The Subtle Art of Selling Yourself

A couple of years ago I wrote a series of articles on salary negotiations (for women) - because I was working with a bunch of negotiation experts who were finding it challenging to negotiate great outcomes for themselves (ironically).

Right now I'm working with quite a few extremely talented advertising, marketing and communications executives - on selling the value of their work - ironically because they're struggling to sell themselves.

So if it's tough for them - don't be so hard on yourself when/if you too find it challenging!  And here are some insights to help you sell yourself far more confidently  .... and effectively.

If you want to increase your sales on the outside, you have to stop selling yourself short on the inside!
— Ungenita Prevost


The subtle art of selling yourself

We’re all selling something whether we think we are or not, whether we like it or not, or whether we want to or not.

In fact, we're pretty good at selling other people in most instances.

"This is Janine - she's great at delivering awesome. You'd be lucky to have her on your team. She's definitely a rockstar." 

However, in career advancement and leadership you're selling brand you -  and your ability to create a future that others will want to inhabit.   

"Err ..... this is me. I'm fairly good at delivering some okay sorts of results (insert nervous giggle). Last month wasn't that good actually but mostly we do great.... You should pick me. Go me!"

Yes, this tends to be far murkier water and we're frequently less skillful - unless we practice. And it all probably comes back to those hilarious, yet painful, years in the schoolyard where the sporty popular kids got picked first in the team and then the teacher had to intervene so as not to destroy the self esteem of some poor kid who would always be picked last. 

The need for subtle

For women the connotations of selling yourself are even more negative. There are lots of words that we use to shame women who don't quite get the self promotion balance right - bold, brassy and a braggart, to name just three. You don't even need a vivid imagination to recall some of the nastier terms you may have heard at the office that are sometimes used to keep ambitious women in their place. Usually followed up with a "Who does she think she is?!?"  type comment.

However, in order to level up in your career or tackle bigger leadership responsibilities you need to be able to sell yourself effectively.

So what can you do?

Over the long term there are three areas for you focus on .......

Your credibility - expertise, evidence and experience

Your influence - persuasiveness and ability to paint a picture that others prefer

Your likability - does your audience warm to, or identify with, you


Quick and easy

Or in the short term, you can simply get pitch ready. Yes, the dreaded elevator pitch. Ideal for those moments when you're caught off guard at a networking event, in a meeting, or maybe in that proverbial elevator with the boss. It's as easy as:

  1. The problems you solve - "You know when ....(insert problem)"
  2. The difference you make - "Well what I do is ... (insert 3 ways you make a difference)"
  3. The value that you deliver - "Recently, I  ...... (insert example/case study)"


Would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Drop me an email and get in contact if you want help.  

Better yet, have a crack at pitching to me with your easy 1.2.3. elevator pitch. I'll let you know how you go. 

And credit where credit is due - Antony Gaddie, a Melbourne marketing expert, was the inspiration behind the methodology.

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