The answer to finding greater success in business can begin with one question: How does the world see you?
But achieving that answer may not be simple according to Michael Jennings, president of the marketing firm MoreSALES.ca, who will lead a presentation May 8 focusing on ‘The Art of Selling Yourself.’
Part of our ongoing YIP Growth Learning Series, Jennings will tackle a variety of topics including building trust, authentic engagement and customer care.
Jennings, who for more than a decade has led a team of marketing experts in helping clients navigate an ever-changing digital marketing landscape, says it can be difficult for young professionals to ‘sell’ themselves and their ideas due to the immense amount of competition.
“There is just so much competition out there,” he says. “Smart, young well-informed professionals are often competing for the same or similar roles.”
As well, Jennings says these young professionals also face competition from more entrenched and experienced professionals.
“Add to that the competition from online,” he says, explaining that most consumers are now doing their own investigation before having any interaction with a salesperson or organization.
“Therefore, it’s critical to know your products and anticipate what shoppers are really looking for because if you don’t know, the next person does and the internet definitely does, and now you’re playing catch-up.”
Lack of preparation, says Jennings, is one of the biggest stumbling blocks people face when they try to sell themselves in the business world.
“I can’t tell you how many times I encounter a salesperson who knows little to nothing about their own products and is quickly thrown off when asked any details about their product or service,” he says, adding poor communications skills among young professionals has become an issue. “Many are well educated and well meaning, but they cannot articulate their own propositions, or stumble when facing challenging questions they can’t just look up online.”
One of the topics Jennings will touch on during his presentation centres on technology and how to use social media and traditional interactions to provide value to clients and influencers. He says the emergence of social media, particularly Linkedin, has become key when it comes to selling yourself in business.
“Employers, potential customers, and colleagues will all refer to your Linkedin profile,” says Jennings, adding it should contain a professional headshot rather than a cropped or blurry ‘holiday’ photo.
He also recommends the profile reflect the young professional’s passions and expertise, not to mention their relevant roles and education, in effort to convince a potential employer or customer they should have a conversation.
The importance of not just networking, but ‘giving back’ to a particular cause or association, will be another topic Jennings will discuss at his presentation.
“There is such competition in the market for young professionals that they need to stand out and differentiate themselves,” he says, noting volunteering for causes that reflect their passions can accomplish this. “Also, try working for companies that align with your career direction, even if it means providing contract services if no positions are available.”
The Art of Selling will take place Wednesday, May 8, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce office, 750 Hespeler Rd.