Solo Episode with Pat Helmers
You maybe happy in your job. Everything could be going right: your boss, your company, the product, your customers. You’re not thinking about how to find a sales job. That’s the farthest thing from your mind. You could be rockin it and that’s great news. But alas nothing lasts.
For certain change will come: either your company will get acquired, your awesome boss will quit or get promoted, the lifecycle of your product will start to age and no matter how hard your try you won’t able to make quota again. Everything rides the adoption curve. What used to be easy to sell might take heroic strength in a year or so. nothing lasts.You’ve made your hay while the sun shined. The sun is setting in the west.
With this in mind take a moment to truly appreciate what you have today. Be present to the moment. It’s a wonderful, it’s euphoric and its temporary. p Tomorrow morning go to the office and warmly revel in the good work and tomorrow night start preparing for your next challenge and find a sales job that’s perfect for you.
You’re the Seller and You’re the Product
Getting job, is the sale of sales. Nobody knows the product better than you! But is the market ready for you?
Three years ago I wrote an article on this topic and back then the economy was in a much different place. We’re at 4.44% jobless rate. the best in 15 years. It’s a sellers market which is good news for you.
Great sales people are hard to come by. If you have a stellar resume or even if you’re just breaking into the profession, these are good times to get in the business of job hunting.
This episode is part of a two part series. This episode is about sales professionals, next week’s episode is for sales managers who struggle to hire top notch sales people. Both sales folks and sales managers will appreciate both episodes. Each will get a glimpse on the dynamic of the buyer and seller, the manager and sales guys and gals.
Hamster Wheel of HR
Most likely you’ve experienced the the hamster wheel of HR, endlessly submitting resume after resume into a deep black hole that is neither encouraging nor helpful. It’s a frustrating process. It take forever to apply, copy paste, copy paste. After all your work you never hear squat. As for the employers they are overwhelmed by the fire hose of applications from candidates who are barely qualified to hum happy birthday in key.
Like salmon swimming upstream, the resume’s fight and jump and swim and eventually a blessed few reach the spawning area that will actually land on a hiring manager’s desk. This process doesn’t work for you.
Instead of making it a numbers game and applying willy nilly to a pantheon of organizations, let’s take the offense. Use your selling skills to sell you!
You Selling You
If you’re looking for a job, you’re in sales! And what’s the product? You!
And who better to sell you, than you? You know the product better than anyone else in the world. You know the skills and history of the product, the examples where you’ve gone the extra mile to delight the customer, where you’ve reached deep and with grit and tenacity and achieved success.
You know you. And now that you’ve decided to look for work, you’ve become a saleswoman or salesman. Congratulations.
You’re in sales, and as a sales professional, it’s important to take a sales approach when job hunting. What’s the sales process?
Let’s first consider the target market. What are employers looking for:
- People who show up for work.
- People with initiative.
- People who are smart.
- People who are competitive.
- People who follow directions with an attention to detail.
- People who are here to help.
- People when you give them a job, it can be considered done.
Your task is to not just tell them you’re great, but to show them you’re great. This is where the sales process can help.
Let’s start with prospecting. Most jobs never end up on Indeed, Career Builder, Monster or Craigslist. No, someone quits, someone gets fired and bingo there is a job opening. Instead of mindlessly submitting resumes into HR websites, take a tactical approach and identify employers who are a good match for you:
- Emerging products that fly off the shelves
- Great reputation for job satisfaction
- Makes sense as the next logical step in your career
- It’s a place you can grow
- It’s a place you can maximize your salary
Make a list of 50 companies you believe would appreciate your talents. Open up your favorite browser to LinkedIn and search for the owners, executives and directors who would be your boss.
They may be hiring, they may not. It doesn’t matter. Connect with them on LinkedIn and say this is the note
“Hi Pat, I see that you and I work in the same XYZ industry. We have much in common. I like connecting with others who have the same professional interests. Looking forward to know you. Thank you, Pat “
Wait a week or so until they connect. When they do say this.
“Hi Pat, it’s great to connect with experts like yourself. Do you have a moment to chat? I was looking for some career advice and I believe you are one of very few people who could steer me in the right direction. Thank you, Pat”
When they agree to meet on the phone, do exactly as you stated. Tell them the truth.
“I’m trying to grow into my profession and take on a new/old roll in a new/old industry. You’ve been very successful. How did you do it?”
I Need Some Advice
You’re not asking them for a job, but you’re asking for their advice! They have a job opening. They may not. But you are generating interest and you’re being memorable. They will have some great words of wisdom They may know someone who is hiring. Or if the stars align, they WILL have an opening.
This is a non-pushy way to get your foot in the door. You may be thinking. People aren’t going to take me up on this, they’re going to see through my request. But you would be surprised by the goodness of people. Some industries this might not work. But think about what’s going on. Practically EVERYONE on LinkedIn is either seller, a prospect. Yes, there are a few people from past jobs, but the large majority are on LinkedIn for business purposes. Partnerships and connections are vital to business success. This is what the tool was designed for and this it where it shines.
Social Media vs Calling
So what do you do if you can’t get them to connect?
Call the sales line.
“Hi I’m looking for a sales position in your company. Do you have any advice for me?”
The sales line is a direct link to their sales organization. Leverage it. Sales people appreciate the work you’re putting in to get a job. Be nice, laugh with them, ask them how they like it, ask them how they got started. They’re disposition is to be nice to you and treat you like a hot prospect. If they are jerks, call another day and get a different representative.
You can ask if they’ve heard how business is going. If you hustle you can break into an organization.
You can ask about your decision maker lead from LinkedIn. If they send you to voice mail, leave the same message you would on LinkedIn. Follow the 3×8 follow up rule and call every 3 days at least 8 times. Leave a voice mail that share a bit more about yourself and the VALUE you can bring to their organization.
“Hi I’m Pat, I understand you may be hiring for JOB POSITION and I believe I can help. Do you have a moment to chat on Wednesday? My number is 630.768.3134.”
Don’t feel like you’re bothering them, because you’re actually here to help! Take the mindset that this is an opportunity to demonstrate initiative, tenacity, fearlessness and a deep desire to help solve their problems.
In sales you will face an ocean of rejection so when you expect loss, it’s much easier to deal with the emotional toll. Selling is hard work, but that’s the profession you’ve chosen once you’ve decided to seek employment.
Focus on the goal: To Get An Appointment. During the conversation when the time is right say
“I believe I can help you overcome the challenges you’re facing. Let’s meet. Do you have time next week?”
This is the “ask”. Don’t skip it!
When you get an appointment, be it either a phone call or a meeting, the interview starts. It’s critical you get the employer to talk about their business struggles, hopes, and fears. Hiring managers have a tendency to want to learn all about you. Turn it around. Successful executive are revered for their ability to identify problem. If you’re doing all the talking, you’re not demonstrating your skill of walking in their shoes, identifying with their pains, and offering solutions (e.g. hiring you) to those issues.
What do they want?
At sometime during the conversation the employer will ask if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to do problem identification. Ask the question
“What does it take to be a successful JOB POSITION here at XYZ Company?”
Make a list, 1 to N of skills and attributes THEY value. Keep saying
“What else? What else? What else?”
until they have no more items.
When the list is complete, walk through the list, one by one. Share concrete examples where you’ve addressed an issue like this in the past.
Now this presupposes you’ve prepared ahead of time. It assumes you’ve thought about the things hiring managers face, and you’ve got ready examples on hand where you’ve been a here.
Decide if it’s a fit
If it looks like you have what the hiring managers wants, it’s time to go for the close. If you don’t have what they want, thank them for their time. We’re not a fit for everyone.
As a sales person you’re comfortable asking for the sale. If you’re a non-seller this may seem pushy. It’s not. Remember you’re goal is to add value to their company. If you can help them out by being a strong employee, the deal is going to work out for everyone.This is how you close. Say the following :
“From what I’ve shared, do you believe I have the skills to be successful in this position?” If they say yes, that’s great. You almost have the job.
If they say no simply ask “Why?”
Most likely they will add new items on the list. Go back to the Discovery portion of the interview. Repeat the process of asking what it takes to be successful with more what elses. Once all issues have been addressed say:
“Now do you believe I have the skills to be successful in this position?”
If not, repeat the process until they say “YES”.
The next question is very difficult for non-sellers,
“What are the barriers to having me start this position in two weeks?” If you’ve done your job well they will give you an offer. Congratulations!
However, they may say they have concerns that have not been discussed. Collect the issues and repeat the process above. It may become apparent that you don’t have the skills they’re looking for, you’re not a match.
More likely they may say “We have other candidate interviews”. In this situation they can’t give you a decision at this time. Ask when it would be a good time to follow up. Make sure you follow up within 1 week and keep proving you would become a great contributor to their organization.
Win or lose stay in touch
Again as you proceed down the sales process it may become clear you’re not qualified. Not everyone is qualified for every position. Job hunting and job placement is a process of matchmaking. You must be a good match for the employer, and the employer must be a good match for you.
Just because they don’t hire you’ve only lost this deal. There are other job opening at that company. In a month or so they maybe looking again. Keep in touch with them. Even if you find a job. Nothing lasts.
Throughout this process you will find what it’s like working for the company. You may find they are disrespectful, confused, disorganized with little focus. You don’t want to work them! Better to find out now then later.
I believe you can find a sales job that’s perfect for you. The best way to do that is to follow a 4 step process you can tip the odd in your favor:
- Prospecting – identify your ideal employer, make a list of attributes they search for and a list of candidate companies
- Discovery – using social media like LinkedIn, connect with hiring managers and reach out to connect. If you can’t connect with the decision makes online, use the phone and call the sales line and ask for advice. Asking for advice generates rich conversations
- Matching – ask the hiring managers what they value and then walk through their list and show them you have what it takes to be successful in their organization
- Closing.- ask the managers if you have what they’re looking for and if so, what are the barriers to have you start in the next few weeks.
Interviewing for a new job is just a different kind of sale. It’s going to be a lot of work. But in the end, very rewarding. We spend enormous hours at work. If we don’t love what we do, it can be soul crushing. So the effort we invest early in the job hunting process is going to have a rich return on investment.
Connect with Sales Babble
To get a copy of this process and a study guide on How To Find a Sales Job That Perfect For You go to the show notes www.salesbabble.com/173
Let’s keep the conversation going. You can find us on LinkedIn, and Twitter, we have Facebook Fan Page , and we have a private Facebook group just for the Sales Babble listeners, again I’ll share the link in the show notes. Or if you want to connect with me and have a question, go the the Sales Babble home page, to leave a message, or voice mail or Schedule A Call.
And while you’re at salesbabble.com take a a moment to dig deep into the archives where each episode’s about helping you grow your business.
I want to thank our sponsor again, Slidebean and urge all you Sales Babblers to check them out and use the offer code link for a free copy. Our sponsor keep the conversation going
I hope you got a few ideas on how to accelerate your sales. We have more for you next Tuesday with the second part to this episode. Until then, take care and have a highly successful selling day.
Sales Job Interview Tips
Here are some previous episodes that provide job seekers advice. Listen today!
- How to Find a Great Sales Job with Gerry Cullen #51
- Special Segment Your Hired! An Interview with Job Seeker Tami Miller #16
- SB 009 | Creating a Powerful Brand, An Interview with Arfan Qureshi