach I have found to have assisted a lot of clients in more recent coaching sessions around this has been to focus good, solid attention to their “elevator pitch”. I know, it’s an Americanism that makes many people cringe, doesn’t it? However, what you say when you are asked: “what do you do?” is an extremely important start-up component of how you are able to sell yourself. And just as importantly as what you say, is how you say it.
I’ve always said that “what you are really saying comes out of your eyes”. It is these “vibes” that reflect the true substance of your message. If not, it’s like saying “yes” to something while inwardly or sometimes even outwardly shaking your head, or vice versa, isn’t it? So if your “pitch” comes across as weak or unconvincing, it is usually accompanied by vibes indicating a lack of belief in what you do or a lack of belief in your ability to deliver what you are “selling”.
Both those aspects incorporate the need for confidence in the delivery of and “proving substance” of what you’re about. What my clients and I have found in our recent sessions was that (in a professional sense), the greater the clarity of description of who we are through what we do, the stronger our belief in what we say comes out and the more believable the confidence with which it is articulated. (I don’t subscribe to this in the overarching sense of our life – I believe there are bigger and more meaningful pictures at play there, OK?)
Selling Yourself Via A Good Elevator Pitch
Hence we postulated that a good, solid “elevator pitch” should be no longer than 30 seconds in duration and couched in language free of any technical or business jargon. Importantly, it needs to be outlined in a manner so that a 12 year old or one’s grandmother would readily understand what it is that we do, and preferably also why.
It should easily have the listener understand who you are, what do do, why you do it and what benefit or value it adds to those you do it for or with.
This takes a while to develop and is something really worth investing lots of energy and focus on, as well as running it by a range of different people both “in and outside” of your sphere of activity. It needs to be really “polished”, but never so that it rolls off your tongue to appear as “canned”. It needs to come out as “you” and “yours”, in your own language and with strongly associated passion, that allows the other person to “feel” the authenticity and your belief in it.
We can always vary the degree of language sophistication and include relevant jargon in line with the person or people we are sharing it with.
So having said all that, please allow me to share mine, OK?
I am an executive life coach. I help business executives, business owners and business professionals raise your game. How? By believing that I can help you better understand who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing. By guiding you to identify what’s holding back your success. By holding you accountable to make the changes required for that degree of success that has been eluding you.
Simon Sinek’s very famous quote suggests that “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe“.
So what if you were to do a quick reality check for yourself? Are you where you had planned or intended to be right now? How far away are you from meeting your expectations? What is still missing for you to fulfill those intentions? What needs to happen for you to lick the obstacles holding you back?
And could it be that becoming better at more confidently selling yourself might be all that you need for an awesome breakthrough?
Will continuing to do the same and “trying harder” get you the results you aspire to? Will you be able to change what needs to change by yourself? Or are you willing to reach out for a sounding board and a thinking partner that will accompany you through the changes you know you want to make?
If you want help, what are you still waiting for? What are you afraid of?
Why not join my string of happy clients that have found and implemented their breakthroughs? Those just like you, that started their quest through contacting me, so we could leverage “Let’s Talk Coaching”?
What if you could?
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