Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You’re Selling a Product……YOU!

I coined this phrase for one of my columns a while back, because I wanted to make the relationship clear.  We all know interviewing is selling, but crazy as it sounds, it’s still a little foggy to some.
Professional sales people receive training consistently to better understand the dynamics of what makes a top salesperson – not only adept at closing sales, but adept at knowing which ones to walk away from.  It’s done through knowing your product, asking questions, and building relationships. 
What qualifies me to talk about sales when I’m a career coach?  I’ve been on straight commission for 25 years.  As a recruiter, I built relationships, had repeat clients, and my placements stuck.   And along with another unrelated phone sales position, I’ve consistently been a top producer, breaking a few records along the way. 
How does this relate to job hunting?  That’s exactly what this blog post is about today.
  1. knowing your product – you – and your resume is your brochure, yet 99.9% of all resumes have bullets that are job description statements and fail to differentiate that person from the hundreds of others who do the same thing.
  2. consequently, you can’t sell yourself.  You can’t even remember what you did, or else you haven’t taken the time to go back and dredge it out.  Knowing – and communicating –  these “kudos” in response to the answers from your questions,  is essential to interviewing
  3. asking questions, creating a dialogue – people don’t know how to do that either, because they’re so busy “selling” themselves for the job.  Then, when they finally get something, they wonder how they ended up in a place that was nothing like they thought it was.
Two words: Art Sobczakwww.businessbyphone.com  I recommend this guy all the time.  I know his work and I’ve not only lived by it, I’ve succeeded with it.  (And I get no remuneration etc from this recommendation, BTW). 
You need to sign up for his newsletter.  Sure, some of it won’t make sense, but there are principles in there you need to know.  Let’s look at the last issue, where he made up a reality TV show.  In the interest of space, I’m making Art’s newsletter quotes blue, rather than indenting, and I haven’t listed all the questions that Art had in the article.
In this reality series, 50 salespeople are herded into a 55-story magnificent office building with gold fixtures in every bathroom, to wait their turn to win the business of Joe BigCustomare, a head honcho decision maker who will award a million dollar purchase order to one lucky and skillful sales pro.  (Lots of people are interviewing for the same job)
Little do the unsuspecting sales reps know, but Joe BigCustomare is really a schlub who runs a near-bankrupt snow plowing service in Phoenix, and is behind on his truck payments. Our focus is on one sales rep, Pat Savvy. Pat was the eighth sales rep to have a shot at pitching to Joe.  (in our parallel situation, maybe it’s a dysfunctional company, maybe it’s not – that’s part of it, but not really my main point here)
In the first episode, the first seven all pretty much took the same approach. Each paraded in to see Joe, pulling out their laptop computer and Powerpoint presentations.  They had charts, graphs, videos, reams of technical data, samples, interactive computer programs, and slickly-crafted pitches, extolling in detail each of the fine “benefits” of doing business with them.  (All the job seekers tripped over themselves talking endlessly about why they were right for the job, having forgotten the job ad and not knowing much about the company or the position or how they fit)
Then, it was Pat Savvy’s turn.  Pat had nothing but a yellow legal pad and a pen.  And lots of questions.
Pat started out with some general questions. “So, Joe, tell me why you’re looking at this product.” (….looking to hire this position.”)
“How long have you been looking?” (umm…ditto)
Then Pat go into need- and problem-related questions:
“What problems will it solve for you?”
  (”What are the top priorities that need to be addressed in this position?”)

“Who else is affected by them?” (the effect of the problems/ solution/ interaction with other departments in the company)
What is the return on investment that you’re looking for?” (what are the goals you’re looking to achieve in this position and in what time frame?)
“Is this product going to replace another one?” (how long was the previous person here?)

Then Pat asked about the decision-making process:  “What three criteria will you weigh most heavily in choosing your vendor?”  (what’s the decision making process? eg, how many interviews?)

“Who else will be involved in the decision making process?” (yipper skipper, same question)

“Tell me about them and what they might be looking for.” (what are the most important factors in the person you hire? then ask it of every person with whom you interview)

“Are you already leaning toward one salesperson over another?” (where are you in your decision making process?  and where am I within that plan?)

“When, specifically will the decision be made?” (as in, when are you planning on extending an offer and having someone on board?)

Long story short, Pat didn’t want the job.  All his questions revealed Joe was a phony.    He saved himself a lot of misery, didn’t he?  And if Joe hadn’t been a phone, Pat would have known exactly how to take his services and address Joe’s needs rather than just talking blah blah blah, which is like shooting arrows into a dark closet.  You can’t see the target.
So follow this link to go to www.businessbyphone.com, and sign up for Art’s newsletter  now. It will help you understand the sales process, enhance your interview skills and educate you on how to follow up.  Like I said, if professional sales people need help, what about you – who is also selling, and that’s not even your career?
Art Sobczak provides how-to tips for prospecting and sales using the phone techniques that are applicable to job seekers that might not be advertised and set themselves apart from everyone else who is just sending out resumes.  Learn how to follow up, ask questions, find out the buyer’s needs and sell to those.  Get free tips, script examples, watch videos and more.  www.BusinessByPhone.com and www.TelesalesBlog.com

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