Post by Bonnie Marcus, contributing Women On Business writer
Sales has always been one of my passions. I have held many sales positions and delivered sales training programs. Sales Training programs are great. They help people know what to do during a sales call, how to talk about features and benefits, and how to close a sale, all of which are worthwhile. But none of the sales training programs focus on how you sell yourself. We, as women, are especially sensitive about selling ourselves, about stepping into the spotlight and talking about ourselves in a positive way.
In my 20+ years of business experience, I have seen the consequences when women do not promote themselves effectively. Certainly, it is evident if you look at the percentage of females in C-suites across the country.
I have seen talented women passed over for promotions, women who were not able to secure funding to start or expand their businesses, qualified women who did not get a job interview, and women who did not make it as entrepreneurs.
Why did this happen? These women worked hard and had great skills.
In many cases, the answer comes down to this: Women do not promote themselves well.
Women are often more comfortable taking a back seat. We are more comfortable deflecting praise rather than graciously accepting the praise and taking credit for a job well done. We are more comfortable apologizing for our success than acknowledging our accomplishments.
Why is that? It goes back to our upbringing. We were taught to stay in the background, to be humble, to wait until someone notices us. We were taught that it’s not right to brag or to be pushy and aggressive. This is a part of who we are. It is a part of our belief system.
OK, now fast forward and we’re out in the business world. We know what we SHOULD do is to promote ourselves and our business. So we force ourselves to take the leap and begin to talk about ourselves in a positive manner, but it doesn’t feel quite right. It’s uncomfortable. It’s awkward and we stumble through it and it falls flat. We want people to like us and if we talk about ourselves, they won’t like us.
Wouldn’t it be better to wait until someone recognizes us for our accomplishments?
No, because good work alone is not enough. Talent and experience are not enough. We need to learn how to brag about ourselves.
How you accomplish what you do and how you go about publicizing those accomplishments are equally important.
A necessary step to learning how to effectively promote yourself is to be prepared with good information. Keep track of all of your successes and accomplishments on a daily basis. Start a journal, My Bragging Writes, and force yourself to make a daily entry. Then every week review your list of accomplishments and write out what these accomplishments say about YOU.
- Maybe you finished a project before the deadline and amazed your boss. (Wow. You are organized.)
- Maybe you made a presentation at a meeting that made a difference in the way your team thinks about an issue. (Great. You are creative and inspiring.)
- Maybe you landed an appointment with someone who has the potential to give you more business. (Way to go! You are persistent and focused.)
You get the idea, right? Start to assemble your bragging rights. Review your accomplishments on a regular basis and celebrate your successes.
Now, when you have the opportunity to promote yourself and have difficulty thinking of things to say, open up My Bragging Writes and prepare for your interview, personnel review, your sales meeting, your networking event.
Give yourself the ammunition you need. You have the right to brag!
How would you like to be interviewed for my Bragcasts? These 5-8 minute podcasts will give you the opportunity to pitch your business and brag about yourself and your business. Bragcasts will be posted on my website (www.womenssuccesscoaching.com) along with a link to your website and your pitch about your business.
Email me [email protected] if you are interested in being interviewed.