As a PR professional you have to wear many hats.
You are the storyteller, the organizer, the project manager, the sometimes spokesperson for your company.
It’s not easy to switch from one thing to another, but you do it because you love your job.
But the one thing a PR pro is not seen as is a salesperson.
Okay, I can hear you screaming, “PR has nothing to do with sales!”
But, if you stop and think about it, it has a lot to do with it.
We are all in the sales business, whether it’s for your personal brand or your company’s brand, you have to always sell your ideas, your projects, your skills.
That’s why developing sales skills early on, can make a huge difference in your career.
Why You Need Sales Skills to Succeed in PR
Whether you like it or not, to succeed in PR or any field, for that matter, you have to keep learning, to keep improving your skills, and developing new ones.
Today’s landscape bears no resemblance to how it looked less than a decade ago.
Sure, we had the beginner version of social media.
But other than that, we were not talking about artificial intelligence and how it could affect our jobs.
Virtual reality was something you saw in the movies.
Now here we are, 10 years later, talking about how to implement AI in our companies.
True, you could not predict any of this, but they are here now.
And what you do from now on is what matters.
There is no use looking back at the way things were.
You have to keep learning, improving yourself, and your skills.
You need to be a step ahead of everyone else if you want to succeed.
Which brings me to why you should embrace a sales mindset.
Executives and shareholders want to know how your work in PR will improve the bottom line and company sales.
How do you show the ROI of your work?
Let’s face it, as indispensable as you might think you are to your company, if you don’t bring in revenue you won’t have a job in five years, maybe less.
Love it or hate it, that is the reality we live in.
How Sales Skills Help Your Career in PR
Furthermore, I am going to focus on how sales skills can help you succeed in your career in PR.
You may not agree with me. That’s fine.
All I ask is that you give this some thought.
Think Like a Salesperson
Salespeople typically have a bad reputation, probably as bad as PR pros (spin doctors).
See, we already have something in common.
Just because a few people give the industry a bad name, doesn’t mean it’s true anymore.
An exceptional salesperson is not someone who cheats you into buying something from them but is someone who puts himself in the client’s shoes and finds the best solution for that client.
They are someone who asks the right questions to learn how his product or service could help the potential buyer, not someone just selling stuff to meet numbers.
But, I am not saying there are not people out there doing that too.
Think of Steve Jobs.
He was an exceptional salesperson.
He “sold” the world on the future of technology when we weren’t prepared for it, and he convinced us to embrace it.
And it happened only 10 years ago.
Please tell me where your smartphone is as you’re reading this article?
Thinking like a salesperson means learning how your product, service, or skills can improve your client’s business.
Do this exercise, and you will see how your entire perspective changes.
You will see opportunities everywhere.
Create the Best Experience Possible
Your client’s best interests should be at the top of your mind every waking moment.
But sometimes that’s not enough.
People remember how they felt when they interacted with your brand.
They remember how you made them feel.
Did you make them feel cared for?
Did you make them feel they were important to you?
Maya Angelou once said:
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Put yourself in your client’s shoes and strive to create the best experience for them, whether it’s through an email you send, a phone call (they do still exist, you know), through a social media post or reply, or an in-person meeting.
Make them feel cherished and valuable to you, and they’ll give you back their loyalty.
That’s valid for your company, and also for your personal brand.
Over-Promise and Over-Deliver
This is a hard-to-swallow concept.
The first time I heard of it was while reading one of Grant Cardone’s books.
We’re used to “under promise, over deliver” motto, so I wasn’t sure how over-promising could help your career in PR.
I understood over-deliver, but over-promise?
What he says is this: when you over-promise you commit yourself to go beyond your self-imposed limitations. You force yourself to get out of your comfort zone and find opportunities in places you did not see before.
Over-promising is not about the client, it’s about you.
It’s about holding yourself accountable and making a promise to yourself to step up your game.
So, next time you think something is hard, over-promise to your client, and then do everything in your power to over-deliver.
You’ll not only have an extremely happy client; you’ll gain the confidence to reach higher and higher.
Every PR pro needs sales skills to boost their career in PR and the best time to start is now.
I would love to hear your thoughts. What would you add?