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How to Sell Your Value

A career coach discusses strategies with a clientAsking questions is as important as answering questions

You made the cut! You have an interview with the hiring manager!

Oh yeah... you’re one of five candidates vying for the same position. Now, it’s especially important for you to sell your value. Professional sales people know how to sell value. They do it by asking good questions and demonstrating how their product or service will make their customer’s life better. When interviewing for a job, you are the product and you need to ask questions and demonstrate how you’ll make your prospective employer’s life better!

To sell your value ... you have to KNOW your value! There are many wonderful things about you. Your resume is packed with accomplishments and strengths that demonstrate your value, yet not all of those things may be equally important, or equally relevant to a prospective employer. Don’t expect them to intuitively figure you out. It is your job to demonstrate how your strengths and accomplishments can help them with their situation and problems. You have to sell them your value.

How do you figure out what’s valued and relevant to them? Ask them! Ask questions to draw out what specifically is important or challenging to them. Here are some examples of questions;

  • What are your biggest challenges to finding the right person for this position?
  • What are the biggest concerns you have facing your team/company in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the biggest challenge for you to make your goals this year?
  • What are the biggest weaknesses on your project/ team at the present time?
  • Where do you see your team/company going in the next year?

The answers to these questions will help you sell your value. Remember the accomplishment stories you wrote for your resume? Now it’s time to apply them in different ways, by tweaking them to fit the situation and challenges your prospective employer spoke about.

Here’s an example:

By asking questions, you discovered that your prospective employer is most concerned about how their vendors will pull through with their share of the work. Vendor management is key to meeting their project deliverables.

Remember that accomplishment you wrote on your resume about managing that global project that saved the company $x? Well, it wasn’t JUST about being an organized project manager... it was about motivating the software vendor to fulfill their part of the agreement. You also had to coach your own team members to be more inclusive of the vendor/contractors. That was key to making your project a success - and that is an excellent example of how you’ve solved a similar problem that you didn’t even mention on your resume!

There are many ways to present each one of your accomplishments. Talk to your coach about different ways to apply them... while being careful to acknowledge that every situation is different, of course!

There’s an added benefit to asking good questions, even if your accomplishments don’t line as neatly as the one above. When you give your prospective employer an opportunity to talk about their problems and when you show an interest in what’s important to them - you not only know more about them, but you have established yourself as a good listener and a partner who can help them solve their problems. You also create an opportunity to build a relationship and by the way... sell your value.

Debbie Sherrie is an experienced career consultant with over 20 years of career coaching experience with Right Management, Bradford Career Services and Cate Communications.