Image of individuals waiting for an interview Excellent salespeople have a knack for delivering the need for a product or service without being perceived as overbearing or annoying. When we leave that type of sales experience, we tend to feel good about the purchase and could even turn into a repeat customer.

Those same personal selling techniques can be applied to your SAP professional career. You may be eyeing a specific promotion or transition from a middle manager to an executive position. There are several qualified people providing strong competition as you look for your next step on the SAP career ladder.

Building up your personal selling techniques will provide you with the right approach for talking about your skill set and establishing your personal brand as an SAP expert. This can be a delicate balance as you do not want to sound like the pushy and overbearing salesperson. Applying the effective techniques of salespeople to your personal value will help you in your professional life. The tips that follow are those that help sales people close deals and gain new customers.

Knowing Your Value

You have a lot of positive attributes. However, they are not all relevant to your current SAP career goal. Pivot the conversation from focusing on all of your attributes to those that showcase your SAP skills in a unique way. Thinking about your value in relation to your goal position is important because:

  • Employers might not visualize how you can fit in a higher position due to your current role. Your value changes in the marketplace and you need to think about yourself as the service that needs to demonstrate its value.
     
  • You might have skills that are not being utilized in your current position. If you have SAP certifications, SAP courses, or work experience that aligns with your goal position, use those as part of your overall value. People feel more comfortable deciding when they see that what they are getting meets all of their necessary requirements.

You can think about your associated value in this way. Every job, even the same job at different companies, will have a unique job description. You would never talk about your ability to service customers if the job was for web development. However, you could have both customer service and web development skills. You would generate two different associated values and connect them to the specific position.

Aligning with Customer Expectations  

When you make the decision that it is time for your next career jump, you need to think about the employer as your customer. This customer has expectations for what will be delivered to them. They want someone who can contribute to their company in expected and unexpected ways. Two of the great strategies of effective salespeople are to challenge the status quo and to show tangible progress you would make.

  1. Challenging the Status Quo. It can be easy to forget while you are looking for a new position that you are evaluating the company as much as they are evaluating you. Every position is going to have areas that were not considered by the people filling the position. In addition, companies expect new hires to arrive with innovative and forward-thinking ideas. When you see a path for your value and skillset to help propel a company towards their goals, do not be afraid to express this idea. When you do this, make sure to consider the local context and not to negatively criticize current efforts. Challenging the status quo will showcase your leadership, creativity, calculated risk taking, and problem-solving ability.
     
  2. Setting Progress Goals. Establishing a vision for yourself and where you see the position going at established milestones is important towards selling yourself. It shows that you have thought beyond the immediate next step in your career. You are not just a product that is only invested in once. When you are hired for a position, it shows that the company has made an investment in you. Sell them that it is the right investment by elaborating on your immediate, middle, and long-term plans and how you will measure success at these intervals.    

Making the Employer the Center

You will find you tend to sell yourself by focusing solely on your skills and competencies. These are the features or benefits that you are bringing to your career. While it is important to highlight your SAP skills, it is likely that several other candidates will also possess similar skills. Therefore, you will not stand out against others competing with you for the employer’s attention by only focusing on what you bring. You might have one unique skill that very few others possess so by all means promote that! But present it in a way that is contextualized and not in isolation of your work environment.

To pivot your skills and make them a memorable proposition, spin them into how they benefited your current or previous employer. For example, a common skillset could be software development for logistics and operations. Look at the following descriptions and think about which one would be more appealing to an employer looking to add value to their company.

  •   As software developer, I identified a potential glitch in the human resources software and developed a solution that could be implemented across multiple clients at a scheduled update.
     
  • Facilitated the solution to a software glitch in human resources software through empowerment of the team to apply Agile methodologies. Communicated across client channels to provide updates on the technical fix.
     

The first description is focused on being a savvy technical professional while the second is showing how you empowered team members to work on the solution and proactively provided clients with information. Presenting your skills in the second way is always preferred in personal selling.

Conclusion

It can feel unnatural to think of yourself akin to a product to sell. However, in the game of SAP career growth, you have to play the cards that are going to get you the win. In this case, the win is that career progression you have been eyeing. Shift your thinking from selling yourself to selling the value that you bring to positions.

You want your future employer to see that not hiring you would let a huge opportunity slip away. You want to make sure that know your value, align that value with employer expectations, and make your current or former employer the center of your skillset.

Does any of this seem like it would be challenging? Does it align with how you have positioned yourself for a career move before? How would you approach your current career goal if you thought about it from a personal selling perspective? Add your comments below and learn from your peers!


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Claire Stephenson is the Course Coordinator for Michael Management. She recruits new SAP instructors in addition to fostering relationships and working with existing MMC instructors. She has years of experience in recruiting and project management within the field of education. Claire is passionate about connecting people with opportunities and facilitating learning initiatives.