I'm hearing this phrase said a lot at the moment by women in finance. And I can tell you, I totally get where you’re coming from. I have moved from being a Finance leader, who focused on business performance and partnering, insightful business reporting, and team development, to being in a role where almost a third of my role is sales!!!
How is that possible…is a question I continue to ask myself? And in answering that question, I realise I am perfectly placed to help answer that question for yourself.
What is ’selling yourself’?
Fundamentally it is about talking about yourself in a way that positions you such that people will want to engage with you. Often this is in a job search situation, an internal role or position that you want, or where you want to make yourself look good in front of a certain stakeholder. The key is that you need to do it in a way where you don’t feel like (a), vomiting, (b), fake or (c) slimy: after all, we’re not in the business of selling your soul.
In Finance we don’t sell things!
True. But I can tell you one thing, being in a support function like finance makes you really good at one thing: influence. One of the biggest challenges for women in finance is knowing how to influence outcomes when you don’t have direct authority over people.
Selling is just another word for influence
I think this is a key mindset shift that may help you a lot. Because you know this is a key competency that is relevant for your job, and if you struggle with ‘selling yourself’, if you can reframe that to ‘just another influence conversation’, then that’s a great start. I’ve written a lot about influence lately, and shared a number of resources that are proven to have a massive impact. So if you think this is an area you need help, take a look for yourself!
Remember: it’s never about you
This is the #1 thing that has got me over the line every time: whether it’s business development, a presentation in front of hundreds of people, a job interview, a difficult conversation. The more I obsess about this point, the less angst I carry going into it. It is never about you. Instead of worrying about all the points that you need to memorise, how your shirt is fitting today, focus your energy and attention on what they need. What is going on in their world that you could help with? Use this to guide the interview prep you do, to pre-empt the questions they may ask, to help you decipher what elements of your lengthy CV you need to share with them.
Keep it simple
We’ve all been oversold to and it’s yucky. That’s why I’ve created this simple overview document to help you keep it simple, structured and strong. Use this to prepare for your interviews, presentations and big meetings.
You’ve got this. Finance women can sell :-)