Last weekend, I went to see one of the most powerful women with influence on the planet, Nigella Lawson. She is the author of eight books, and has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Her first book, How to Eat, was the complete antithesis of every other book that was out there. It was not a traditional cookbook – it was just simply how to eat. Her work is very much about pleasure, savouring food, flavour, and palate.
She was interviewed in Brisbane as part of her roadshow tour. She confessed that one of the hardest things she had to do when she wrote her first book was being able to explain the exact measurements for each recipe. She said, “I’ve learnt these recipes from my mother, and they’ve been passed down to a generation where I don’t even have to think about them, I just make them.”
“To write the book, I had to stop, and slow down. I had to think about every tiny piece of each recipe. So if a recipe had flour in it, I might normally throw in a handful of flour or a couple of handfuls of flour. Or I’d just put the pan on the cooktop, I wouldn’t usually think too much about exactly what heat it was. But for me to write the recipes, I had to stop, explain and articulate the very specific measurements for the ingredients, and then the instructions of what to do for each recipe.”
She said she found it an incredibly difficult process because she had always done it so intuitively. But today, this is something she has become better at which is why she has become one of the most influential women internationally with a cult following of people who are hungry not just for her cooking but for her expertise and wisdom.
Are you underselling your value?
It’s the same for us when it comes to selling ourselves. We’re so close to the skills we have and the tasks we do to help others. But when it comes to moments where we need to sell ourselves, we often don’t see the value in what we do because we’ve done it so intuitively for many years. And the consequence of this is we often don’t know how to articulate our value.
After interviewing over 2000 Influencers, an overwhelming clear trend is that we have a tendency to underpromote, undersell and under market ourselves. Again, we’re so close to ourselves that we think we’re noisier than what we really are – when in fact we’re in a sea of noise and competing for cut-through.
So whether you’re in a job interview and trying to articulate the types of tasks you can do or the skills you have and what you can bring to the table or you’re in your own business as an influencer or as an expert in your field – you have to take the time to unpack how you do what you do and make it easy for other people to understand.
It’s not enough to assume that people will just follow you and automatically understand the value that you bring. So, the three things you can do now to consciously unpack your knowledge and expertise are:
- Have empathy to gain insight: Take the time to understand what your customer is looking for, their challenges and their fears. By taking the time to think about things from your customer’s perspective (or your panel’s perspective if you’re in a job interview), you’ll be able to see the experience they’re going through and what goals they have in mind. That way, you’ll be able to see yourself through your customer’s eyes. As Napoleon Hill once said, “The best way to sell yourself to others is to sell others to yourself.“
- Articulate your solution to each problem: You need a system or a process to unpack and articulate the value you bring. Write down each of your customer or target audience’s problems and then articulate against each one what specific skill or ability you bring to solve that problem. For example, you will typically find this information in a job description or a job ad if you’re applying for roles, or if you’re looking at it from a customer’s perspective. If you’re not sure what they are, the best way to find out is to interview members of your target audience or equally, you could Google it to find those answers.
- Create powerful collaterals to create a connection: Now that you’re able to articulate those challenges, you’ll need to put them into some kind of document so that your customer or panel can see a visual connection between their problem and how you can solve it. By doing this, you build trust and reduce the pressure of feeling like you’re selling the ‘invisible’. If you’re applying for jobs, this means making sure your LinkedIn profile and resume match the specific problems they have. If you are an influencer, you’ll need to ensure your collaterals, such as brochures and whitepapers to name a few, speaks to their challenges. What is your version of a Nigella Lawson’s cookbook? What can you put into the hands of the person you’re speaking to so that they can see a visual representation of how you solve their problems?
What do you find the most challenging part about selling yourself?
Would love to hear your thoughts.
Jane Anderson is a communication expert, speaker and the author of 6 books including the upcoming “TRUSTED: The Level Above Influence.” With over 20 years of experience helping people step into their personal power, she is obsessed about creating human connection to drive business growth in a world of disruption and automation. To inquire about her working with you or your organisation please contact us here.