Unethical or ethical self-promotion
It is not unheard of to hear stories about people telling a few "white lies" to land that sale, secure that job, achieve that promotion or even just get noticed, but can those "white lies" have serious repercussions?
Ever met a sales person, a manager, a colleague, who just didn't seem genuine? It can be hard to put your finger on it sometimes but you know something is just not right. They seem to be looking for their next victim, not a genuine contact or viable prospect.
Self-promotion is vital in sales as only you can make people aware of the good work you do, but there are ways of doing it. Simply ask yourself, “Are my promotional tactics ethical or not?”
Here are a few characteristics to look out for when spotting an unethical self-promoter.
- Name Dropping – All good sales people have contacts, some more impressive than others, but unethical promoters know ‘everyone’. Truth is, no they don’t, don’t get caught out.
- Few deep or long-lasting business relationships - Most salespeople acquire clientèle, unethical self-promoters acquire enemies.
- Frequently uses words like ‘trust’ or ‘open’ – You do not need to sell your integrity, unethical self-promoters do. They use reassuring language to deflect their lack of sincerity.
- Tainted view of other people – To the unethical self-promoter, everyone is unethical, or wants to be. They believe that, ‘If I don’t get them, they will get me’ or ‘Everybody has a price’
In its most basic form, you are crossing the line into unethical self-promotion when you are promoting something you can't or don't intend to deliver; or pushing products or services that the client does not need or want.
Below are a few tips on how you can promote yourself discreetly and ethically.
- Stop selling yourself and start showing your value. What can you do to help others in way that lets them experience what you can do well?
- Get feedback on an area and offer your support on challenges others are facing. It’s not always about you and you don’t always know best. Take some time to receive some constructivecriticism when needed and be available to others who may need your advice, guidance or support.
- Contribute something new to the conversation and invite others to give their ideas on your area. Aim for reciprocity.
The key thing to realize is that self-promotion isn't about bragging and egotism. It’s about selling a brand. In this case that brand is “You”. You need to be portrayed in a confident, communicative and politically intelligent manner.