How to sell yourself better (7 tips)

Psst: I’ve moved. Visit me here Maybe the new blog will be for you. Maybe not.

So from running a non profit to business to meeting new people to successful  interviews etc  I thought I should share some tips I have learnt in selling myself. This is going to be one of the longer posts but it will have as much value.

First of all why sell yourself? 

When I talk about selling yourself, I don’t mean anything flaky or sleazy, I simply mean letting people see how awesome you are.

People have limited time, their own needs and so no matter how awesome you are, you may have just a short window of opportunity to leave a good first impression that can make or break an opportunity. In that sense we are always selling ourselves whether it is to get into school, to get a promotion, to get an idea going, to get a cause started, to get a proposal approved, to get a date, get a friend, get a mentor, to get support for a cause etc.

Good thing is now the barriers to entry are so low- you can make a difference or connect with people just sitting behind a computer. However since the barriers to entry are low, you also need to be able to stand out.  Here are some tips on doing that.

1) See yourself/cause/business/idea from the other person’s perspective

 A lot of times I have made the mistake of seeing things from my own perspective only.

For example, for our non-profit start-up, we first started off writing things very technically, forgetting that not everyone had the same technical background as we did or as much time. Eventually we learnt to write things not just from our perspective but in a way that it was easily accessible to others.

This applies to your idea, or cause or during your interview. You want to make sure that you are not caught up in your little world but take some time to put your third party hat on- what do your customers need? What does this person need from your services? What are they looking for and how can you make things easier for them?

This changes the way you communicate your story.  It makes you want to keep things clear and simple. It also makes you communicate from the stance of how the other person can benefit from what you have to offer instead of just how good you are.

People care more about themselves no matter how amazing you are and when you focus on their needs you are in a better position to get your point across.

2) What is the story behind the story?

The person who tells the best story gets to write history. Stories give us meaning and hope and help us understand. Our whole lives are a conglomeration of stories that lead up to who we are today, and when we are selling ourselves people want to know not just the facts and figures but ‘Why’?

Why is this important to you? What’s the heart behind the fact?

If you are really doing anything worthwhile to you I am sure you have a ‘Why’.

Perhaps you can wear it on your sleeve more often.

3) Add value

Why should someone have you in their life? On their twitter feed? Facebook friend? In their inbox? In their company?

How are you going to make someone’s life better for meeting you? Or from reading your posts?

Making yourself an asset to others means you actually have to make a choice to add value to people’s lives every where you go. Be an asset, be an uplifter, be a blessing everywhere you go. When you see something of value, share with people. When creating a good or service, make sure to go above and beyond in adding value to people’s lives. See yourself as an asset and a creator not just someone who is here to use the earth’s resources unnoticed and then go away. Let this change the way you interact on social media and in real life.

4)  Big picture thinking

Our culture operates on trust. And as you move further in a transaction whether financial, emotional etc people will keep unconsciously wondering, can I let you in? Can I trust you to deliver if I make a commitment? If you are taking people further along the commitment hoops can they come through and trust you to guide them without red flags going off here and there?

Whenever you are presented with any opportunity, always think about the big picture.

Instead of thinking sale, think building relationship. Instead of thinking customers think about how you can build a community around this shared experience or story or cause or product. Instead of thinking manipulating people into a sale think understanding people so much that they want to announce you and share your amazing work.

Be someone that cares.

5) Farm don’t hunt 

I was listening to a podcast on social media examiner where they talk about being a farmer instead of a hunter. A hunter just goes out in the wild to hunt game but the farmer takes the time to plant, water, watch, wait before harvesting. Same thing with our relationships. You don’t just want to go collecting things from people even when you have not invested in the relationship. Instead nurture relationships, be a friend, care about people and their dreams and goals and at the right time they will be more than happy to be there for you.

6) Be comfortable in your own skin

When I had an interview recently where they were going to select like 4 candidates out of over a hundred applicants, something in me told me I would get the opportunity. I felt like one of the key reasons why I would get it was I was just myself. I was able to see the people evaluating me as just ordinary people- I didn’t over inflate them or underestimate them. They were just people like me- imperfect but amazing – and I didn’t have to pretend or be nervous, I just had to be myself and connect to my heart.

No one is asking you to be all glossed up or perfect but you do have to be comfortable with yourself. One thing that helps is to see everyone as human. We are all special but don’t need to be overhyped or undervalued. You are just as amazing as your boss or whoever is evaluating you, and you can be yourself so you can connect with your heart instead of being nervous.

7) Have you noticed? 

Selling yourself is not really about you. Selling yourself is about being human and genuinely serving others.

Here are links to some people I have learnt a lot from in communicating better and serving others better. I will add to the list as I remember.

More resources: Michael Stelzner, Sandi Krakowski, Montina Portis, Seth Godin

Do you have any more tips? Do share below, and if you found this useful then be nice and share with your friends 😛

How to be popular in three steps

I have a confession to make. Initially when I started this blog, it was just for me and a few good friends to have fun. Eventually I started getting a few views and likes and I thought, ‘wow people must be liking something here’.

Then I started checking my stats and then guess what? Sometimes when I didn’t get as many views I would be a bit disappointed. So one of my confidantes told me, ‘Ok you are not allowed to check your stats for the next couple of days.’

Sounds vain? Well we all have our moments don’t we? From checking the Facebook likes to twitter follows etc. At first its fun then it traps you.

We know that being popular on its own is not necessarily the most fulfilling thing in life but there is actually nothing wrong with being popular so if you want to be popular, keep reading.

How to be popular.

1. First of all identify your strengths and values.

What are those things that bring you alive? What are those things that satisfy your soul and bring life to you instead of leaving you drained? For me, some of my values and strengths are creativity, adventure, contribution and growth. You can only learn these by being a student of your own life- by being open to diverse life experiences and seeing how they inspire, challenge, depress, grow you etc

Values cut across many things. For example,  my need for adventure might surface in my love for new experiences and also might surface in my desire to not be told what to do or think but rather come to my own conclusions myself.

My value for contribution shows in how I like to be of help to a friend and also to share my lessons learned with others. So you see they might look different but at the root of it all you will see common patterns that show you the things that really make you feel fulfilled and in the absence of which you feel stifled.

When you are trying to figure out what to do with your limited time, you can have a more fulfilling time/career/hobby by finding the use of your time and skills that helps you express those things you are strong at and value.

2. Grow your strengths 

Now that you have identified the things that make you come alive, you want to work on them so that you build your confidence and proficiency. Growing implies constant learning. You already have the advantage of interest so you keep building these over time in a very disciplined fashion. When you work on your strengths, you build your self-esteem, you expand your comfort zone and you have more to offer to others.

Not only that, as you put your best foot forward with your strengths, you don’t just attract people for the sake of attracting people, but you make genuine connections that cut both ways. They say you are the average of the 5 people you spend your time with. So imagine that you begin to grow in your strengths, guess the people who you will be surrounded with? People who are also strong and value those your gifts.

3. Be a giver

While you are at it, you want to give as much as possible. The more you give, the more that comes back to you. When you learn, share. Sharing not only helps you to absorb the lesson you have learnt, it also helps you open your world to more people and to step out of your comfort zone. If you are good at connecting with people, instead of connecting with other people just for your personal network, you can help connect other people who may have common interests. As you use your skills generously, you build them, you learn more, you work on your weaknesses and guess what you have become? A person of value.

The best way to be popular is to be a person of value. Why?

First of all, when you are a person of value, you can always gain whatever you lose. For example if you become sharpen your entrepreneurial drive, even if you lose all your money, it is a matter of time before it comes back to you. If you are great with people and you happen to lose all your contacts because you just moved, it is a matter of time before you meet other amazing people. When you become a person of value, your popularity is not superficial because it is not dependent on others- you know who you are, you are confident in it, and by virtue of who you are you will always keep attracting what you need. When you become a person of value, people are drawn to you, you don’t have to force it.

So instead of getting excited about spikes in page views (that is for mediocre people 😉 ) I want to be a person of value because that way I have more fun, both of us grow together and it is a win-win.

Confession done : )