Do you feel invisible at work?
You slog your guts out, you produce great work, and you follow all of the rules all of the time. You’re reliable. You’re a team player, and you’re everything anyone could possibly want in an employee.
But no one notices.
You’re not alone. Over half of employees feel exactly the same. Feeling unappreciated at work is disheartening, depressing, and downright disastrous for your career.
But, before you throw the towel in and look for another job elsewhere – there’s something you can do to change this.
Learn how to sell.
Unless you’re in sales, what’s selling got to do with climbing the career ladder at work?
Selling techniques aren’t only for salespeople, as you’ll soon find out…
Why you need to learn how to sell
I was doing my weekly food shop last week. I had my shopping list, I knew what I needed to buy, and I was in the zone.
I was in the bread aisle, picking up my usual loaf of sliced white when I heard a voice say:
“I can save you money”
Like most people, I love a bargain. So, of course, I followed the voice.
I rounded the corner and found a man, standing behind a table filled with freshly baked bread.
His eyes locked with mine, and he smiled confidently. He clocked the loaf of bread in my trolley and said:
“A loaf of homemade bread will cost you 66% less than that loaf will.”
And with that, he pulled out a bread machine from under his table.
He started to tell me the benefits that this bread machine would give me: “Delicious tasting loaves that would contain less sugar, fewer additives, and cost you a third of the price of a shop-bought loaf of bread.”
And then he somehow read my mind.
He preempted my worries about the time, effort, and hassle it would take to bake bread each week, and he swiftly alleviated them: “It only needs five ingredients, it would take 5 minutes to prepare, and I could put it all in the dishwasher.“
I was sold.
I walked into that supermarket with no intention of buying a bread machine. But, thanks to this salesman’s super-slick sales skills, I walked out with one.
He got what he wanted: a sale.
I got what I wanted: a bread machine (…before I even realized I wanted one).
Do you see my point?
Right now, your boss probably has no intention of giving you a pay rise, or a promotion, or a big bonus. It’s not on their radar. But, if you can develop some super-slick sales skills, you could walk away with exactly what you want. And so could your boss, they just don’t know it yet!
See yourself as a salesman, your boss as the customer, and start selling yourself to get what you want at work.
But how do you ‘sell yourself’?
What better way to learn how to sell than from the people that do it, and do it well, on a daily basis.
Follow these three tried and tested sales tips, and you’ll have your boss eating out of your hand in no time.
Tip #1: If you don’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else?
As we’ve established, your boss doesn’t seem to notice how hard you work or what you achieve.
Why is that?
Because they’re in the same boat as you. Working as hard as they can to get noticed by their boss. They don’t see your achievements because their focus is elsewhere.
So, grab their attention!
Getting yourself noticed is your responsibility, not your boss’s, and confidence is the key to making them sit up and take notice.
In sales, people buy from confident people because confidence gets you noticed and it builds trust.
“Customers and prospects will immediately trust a salesperson if they are confident and knowledgeable.” – Brooks Group
The same applies to your boss. They’re more likely to hear what you’re saying, and believe it if you’re full of confidence.
But, confidence can be hard to come by, especially if you’re feeling undervalued at work.
Use these four confidence-building tips, taken from the top salespeople, and start feeling confident about what you’re achieving at work:
- Find your strengths, work on them, and talk about them with conviction.
Think about your daily tasks. What do you enjoy? What gives you a sense of pride? What do you think you’re good at?
For instance, you might find you’re good at running customer success reports. So, talk about them in your 121’s. Volunteer to take on other reports. Find reporting efficiencies and bring them to your boss. Become an expert in reports and make yourself the go-to person for reporting.
- Pay attention to your body language.
Stand tall, pull your shoulders back, and don’t fidget. Imagine there’s a piece of string pulling your head upwards. You’ll be amazed at how these subtle changes in your body language can make you feel (and look) that little bit more confident.
- Surround yourself with positive, motivated people.
In every workplace, there are people who, after one conversation, can make you feel like a million dollars. It’s as if you can conquer anything! But, there are also others who can unknowingly make you feel quite worthless, incompetent, and inadequate. Spend time with people who pep you up, not bring you down.
- Follow processes.
When I feel under-confident, imposter syndrome creeps in and I start to doubt everything I do. To combat this, I’ve started to follow processes. For example, in a previous role, I had to complete regular internal audits. It was an important job, it felt incredibly pressured, and it was easy for small mistakes to creep in, unnoticed. I’d spend days leading up to these audits worrying about my competence. Until I discovered processes. I built myself an audit task process, I worked my way through it each time I conducted an audit, and I never worried about mistakes again. Not only did it do wonders for my confidence, but it also gave other people confidence in me.
Act like a salesperson and be confident. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else?
Tip #2: You’ll only get what you want when you know what you want
If your boss turned to you and said: “Tell me what you want and you can have it.”
What would you say?
More money? A promotion? A company car? A bigger bonus? Recognition?
Do you even know?!
If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never get it.
“Without a clear destination, you risk rambling along, wasting time and missing opportunities.” – Lead Forensics
Good sales reps always set themselves goals to give themselves the drive and focus to go out and get what they want.
But I’m not talking about the age-old, classic, SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goals here.
I’m talking about HARD goals.
HARD goals should be:
- Heartfelt: If you care about something, you’ll naturally become more motivated to achieve it. So make sure you set yourself a goal that means something to you.
For example, although it isn’t work-related, one of my goals is to run a marathon. This goal is heartfelt because a relative, who’s a keen marathon runner, was knocked off her bicycle a few months ago and broke her back in three places. Thankfully she’s ok, and she will eventually be able to run again, but I decided to run a marathon for her, in her honor. It means a lot to me, it means something to her, and I’m therefore incredibly motivated to achieve my goal.
- Animated: Visualize your goals. Make them come alive in your mind so they are a real part of your life, and the thought of not achieving them becomes devastating.
For example, I constantly play out the 26.2-mile route I‘ll be running in my mind before I go to sleep each night. I envisage myself running it. I think about what songs I’ll listen to on my way around, and I imagine how I’ll feel before, during, and after I’ve finished it. I’ve got to the point where the thought of not achieving this goal is… well… it’s simply not a thought. I am 100% doing it!
- Required: Convince yourself and others of the absolute necessity of your goals. It will spur you into action and encourage you to keep going when you feel like giving up.
For example, I’ve told absolutely everyone I know that I’m running this marathon, including you! So when I’m tired, or it’s cold and wet outside, I keep going with my training. I have to! There’s no way I’m giving up or losing face.
- Difficult: If your goal isn’t challenging, it won’t feel like a true achievement when you accomplish it – so you probably won’t even bother trying. You’ve got to push yourself to attain something that’s out of your comfort zone, otherwise, there’s no point.
For example, I probably don’t need to tell you that running 26.2 miles will be difficult. It’s 26.2 miles! Plus, it’s the furthest I’ve ever run so there’s no question that I’m traveling way out of my comfort zone with this. But, boy will it feel good when I’ve done it! (After my muscles have stopped aching, my legs have finished shaking, and my blistered feet have recovered).
“HARD goals make people stronger, more courageous, and more confident to go after the bigger and better things.” – Forbes
Think like a salesperson and set yourself HARD goals that you can visualize, focus on, work hard to achieve, and use to prove your efforts and achievements.
Because you’ll only get what you want when you know what you want.
Tip #3: If you don’t ask, you won’t get
Asking for the business is one of the biggest challenges for sales reps.
“Closing has been cited as the most challenging part of a sale…and the average close rate across all industries is just 19%.” – Text Request
Why? Because facing the possibility of rejection is tough.
It’s tough for anyone, but it’s especially hard when it comes to asking for what you want at work: What if you’re not good enough to get what you’ve asked for?
“People don’t ask for the yes, because they are afraid to hear the no.” – Entrepreneur
But, the most successful salespeople know that if they don’t ask, they won’t get. So they follow the ABC rule:
They’re always prepared for a “no”, but they’re never afraid of one.
They see every rejection as an opportunity. Every time they hear a “No”, they know it’s taking them one step closer to hearing a “Yes.”
They also know that a ‘no’ is probably hiding one of these five obstacles:
- no need
- no money
- no hurry
- no desire
- no trust
As soon as they know which ‘no’ they’re facing, they work on it until it becomes a ‘yes’.
For example, a woman rang me up the other day. She was from my cell phone company and she was trying to sell me a new handset.
I explained that no, I didn’t want a new handset. I was perfectly happy with my phone and I was in no rush to get a new one.
She then asked me how long I’d had my device for.
“Five years!” I said, somewhat smugly.
And then she started to ask a few questions:
Does my phone run out of battery quickly? I suppose so, but it’s never bothered me.
Do I find that some of my apps take a while to load? I guess so, sometimes.
Does it crash sometimes, for no reason? Yeah, it does. Quite often.
Do I find that frustrating? Yes, I do!
She’d worked out that my original ‘no’ was hiding a lack of desire to change my phone.
So, she worked on building up her relationship with me. She knew exactly what questions to ask to provoke certain thoughts that would turn my indifference into desire. When she asked me, for a second time, if I wanted to upgrade to a new handset, I nearly bit her handoff.
Do you see it? She got what she wanted by asking for what she wanted until she got it.
Act like a salesperson and ask for what you want, until you get what you want.
To wrap up…
The most successful salespeople ask for what they want because they know exactly what they want and they feel confident about asking for it.
Do the same at work and you’ll be climbing up that career ladder instead of slipping down it.
Amanda is a content writer for Process Street. Based in the UK, she works remotely and is passionate about processes. Her main mission in life is to write content that makes business processes fun, interesting, and easy to understand. Her background is in marketing and project management, so she has a wealth of experience to draw from, which adds a touch of reality and a whole heap of depth to the content she writes.