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New Sales Career Success Strategies

sales careerWant to know more about what it takes to get ahead today? Then I think you'll be interested in my recent interview with Dan Schawbel, author of a Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success, Gen Y career and workplace expert, and the founder of Millennial Branding. (Click here to download an excerpt.)

JILL: Dan, thanks for talking today. You've done tons of research for your new book. What skills are employers are looking for when promoting people in their companies?

Dan Schawbel: Managers are looking for soft skills over hard skills when deciding whom to promote. The top soft skill is the ability to prioritize work, and it's important because workers have to do more with less and are given several projects to do in a limited period. As a worker, you need to decide which projects are most important to your company and then focus on it.

JILL: How important are sales skills in the hiring and promoting process today?

Dan Schawbel: If you don't have sales skills, it's hard to succeed at work because we are always selling. You have to influence those around you to take action. You have to sell yourself, your products and your ideas constantly. When you're interviewing for a job, your job is to sell the hiring manager on why you are the right candidate. If you want a promotion, you are selling them on why you earned it.

JILL: How should you go about selling yourself at work so that you don't come off as too self-promotional?

Dan Schawbel: You don't want to become too self-promotional at work because it will turn people off. Instead, you want to do your best work and let it speak for itself. You also want to shine the spotlight on your fellow co-workers because it creates stronger relationships and good karma. At the same time, you should make sure that you are getting proper credit for your work.

JILL: Do sales tactics change when marketing to different generations of people? 

Dan Schawbel: Different generations respond differently to various sales tactics. For instance, if you're a financial advisor and want to get millennial clients, you're going to have to use social networks in order to reach them and serve them. They are looking for more interaction through technology. For boomers, you're going to want to have in person vs. online conversations.

JILL: Can you give us your top three career tips for salespeople?

Dan Schawbel: Absolutely. 1) Build a strong network so it doesn't feel like your blind selling. It's much easier to sell to friends than to strangers. 2) Find mentors in your company that are great at sales and try to mimic their success and get guidance on how you can improve. 3) Don't give up on your sales career because you aren't getting returned calls. It happens to everyone so just accept it and move on.

JILL: So Dan, what would you say is the biggest take away from your book?

Dan Schawbel: The biggest take away from my book is that you can't rely on anything or anyone and that you have to be accountable for your career and take charge of your life. You need to be able to adapt to change, be open to new opportunities and learn the skills you need today and in the future. At the end of the day, success lies in your hands - so go make things happen!

JILL: Thanks a million for your insights, Dan. Your book, Promote Yourself, is well worth the read for people who are looking for the new rules for sales career success. And, if you'd like to read an excerpt first, click here for Chapter 10.

Also, Dan is doing a free webcast on September 10th to promote his new book. Click here to register for The New Rules of Career Success. Please note, there is limited seating!


headerPicDan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the author of the newly released book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success as well as #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future. 

Dan is a columnist at both TIME and FORBES, and has been featured in over 1,000 media outlets. He’s spoken at Google, NBC Universal, Harvard Business School, MIT, and IBM. Dan was named to the Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 List in 2010, the Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 List in 2012.

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More Stories By Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath’s career is defined by her relentless search for fresh sales strategies that actually work in today’s business environment. She loves to work on tough sales challenges, big issues and unsolvable problems. Her first book, Selling to Big Companies, was hailed as an "instant classic." Fortune selected it as a "must read" and it's been an Amazon Top 25 sales book for 4+ years. Her newest book, SNAP Selling, was just released to rave reviews. She also writes a popular blog and publishes a leading newsletter. As an in-demand speaker an annual sales meetings and conferences, Jill helps sellers crack into new accounts, speed up sales cycles and win more business. Her clients include IBM, Microsoft, Hilton, Accenture, 3M and Staples. Her expertise is frequently published in top business media such as ABC News, Success, Inc., WSJ Start-Up Journal, Entrepreneur, New York Times, Business Journal, Selling Power and Sales & Marketing Management.

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