It’s a new world out there. The job market is much more competitive, hiring managers can’t afford to take risks by hiring the wrong person, and candidates must be the BEST every step of the way through the job search process. Now, for those of you with sales experience or looking for a role in inside or outside sales, this should be pretty natural for you, right? Wrong. It’s shocking how few salespeople apply the skills of their own function to their job search process. Pipeline? Non-existent. Selling yourself as a product? Not. Going for the Close? Oops, forgot.
So, here are three Selling Basics for all of you in the job market today, regardless if you have any sales training:
- Pipeline Management. Picture an upside down pyramid. Your job possibilities (leads) start at the top and then work down into real opportunities, interviews, job offers and employment! Another analogy is little device my father gave me as a child: I put a mixed bag of change in the top and the machine sorted them into the quarters, nickels, dimes and penny slots for counting. The core concept of a pipeline is that you need a LOT of job opportunities funneling through at the same time.
Most job-seekers I have helped over my 30 year career have one job they want and say “I want to see this one through before I start on another.” Cut the Crap, Get a Job! You must play the odds game, must have multiple opportunities in the pipeline at the same time if you want to see results in a timely fashion. Learn now how to parallel process multiple things vs. old fashion serial processing.
- You are the product and the interviewer, network contact, hiring manager or Human Resources (HR) department is the buyer. This is NOT about you. It’s about selling your skills and experiences to the buyer in a very relevant way TO THEM. They have the need and you must work much harder to position yourself, the product, as the BEST product for their need. Like the grocery store aisle for laundry detergent, you don’t see the package saying “I’m made of better chemicals” or “I am manufactured in a plant in Kentucky.” No, they are talking to YOU, the buyer, with phrases that aim to fit YOUR need like “whiter whites”, cleaner clothes, etc.
- Going for the close with every communication. This is often referred to as “asking for the business”. Shame on any sales representative for making a call on a customer and leaving without asking them for their business. Well, the same shame is earned with job-searching, too. Regardless if you are sending in a resume and cover letter, e-mailing a decision-maker, leaving a voicemail message, you always, always, always ask for the next step to take place.
Example: If you are meeting with a network contact who might be able to help you, end with “I appreciate any help you can provide. Specifically, if you have 3 people you can introduce me to, I will keep you posted about my follow up with them.” If you are applying with an e-mail or resume submittal and cover letter, then the close should say “May I come in for an interview?” If you have interviewed, then your follow up note is not just a thank you, but also should end with “I am eager to hear the next step in your hiring process and am more passionate than ever about the position we discussed. I want to work for you and <company name>.
There are many more sales skills that will help you tremendously. Continue visiting my blog and read some extra books or blogs about selling basics. Cut the Crap, Get a Job and good luck!