Archives for category: Sales

So you have been looking for a new gig for a while and finally you find one that is worth checking out.  You get on LinkedIn and see if you know anyone in your network working there now or even in the past.  You find out the company is indeed a place you could see yourself in the future and continue to take the next steps.    You ask your colleague to make an introduction for you with the hiring manager and you also apply online through the company website.

All of this assumes of course you actually HAVE a LinkedIn profile which you have been building as well as the fact you are utilizing the relationships you have been cultivating.  If however, for some reason you have not then please let me know and I would be more than happy to assist you.

Well your colleague makes the introduction for you through LinkedIn and your previous experiences coupled with your complete LinkedIn profile land you a telephone interview with the hiring manager.  It’s only 30-45 minutes, but you are certain you will wow her and she will want you to come in and meet the rest of the team right away.  As with most telephone interviews, this is just to screen you to see if you would be a fit with the team, to make sure your skills on your resume all match up, and what type of personality you have.  This is often done by an internal recruiter, HR, or someone else, but since you showed the gumption to seek out the hiring manager she decides to perform the phone screen herself.

Right away you know you are moving on to the next stage in the process.  You did your research and aside from the colleague making the initial introduction, you tell the manager about the multiple similarities the two of you share which you found out by following her on Twitter.  You tell her how your background is a perfect match for what they are looking for and how you would be able to come in right away and make a difference and how much value you bring and this and that and everything else.  And on and on and on.

While all of this is ok in moderation, that is the magic word at this stage of the game.  MODERATION.  You may be very well suited to have an immediate impact. But how do you know exactly what this organization is looking for or even this particular group?  More than likely you know what they do and what they are looking for by the job description, but all too often even the hiring manager doesn’t TRULY know what is needed so chances are slim you have any clue at all!

Again, I am not against selling yourself to some degree, but just make sure you don’t over do it.  In fact, I encourage you to sell yourself!   Interviewing is about you selling yourself and your skills while the company sells themselves and the opportunity.  In theory.  And while many have the misconception that a great salesperson is someone that talks a lot, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  They DO talk a lot, but if they are doing it properly, they are asking questions or if they are answering questions, they are keeping it brief.  When you are talking the entire interview of course you think it went well.  As humans we love nothing more than to hear our own name and our own voice.  So if YOU are doing all of the talking you think everything is going well and you are a shoe in for the job.  Again, this is wrong.

Almost 100% of the time when someone calls me after their interview and tells me they aced it and they are certain it will go to the next level or they will get the job I know I need to find someone else to fill the position.  There are times where that isn’t the case, but it’s rare.  Confidence is great and all, but you spent the whole time talking and didn’t give the manager the chance to get to really know you and build rapport.  In sales (and interviews) building trust and rapport is so important that you can toss everything else out the window if you don’t have it.  That is why I say it’s great in moderation, but just make sure you are having a conversation, not a monologue.  Ask how she progressed to the current position.  What drew her to the company when she first started?  Something!  When you actually converse it allows you to uncover some of the needs possibly not mentioned on the job description which will allow you to speak of your unique attributes and how they relate to the position.

One of the main, if not THE main reason for speaking too much is being excited and/or nervous.  Trust me, I am quite guilty of this.  This is why the importance of practice interviews is a constant subject when performing searches on interview preparation.  By knowing what you are going to say, you are able to listen more and when the time is right sell your skills which will in turn enhance your chances to beat out the competition. 

So next time you finish up an interview, look back and ask yourself if you did all of the talking.  If your answer is “yes,” it may not be the best idea to start writing your two weeks notice.  If the answer is “no,” it’s still not the best idea to start writing your two weeks notice, but the odds will be stacked higher in your favor and you may be that much closer to your next great opportunity!

What do you think?  Have you been in this situation before or know someone who has? Please leave me some comments below and remember if there is anything I can do to help with any of this please let me know as I am more than happy to assist with the difficulties of the job search.


“Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do.” – Benjamin Spock.

I feel this quote is a perfect way to lead in to my first blog post.  I have been kicking around the idea for a few weeks now, but have been making excuse after excuse of not getting started.

The excuse train left and I wasn’t on board today!  I need to go with what I know and trust that I can do this.  I am a salesman.  In reality we all are, we just may not know it.  Often we take for granted what we know and assume everyone else knows the same information, but when it all boils down that isn’t necessarily the case.

For instance, trust can have different meanings to different people.  I am the type of person that gives my trust to others until they prove I shouldn’t.  Others are a little more reserved and they wait to make sure people are trustworthy.  Regardless of where you fall in this equation, I feel it is safe to say that trust can be gained or lost in a moments notice.

Being in a profession where speaking with people is my lifeline, I must constantly make sure I am able to come across as a trustworthy person.  This has to be done in less than 20 seconds, and most of the time much more quickly than that.  This is one of those instances where I take for granted the fact that I am used to starting conversations or quickly building rapport.  I have had numerous people ask me how I do it or if I have any suggestions.  I decided this could be the perfect avenue to help someone.

For demonstration purposes, our example is going to be a telephone conversation.  Once the phone rings, before the person on the receiving end even looks at the caller id or answers, thoughts of “Who is this?”, “where are they calling from?”, or “why are they calling?” arise.  Sometimes all of the above.  One of the biggest questions though is “What’s in it for me?”

Those questions, in addition to countless others, need to be addressed within 20 seconds.  The trick, however is to answer the questions without talking too much and boring the other person causing them to hang up, but giving them enough information to cause curiosity to learn more.

WHO? – Who are you? Just let them know your name and name of company if applicable.  Do you have mutual friends or did someone refer you?  Had you recently met or did you meet in the past and you are following up?  This would be the time to be a “name dropper” but limit it to just one or two people.

WHERE? – Part of this may have been addressed in the who part, but if not, now is the perfect time to let the other person know where you are calling from.

Saving the best for last, “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?” or WIIFM – Everybody today is extremely busy.  Even if someone isn’t truly busy compared to others, they still think they are.  Because of this, when picking up the phone, the person on the other end is going to be wondering how this conversation is going to benefit their life.  After you have established who you are and where you are calling from (your reason), you better have a something good lined up because this is your one shot.  Think features and benefits.  If you have competition, what features do you offer that will benefit this person that others don’t?  If you don’t have competition (in all actuality, you do, just maybe not specific) what features and benefits do you offer which warrant continuing this conversation?

Done with the right voice inflection and speed and catching the person at the right time on the right day, you may gain enough trust to continue building the relationship and going further with the conversation.

Below is a sample phone conversation using some of the tips above.  I have also added some additional questions, but using them is obviously completely up to you.  I plan on writing more next week so please check back on Friday and also please leave comments/questions/suggestions as I would greatly appreciate them!

Joe Customer – Hello?

You – Hi, is this Joe?

Joe – Yes, this is he.

You – Hi Joe, my name is Adam Iceskate from XYZ Company. I didn’t interrupt anything too hectic did I?  – I let him know my name and my company name and wanted to make sure I wasn’t interrupting anything.

Joe – No, nothing too hectic.

You – OK great!  The reason I’m calling is because we share a mutual connection on LinkedIn through Suzy Smith.  Are you guys really close or just acquaintances through networking? -Letting him know you share a mutual contact softens the call and shows you aren’t just some random telemarketer (even though you may be!)

Joe – Yes we have known each other for years.

You – Well I was talking with her the other day and she mentioned that your company is looking for some help with your website.  Is that the case?

Joe – Yeah, we have been talking about it for a while and we are now at the point we think it’s time to update things.

You – Perfect!  I don’t know how familiar you are with XYZ Company, but we specialize in website improvement! (Add 1 feature/1 benefit)  I know you are busy, but do you have 10 minutes next week I can come by and put a face with a name and show you how we could possibly help with your updates? -You restate your company name because chances are he wasn’t listening the first time or he forgot it. Here most people will go for the sale, but if you are respectful of the other person’s time, you are more likely to be invited to meet with them.

And that’s it!  Assuming the conversation with Suzy did take place and Suzy and Joe didn’t have some terrible falling out, Joe will trust you a little more than someone else who may just call and say:

“Hi, I’m Adam Iceskate from XYZ company.  We specialize in website improvement, can I come show how we can update yours?”

Put yourself in Joe’s shoes.  Which would you prefer?