This blog post is not just for sales roles!
Finding the right sales job for you is essential to career success! There are many types of sales jobs from highly consultative, relationship building roles to services/order taking roles to intense high-pressure, cold calling hunter/closer roles. Knowing the type of salesperson you are and what kind of environment you thrive in is essential.
Most salespeople are poorly matched to the role they are in and so simply do not thrive. Take some time to determine the right role, the right industry and the right kind of company culture you will do best in and then target jobs in those kinds of businesses. Chasing jobs you do not like or want will waste your time, drain your energy, sap your confidence and damage your career – a resumé filled with sales jobs lasting just a year is a huge red flag to recruiters!
Take your time, assess your strengths and weaknesses and then chase the job you really want and is honestly a good fit for you!
Decide the job you want to do and then become the person that does that job!
Dan Kennedy wrote ‘your positioning becomes your position’! A great marketing idea, which is essential to finding the job you want. Life is a target game and when we know where we are going the chance of getting there increases dramatically. If you want to become a great salesperson earning a six or seven-figure income then you need to ‘position’ yourself as that kind of salesperson. This involves developing the skills, the mindset and the style of a highly successful salesperson. Decide who are going to be and then develop a detailed plan on how you are going to become that person – study great sales leaders, listen to audio and video programs by the greatest salespeople, learn to walk and talk as the greatest salespeople do, and practice your sales craft until you have mastered selling. Anybody can do this and once you have you will find that the opportunities that you want will come to you – almost as if by magic!
The Power Of Leverage
As you read through these strategies and tips remember it is through leverage that the real power will happen! Doing one thing is good but doing five things at once is much more powerful than the simple sum of the individual actions! Leverage is what can make these strategies work in 30 days or less – the less leverage, the more time!
The Job Hunt!
Whether you are currently employed or not the job hunt is frustrating but with the right approach you can find great opportunities quicker than you ever imagined. Whatever job you are looking to find the very best place to start is in the job you are in. Every week I meet salespeople who have told me that they have left the job they were in find a new job – this is a disastrous approach. The very best way to get the job of your dreams is to stay in the job you are in and become such as success at it that you will become a magnet for employers looking to hire great salespeople. Employed salespeople are much more likely to be offered a better role than an unemployed salesperson because an unemployed salesperson begs the question: ‘if you are such a great salesperson how is it that you cannot sell yourself well enough to already have a job.’ There is no good answer to this question!
Whether you are currently employed or not the following steps will put you in the very best position to be hired a quickly as possible. It is a competitive world and to stand out, get notice and get the interviews you will need to separate yourself from the crowd. Do what everyone else does and you will get what everyone else has – and that’s not much!
Start With The Low Hanging Fruit!
It is human nature to be lazy and company recruiters are no different. Most company recruiters will hire people they know or people recommended first. It is faster, cheaper and safer than going for the unknown. This is what is often known as the ‘hidden’ job market. Those great jobs that are never advertised and often given to a recommend salesperson virtually on a silver platter!
The key to accessing the hidden market is the ‘six degrees of separation’ or using your personal network. This is the network of friends, relatives, and industry contacts that know you well and will promote you to their contacts. Tell your friends and relatives that you are looking for a new opportunity and if they like and respect you than you are sure they will help!
Industry contacts are more challenging because, if employed, the last thing you want to do is to shop yourself around the competitors. This has a way of getting back to your managers faster than you can imagine. You can, however, position to get noticed and approached!
Never Look Like You Need A Job!
The best Salespeople never need to apply for jobs – customers and competitors constantly offer them jobs. In fact, I would say that if you are not offered a job once a year you are probably not doing a great job at your current role – think about that!
If you have decided to make a change then the best approach is to position yourself publicly as dynamic sales star and get the recruiters to find you! As a recruiter, the vast majority of salespeople I place have not applied to a single job posting and, in fact, are not even looking for jobs. I make it a point to find great salespeople everyday (LinkedIn is my primary tool for this!) and pitch them on working for my great clients.
Become great at your current sales role, position yourself for success and create a powerful industry persona and the jobs will find you!
Have you ever tried this? I Google every candidate I ever consider and it is surprising what comes up! The majority of so-called salespeople that I Google have only one public listing and that is on Facebook – not good! The best, most desirable salespeople have numerous listings – LinkedIn, Twitter, a blog and dozens of industry listings and publications. If you are not showing up on Internet listings then you are not out there getting noticed – that tells volumes about your activity!
If your Facebook profile is public, change the settings immediately to make it completely private. Your Facebook profile is not a professional profile, don’t let it be visible. People judge us by our content and by your friends and their content so conservative is prudent. If you have compromising photos and content on the Internet then approach the hosting websites and ask them to remove the content. Most websites will do so!
Your Google search should bring up your LinkedIn profile as the first or second listing and if you’re not on LinkedIn you need to catch up. LinkedIn is the most recognized business network and if you don’t have a quality profile you are screaming to the world that you ‘just don’t get technology’ and that is not the right message!
Start with your Resumé
In the UK we refer to this as the CV or Curriculum Vitae or a brief account of a person’s education, qualifications, and previous occupations, typically sent with a job application.
Brief is the keyword here. As a salesperson your CV should focus on your achievements first. As a recruiter I do not want to read lengthy descriptions about the activities of past employers or even your education. I want to know about your sales achievement! Make that the focus. The design, word selection and presentation should present you as a strong, confident highly competent salesperson – leave superfluous content out unless it supports your position as a sales star.
The vast majority of CVs I read are complete and total crap!
I read maybe one in twenty that comes even close to quality. A good CV should probably take twenty-hours or more of careful writing, editing and revision to become a tight, powerful document. A CV is NOT as list of facts it is a sales tool and a marketing document. Be honest but it should also present you in the best light. You do NOT need to list every job, however, it does need to accurately reflect your experience and education. Be smart, be clever and don’t lie!
I have dozens of pet peeves when it comes to CVs – here a just a few!
- Do not use your wife’s email address
- Do check the spelling
- Do list your residential address (yes, it matters)
- Do use a professional email address ( missuganda@ or sexybob@ does impress )
- Do list a current telephone number
Once you have a CV that you have spent hours getting just right get relevant people you respect and trust to review it and give feedback. By relevant I mean someone with a professional role in business – not your Nan or kindergarten teacher.
There are 250 million professionals on LinkedIn. There is an overwhelming chance that your next boss is on LinkedIn and an absolute guarantee that every recruiter in the world is there – if you’re not there get on today and if you have a profile spend the time to get it right!
There are hundreds of important tips to building a successful presence on LinkedIn – please see the links below for details – however, these are the key points.
- Write your profile in the first person – own it!
- Your profile is to promote you NOT your employer – focus on your achievements
- Use a professional photo that DOES NOT include your wife or children
- Make sure your profile is grammatically correct – this is important!
- Get 500+ connections fast so that you look connected
- Edit the settings for maximum public visibility
- List your mobile number and job search email address in the contact details
There are literally dozens of tips to make the most of your LinkedIn profile and activity and if you want to go deeper these articles will help:
Twitter is an extremely powerful tool to connect with people. Most individuals manage their own Twitter account and so utilised it to get people’s attention. If done correctly you can really help yourself get noticed in a positive way.
For example if you had a meeting with me that you felt good about your could Tweet:
‘Enjoyed meeting the great people at The Sales Experts! @sellingexperts @wynnathandavis’
Even if I do not following your Twitter feed I would receive notification of your Tweet. Be careful before sending but if used correctly can really increase your visibility.
Following companies that you would like to work for can provide you will useful information about the current events there or could even provide you with early notice of job opportunities, as many companies will Tweet about new jobs before they will advertise. By using #hashtags you can search for jobs in your area or sector.
Social media is an important sales and marketing tool and when presented with two quality candidates where one has a well-developed and dynamic social media presence who do you think the company will choose! This is important – figure it out! If you don’t understand social media and want a crash course join www.empireavenue.com it is like a social media stock market and you will quickly learn how savvy entrepreneurs and businesses are currently using social media to get noticed and position themselves in the marketplace.
If you are passionate about a particular industry – perhaps events, or technology – then creating a blog can be a very powerful method to position yourself as an expert. Be careful that you do not write anything that would compromise your employer’s position in the market! That being said blogs truly show you are passionate about your subject matter and they will show up in Google searches of your name. Potential employers will see that your career means more to you than just 9 to 5 and a pay cheque!
Online Job Boards
There are literally hundreds of online job boards and once you have your killer CV in hand it is possible in one day to get your CV quickly in the hands of recruiters and in CV databases. If you have taken time to know what kind of role you want then ONLY apply for jobs that fit your criteria. As a recruiter I see people that apply for every single job we have listed – they are NOT taken seriously – be strategic!
Working With Recruiters
There is one thing that you must absolutely understand. Recruiters work for the hiring company NOT for candidates! A good recruiter will treat all candidates with respect and honesty but recruiters are NOT in the business of finding you a job.
Recruiters are providing an important search and filter service for employers and are looking for the best possible candidates for their clients – period.
If candidates expect me, as a recruiter, to find them a job it tells me that they do not understand how the world works and they are looking for someone else to solve their problems. A good candidate makes it as easy as possible for me to place them by providing a quality CV, being available for job interviews, being on time and letting me know if their circumstances change. Candidates who waste my time is not serious – this is simple. The recruiter is not your coach, your baby sitter or your mother! A good recruiter will support you and guide you through the process but hold up your end! Understand this and you are much more likely to get sent to interviews where you have a strong chance of getting hired. Remember at the end of the day if my client gets a great candidate then I will get more work, if I talk them into talking a less than great candidate I will lose a client – understand this and the system will work great for you!
Perhaps 1 in 100 hundred candidates that I interview impress me with their personal presentation or interview skills. Here are a few tips that may help in preparing for the interview of your dream job!
- Lose five pounds – because we can all use that and it will raise your confidence
- Get a good haircut – quality makes a difference – look sharp
- No facial hair – too many negatives – just don’t
- Go classic – clothes, make up, shoes, you cannot go wrong with classic
- Know your own CV like the back of your hand
- Read everything on the company at least three times
- Visit the dentist – bad teeth are a turn off
- No perfume – why turn someone off over something that is not important?
- Don’t dress like your going to a party dress like your going to a funeral
- Don’t be late – no matter what the reason
- Do not talk about promotions or future goals talk about the job at hand
- Do NOT talk about divorce, mental breakdowns or health problems
Arrive on time, be perfectly dressed and clean, be positive and pleasant and answer the questions. Don’t talk too much unless invited to do so.
The goal of a CV is to get you an interview, the goal of the interview is to get a second interview, and the goal of the second interview is to get an offer. Do not discuss money, holidays or any others terms until you have a job offer. Once the company has they decided they want you and has made an offer that is the indication that they have made an emotional commitment in you joining the company. This is the magic window when you have some opportunity to negotiate – this window closes almost immediately upon hiring.
Always follow-up every interview with a thank you email indicating your interest in the role – then leave it – you can chase down a recruiter but NEVER the employer as this is the biggest turnoff imaginable. Nobody wants desperate or hungry.
If you don’t get the role make sure to connect with both the employer and recruiter on LinkedIn. Lots of hires don’t work out for one reason or another and a pleasant connection can go a long way to securing a solid relationship with someone who could help you in the future. When I tell a candidate, via email that they were not selected and I receive no response that tell me a lot about that person and it is not positive!
Once you get your next great sales job then that is the time to start sowing the seeds for your next amazing opportunity! It could be two years or five years away but by digging your well now you will never be thirsty again!