Sell yourself if you want to get ahead

More than what you are trying to promote, it is your personality that will determine your fate.

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A There is plenty of marketing advice out there that suggests the best ways to sell your product. But what they often do not highlight is how selling yourself the right way sells your business. Yes, that is correct.

This is probably some of the best advice I received in my entire life. It was a while back, when I was sitting across the desk from my previous director. Aside from him being my director at work, I considered him to be a mentor, and we were having one of those afternoons where we discussed life and our aspirations. He asked me what my real passion in life was, and I told him it was creation, to be able to create meaningful content, be it a good article, or a fashion cloth that made a difference to people’s lives.

He gave me a long stare and then said that in order to do that, to be that life-changing person I aspired to be, I have to always keep in mind that I am the product I am selling. I cannot deny that I was not shocked at his statement. I mean, what did that have to do with becoming a renowned writer for instance? He then went on to explain that since I am the person behind my creations, my writing pieces, or marketing work, then that is what I needed to sell to people.

My director’s advice shuffled in my head for days later. What he said was absolutely true. I tune in to most of the business blogs I follow because of their writers and not because of specific content on there. I feel a connection with the writer, and that we are in sync on some level and that is what makes me a dedicated follower of their blog.

Which brings us to this: if you want you or your business to succeed, someone has to buy what you’re selling: yourself. What you do matters a little versus who you are. You will always be the product. As long as you want to keep achieving your goals, you will never have to stop selling.

Look at this way: How do politicians get elected? By selling their personality. How does person X keep getting promoted in their organisation? Work performance matters, but his/her personality matters more. It does not matter who your audience is, you will have to sell yourself to them.

If you are selling yourself well, everything will be easier from there. Just like with a job interview and a promotion, people will hire and promote you based on how you sell yourself. The places you go in your career and life will highly depend on how you sell yourself to those in power.

Which probably makes you wonder how you can sell yourself in order to sell your business.

Just like any good salesperson, you need to know your product like the back of your hand. You need to know your potential and what you can offer.

This goes beyond your work experience and talents that make you stand out from the crowd. What is your essence? What inspires you and makes you come alive? Knowing the answers to these questions is vital because you cannot sell a product if you do not how to sell it. If you cannot convince people about what is the unique aspect you bring to the table, then you will only go so far.

It is not about being confident, but about your identity and what makes you stand out from the crowd. Your passion and confidence in what you do as you are trying to sell it to your client is what will make them confident in you as well. Some people strongly believe in themselves, that it is contagious to those around them.

Which takes us to knowing your audience. Individuals naturally connect with like-minded individuals. That is why you are friends with your friends, because you have a certain connection. It is not so different in business. Selling yourself and products will be much easier when done with likeminded people.

Research your audience, and know what they need. Build on that and see what you can do to help fill that void. If you do not find that need, you will not be able to sell.

It will not be an easy ride and you need to be ready to hear many negatives. However do not let fear and doubt impede your journey. Talking about this is simple, but actually only a few people are successful at selling themselves. The key is to know yourself, know your audience and not let anything hold you down.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer based in Abu Dhabi. Follow her on Twitter: @manar_alhinai