Earlier this week, I posted “She Got the Promotion. You Didn’t. Here’s Why.”
One reason I suggested you may get passed over for a promotion is if you’re not selling yourself.
“You forgot to sell you at work,” I wrote. “She sold herself like a pro and the boss bought it.”
In response, one of my Twitter followers, Natalia, tweeted, “@iamsusannah How do you sell yourself? Teach us!”
I’ve always been good at selling myself. Why? I’m not sure.
Because I figured no one else would. Because I’m a natural born hustler. Because I’ve spent a fair amount of my career hanging around pimps, prostitutes, and porn stars, and, boy, do they know how to sell themselves.
Here’s how you can sell yourself — at work, in life, to the world.
TIP #1: It’s not you, it’s “you.”
One of the biggest challenges for those who are selling-themselves challenged is an inability to separate who they truly are from who they are as a product. There’s you — imperfect, conflicted, fallible — and then there’s the “you” you’re selling — awesome, cool, superhuman.
Don’t sell yourself well? Think of “you” as a superhero version of yourself. Make a list of your best qualities. Dress the way SuperYou would dress. Talk the way SuperYou would talk. Be SuperYou. Role play. It’s a part. Experiment. This is play.
When I used to be on TV, I would get very nervous beforehand. Then I would think about how I only had to be “Susannah Breslin,” not Susannah Breslin, for 22 minutes on a half-hour TV show, if you subtract the time they need to run the commercials. I can be my idealized self for 22 minutes. That’s how it starts.
TIP #2: Annoy others.
It’s not enough to just be. There’s too much competition. You need to network, communicate, and engage with people as the “you” you want to be, and you won’t get there by hiding.
Recently, I heard about a job opening. It would be a very cool job working with a very cool group of people. The situation gave me the opportunity to suggest anybody for the position. I suggested one person.
It was the person who had annoyed me the most.
I’ve known her for about a year, and it was because she kept bugging me, kept sending me emails, kept reaching out to me — and, in doing so, selling herself to me — that she was the only person who came to mind and the only person I suggested.
This is stupid. Because I have 4,000 followers on Twitter, and I have a blog on Forbes.com, and there should be way more people who I should have been able to suggest. But because she was the only who waspersistent, she was the only one I suggested.
She is young. She is a millennial. She gets it.
TIP #3: Be a unicorn.
People try to sell themselves, their products, and their services to me all the time. Mostly, they do this through emails. I would say 99% of them do it wrong.
They pitch dull ideas, uninteresting products, unoriginal versions of themselves. They think they’re adding a new spin, or a groundbreaking product, or a forward-thinking service, but it’s the same old thing.
One thing that’s great about the internet is that it’s a marketplace where anyone can sell anything. One thing that sucks about the internet is that this digital marketplace gives everyone the opportunity to hawk their crap.
You want to be a freelance writer? Wow, nobody’s tried that before. You have some new app that’s like five others before it? Congratulations. You’re working with an expert in a field wherein better experts already exist? I fell asleep reading the first sentence of your lame pitch.
Be a unicorn.
What is original? What is unique? What does it mean to be a unicorn? Find something nobody else is doing. Create something that did not exist previously. Be that new chimera the rest of us are too afraid to dream is real.
BONUS TIP: I wrote this post and this post the same day I did chemo. What’s your excuse? Stop thinking about all the reasons you can’t start today and just get started.
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