Having a successful sales career means that not only do you have to have your prospects and clients see you as a competent authority figure who they enjoy interacting with, you have to get your managers and co-workers to feel the same way. In many ways, showcasing your value to managers and co-workers is even more challenging than doing so with strangers. Self-promotion can easily be misconstrued as narcissism if you don’t know how to do it properly. Leslie K. John, writing for the Harvard Business Review, offers some advice on how to promote yourself without seeming like you’re bragging.
3 Tips for Self-Promotion
- Wait Until You’re Asked
- Compare Stories and Accomplishments
- Have Someone Else Promote You
Wait Until You’re Asked
Opportunities to share your sales experience pop up more often than you may think. In weekly or monthly review meetings with your manager, they’ll ask about how things are going and certain sales you made or are in the process of closing. You co-workers may also come to you for advice on closing their own sales by asking you about yours. These are perfect opportunities for self-promotion that won’t be looked down upon. Your managers and co-workers literally asked you to promote yourself. “Research indicates that when someone details an accomplishment in response to a direct question, others don’t judge that person as any less agreeable,” says John. In fact, refusing to promote yourself in these situations can raise suspicion among those who asked. So, go ahead, detail your accomplishments in these scenarios.
Compare Stories and Accomplishments
When you’re talking with co-workers and your managers, they’ll often share their own successes with you. This gives you an opening for self-promotion when you continue the conversation with your own success stories. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should try to one-up the other person’s accomplishment. If you undermine the other person’s accomplishment, you’ll seem like you’re bragging about your own success and that you don’t care about their story. Instead, simply congratulate the person and then bring up a similar experience that you’ve had and how you handled the situation to your benefit, as well. Everyone wins!
Have Someone Else Promote You
“Athletes, musicians, and actors hire publicists and agents for good reason,” says John. “Intermediaries are seen as less self-serving and thus provide an aura of objectivity. The same can be true in business settings.” Take performance reviews, for example. You can self-promote during those meetings, but the recommendations of others tend to hold a bit more sway over the higher-ups. Ask the co-workers you teamed up with on a recent sale to brag on your behalf to your manager. Or, when you’re swapping success stories with a co-worker, you can make a deal with them. In the next all-hands or sales team meeting, have them point out your accomplishment to the team and you can do the same for them to reciprocate.