More than 99% of people hate to “sell” themselves. OK, maybe that's not a scientific fact, but it isn't far from the mark.
Yet, in all walks of life, effective self-promotion is essential. It's particularly critical when you are looking for a new job or, if self-employed, seeking to attract new clients.
The good news is that by actively managing the way you represent your skills and your achievements, you can boost your chances of getting ahead.
The problem is that far too many people focus on the “label” they inhabit, or the process they undertake, rather than the result that the employer (or customer) is actually buying:
I'm a marketing consultant…a sales rep…an advertising manager.
Sound familiar? There is a solution.
Your personal value proposition (PVP) is the key to selling yourself more effectively. It summarises who you are, what you do, and most importantly, the value you provide to your employer or customers.
A good PVP is made up of two distinct parts. The first sets the scene and gets your audience interested. The second closes the deal.
Consider these questions:
- What are my customers/employers really “buying” from me?
- Why are they buying it from me, and not from someone else?
These “thought starters” may help:
- Think back to the last three times you were hired for a prestigious job or major customer assignment. Why do you think you were the successful candidate?
- If you've ever been invited to speak to a work group, conference or other function, on what topic did you speak? Why do you think you were selected?
- If you've ever received awards or other accolades, what were they for? Again, why do you think you were chosen?
Now let's work through an example using my own PVP.
Part 1. Sets the scene and gets your audience interested
Robyn Haydon is a gifted business communicator working primarily with companies in business-to-business and industrial markets who aren't winning as much business as they deserve to.
Let's deconstruct this statement and identify the key messages behind it:
“Robyn Haydon is a gifted business communicator”positions my skill base.
“working primarily with companies in business to business and industrial markets”gives a broad outline of my industry experience and knowledge.
“who aren't winning as much business” shows that I work on improving sales results.
“as they deserve to”is the final hook that demonstrates your belief in your ability to achieve results—and, in my case, also my belief in my customers' businesses and their ability to transform their sales.
Now try writing four phrases that describe you:
- Your skill base—the type of work you do or services you offer
- Your industry experience and knowledge base
- Your focus and the value you add for your customers/employer
- The final hook that demonstrates your belief in your ability to achieve results
Part 2. Close the deal
Companies that Robyn has worked with have won hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of new business.
This is your killer achievement statement. It's probably the most critical part of your value proposition, but it's the hardest for most of us to write.
Draw from your research. What did your customers or colleagues say about you? Which of your achievements do they recall best? What do people value the most about your work or services?
Try writing your own killer achievement statement. Get feedback and keep working on it until it really zings.
Finally, put both parts together and keep editing until you've got a concise and compelling PVP that shows you to best advantage.
A Final Word
Effective self-promotion is critical. But most of us aren't entirely comfortable with the concept.
Working through the exercises in this article will build your confidence and help you see that selling doesn't have to be hard. You are the product. And when you've got a good one, how can you go wrong?
By now, you should be in possession of a concise and compelling personal value proposition. But if you're still struggling, consider calling in an expert. A broader perspective on your life and achievements might be just what you need to achieve a great result.
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