When it comes down to it, finding a job is all about being able to sell the hiring organization on your skills and accomplishments. Once you convince them that they need you to solve their problems; you are golden. However, many don't consider how important sales skills may be within the job, too. Whether or not you are actually selling a product or service, you'll probably need to sell an idea to your manager, showcase a new initiative to your colleagues or convince your superiors that you deserve a raise or a promotion. All of these involve sales skills.
Russell Sachs, vice president of sales at Work Market, suggests that the following five sales skills are important for every job. Hone these to enhance your opportunities at work:
Listen first. Think about the people you enjoy being around. It's likely one of their personality traits is being a good listener. Sachs notes: "When it comes to workplace effectiveness, if you don't take the time to listen to your boss and colleagues before you tackle the challenge or problem, you will potentially miss the underlying areas of concern." When you fail to listen first, you may lose the opportunity to create a solution that appropriately addresses the expected outcome.
Build your network. You know sales people need to constantly consider their networks. Unfortunately, many careerists ignore this key aspect of their job because maintaining a network isn't always top-of-mind for non-sales professionals. Be proactive at work and build relationships before you need to rely on them to help you accomplish a work goal or land a promotion. Don't forget to build a network of people who know, like and trust you both inside and outside of your workplace. When it comes time to land a new job, you'll rely on those outside contacts to help you successfully navigate to a new role.
Sachs suggests you consider trade shows, industry events and meetups an important part of your professional development.
Be diligent. We know that sales people need to be tenacious and keep up with their prospects in order to be top-of-mind. This skill is equally valuable for anyone in the workforce. "Showing up on time for meetings (or even a few minutes early), being prepared for the task at hand, knowing your business inside and out and bringing new ideas will set you apart from your peers," Sachs says.
It's a point well taken. Everyone knows someone at work who's just getting by, doing the minimum necessary to keep the paychecks coming. However, just as someone is unlikely to buy a product or service from someone who does not impress them, if you don't go the extra mile at work, you'll lose out on opportunities to advance.
Communicate effectively. Communication is probably the most important workplace skill. Whether you're communicating in person, on the phone or via text, email or social media, it's crucial to demonstrate that you have a command of the situation and can present effective solutions. Sachs suggests speaking slowly and confidently to help deliver your points with passion and enthusiasm. He reminds professionals to double check their writing for confidence-killing grammar and spelling errors. You may be surprised by how important these small steps can be when it comes to winning at work.
Maintain your personal brand. We don't have much more than our reputations when it comes to getting ahead. People want to buy from those they believe to be trustworthy and knowledgeable and from companies that offer high quality and innovation. Sachs notes: "The same is true when it comes to the workplace - your colleagues and superiors will give you more responsibility if they view you as someone they can count on, especially if you establish yourself as a credible authority." How can you enhance your reputation? Maintain a professional social media stream, be a good listener, work diligently, grow your professional network and communicate clearly, correctly and confidently. When you combine all of these tips, you'll be well prepared to meet any challenge at work.
Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer, and owner of Keppie Careers. She is author of Social Networking for Career Success and 100 Conversations for Career Success. Miriam teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to incorporate social media tools along with traditional strategies to reach their goals.
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