How Can Sales Techniques Land You Your Next Job?

I recently had the honor and privilege to attend Career Partners International’s Annual General Meeting. For three days, some of the world’s brightest talent management minds were together to explore how our organization can reach more and more people across the globe. Naturally, one focus of the meeting was sales – and how we can increase ours.

When I work with clients and mention the word sales, I often see the look on their face change. “Sales” is a dirty word for many, conjuring images of straw hat and cane sales people selling the latest elixir. It shouldn’t be. Sales is a necessary part of any business, from Fortune 500 to not-for-profits.

And guess what? Sales are important in career transition too!

As I sat through the various presentations about target lists and “knowing your product,” I couldn’t help but think about how similar the entire career transition process is to sales. So, in the interest of being succinct, I took my top sales techniques and converted them into the context of career transition.

  1. No one will believe in your product if you do not believe in it yourself. Although this may seem obvious, I have heard countless people tell me they would only be able to sell something they believed in. Who wouldn’t? Nonetheless, one of the first victims of job loss is your pride and confidence. Sometimes you need to take a time out to regain your confidence before you can charge headfirst into finding a new role.
  2. No one will buy if you do not know your product. I experienced this recently when looking for a new family vehicle. With a family of five, we need a “people mover.” After many years of having a van, it was time to move onto something different. I was enquiring about an SUV at a dealership. Every time I asked the sales rep a question, he had to go “look up” the answer. Needless to say, we didn’t buy from him. Before you jump right back into job search mode, take the necessary time to figure out who you are and where you best fit. Is this transition period time for a “re-set,” or are you headed right back into the same role in the same industry. As someone once told me, when you know the why, the how is easy. If you know why you fit in a particular role and industry, the rest will be much easier.
  3. You cannot make a sale if you are not selling. Having dedicated time set aside for prospecting is critical to success. I have seen many salespeople who spend more time doing administrative tasks than actually prospecting. The same holds true for job searchers. Keep in mind that various techniques have different probabilities of success. For example, scouring job boards on the web has a low probability of success. Yet, too often, job seekers spend days looking for the “silver bullet.” Engage in activities with a higher degree of success like networking and prospecting. You will get better results.
  4. Remember the KISS principle – “keep it short and sweet.” Too often people think a long preamble is critical. It is not. In today’s frenzied world, less is more. You need to quickly tell them who you are and what you want. That’s all people want to know to determine if you are worth their time. Remember, everything worth saying can be said in under 30 seconds.
  5. Know your customer. I remember one of my first sales training events. The presenter recited a success story where he had researched the company prior to his sales presentation. When he completed the presentation, the CEO told him that he knew more about the company than anyone working in the company did. As a result, he picked up a lot of work. It always amazes me when someone in transition doesn’t take the time to learn even a little bit about a prospect. How can you know if what you have to offer is relevant to a customer if you haven’t researched their needs ahead of time?

No doubt there are many other sales tips and techniques that are equally relevant. These are my favorites. What are yours?

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  1. Melinda Brown's avatar
    Melinda Brown
    | Permalink
    Great article, Terry! One other tip to add would be to not underestimate yourself. I've come across many people who have no idea how special/unique their skills or backgrounds are. Also, don't sell yourself short by pointing out your weaknesses/shortcoming. Sell your strengths!

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