When you ponder the concept of self-promotion, which images come to mind? Do you think of your incompetent boss who somehow convinced someone that he knew what he was doing? Or the irritating top producer who seems to fall all over herself to name-drop during sales meetings? Or, conversely, the quiet sales guy with an enviable book of customers who regularly exceeds his goals by leveraging himself throughout the corporation so that people consistently refer him to their networks?
According to George Dudley and Shannon Goodson, the two behavioral scientists who authored the bestselling book The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance, people who are most willing to “toot their own horn” are often the ones who get the highest reward. Sales Call Reluctance is the emotional hesitation to prospect, self-promote and toot said horn.
Consider the following excerpt, used with permission:
Look around. Are the people who head your organization necessarily the most competent? People who are “perceived” to be the most competent are the ones who typically make it to the top. But they cannot be perceived to be competent if their competence is invisible. Getting to the top of any enterprise or organization (you don’t already own) requires a two-part approach: competent performance supported by assertive self-promotion. Competent performance without assertive self-promotion creates a recognition vacuum. If you don’t take credit for who you are and the contributions you have made, someone else in the organization—probably less deserving—will.
Work gets rewarded from two basic sources. One is the personal satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment you confer on yourself when you know you’ve done your job well. That’s important, but it is also private. The other is public recognition and financial reward. These are based on the behavior of others and, to a great extent, are outside your control. These payoffs can be substantial and meaningful, but they are determined by people who are trying to maximize their own rewards by promoting themselves as good salespeople or shrewd corporate navigators. Payoffs for your good work are likely to be as insignificant and infrequent as you allow.
Like it or not, these two myths represent the history of ineffective career management. If you hunker down and keep your nose to the grindstone all that is likely to happen is the disfigurement of your nose. While hard workers are often appreciated, they are less often promoted.
Effective self-promoters share three common behaviors that you can learn and employ. People who promote themselves do not hang back. They are willing to manage own their visibility.
Don’t kid yourself: the fear of self-promotion keeps qualified, competent people huddled in their cubicles, failing to enjoy the career success that could be theirs if they would overcome their fear of self-promotion.
Are you ineffectively promoting yourself because you don’t want to be perceived as obnoxious? If so, you are blocking yourself by identifying self-promotion as a negative trait. The good news is that you can learn how to become an effective self-promoter. Learn more on how to overcome the fear of self-promotion at the Exceptional Sales website.
Learn more about what makes a productive salesperson at our website, or download the free e-book below.