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 tools of their trade to their job search process. Pipeline? Non-existent. Selling yourself as a product? Not. Going for the close? Oops, forgot.
Whether you are a lifetime sales pro or not, here are three Selling Basics for all of you in the job market today:
1. Pipeline Management. Picture a big funnel. Your job possibilities (leads) start at the top and then work down into real opportunities, interviews, job offers, and employment!
My father used a different analogy when I was a child: you 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 years working 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 and have multiple opportunities in your pipeline at the same time if you want to see results in a timely fashion. Learn now how to “parallel process” multiple opportunities rather than rely on old-fashioned linear processing.
2. 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 need to work much harder to position yourself – the product – as the BEST product for their need. Imagine a grocery aisle full of laundry detergent; you never see. “I’m made of better chemicals” or “I am manufactured in a plant in Kentucky.” No, each box is speaking to YOU, the buyer, with solutions for YOUR needs: whiter whites, cleaner clothes, etc.
3. Go for the close with every communication; asking for their business. Shame on any sales representative who makes a call on a customer and leaves without asking for their business.
The same shame is earned with job searching, too. Whether you are sending in a résumé and cover letter, e-mailing a decision-maker, or leaving a voicemail message, you always, always, always ask for the next step to take place.
For example: If you meet 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 apply with an e-mail or résumé submittal and cover letter, then the close should say, “May I come in for an interview?” If you have finished an interview, 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
Sales skills are not just for selling products or services; use them to sell yourself! Get my book – Cut the Crap, Get a Job! – and learn more about selling skills for job seekers.