Along with getting married, death of a loved one, divorce, and relocating, job hunting is one of the most stressful life events—which is why you hate selling.
Sales is like going on job interviews day after day. Except it doesn’t end when you land the job. It only delays the inevitable “rinse and repeat.”
Deep down inside you know you’re not really “selling your services”—you’re selling yourself. And the reason you struggle is because—deep down inside—you don’t believe in your product.
If you’re like me, you’re probably more keenly aware of your faults rather than your strengths. Which makes getting rejected once or twice (never mind several times) something to be avoided—which is why you hate selling.
Yet, every good sales person knows every product has its inherent strengths and weakness, too. A blender does a poor job of making phone calls, which is why I also own a cell phone.
Instead, imagine you were a product rather than a person. As such, what value do you provide? A great question to ask on a job interview is, “What problem are you trying to solve by hiring me?”
Here’s a problem all employers and managers face—unreliable employees. Address that unspoken fear and you’ve set yourself apart from the other applicants.
Whether it’s buying or hiring, decision-makers do so for both tangible and intangible reasons. Although it not may be 100 percent accurate, I consider the tangible aspects as the logical reasons, and the intangible aspects as the emotional ones. If I’m looking to hire an HTML coder, technical proficiency is the cost of entry.
That’s tangible. But on an emotional level, do I like you? Sales gurus will tell you that building rapport and developing trust are two key factors involved in winning the sale. Or getting hired.
In What Sales Winners Do Differently, RAIN Group has identified three levels of successful selling:
Level 1: “Connect”
Buyers must perceive that the seller understands their needs and has a solution that can help. A potential employer will want to know if you’ll be part of the problem or part of the solution.
Level 2: “Convince”
Sellers do not close deals unless they convince buyers that the risks are acceptable and they’ll get a worthwhile return. This means you must convince your prospective employer that you’ll produce more than you consume. Remember, the company must make more money from what you produce than what you’re being paid to produce it. It’s called capitalism.
Level 3: “Collaborate”
This is when the seller becomes a key component in the buyer’s success by bringing new ideas to the table and working with the buyer as a team. As someone who runs my department like I ran my business, I’d much rather have people who work with me, not for me.
These are intangible aspects that go beyond mere technical expertise and make you invaluable as a vendor or an employee. Those of us who sell our services understand that earning the business requires that value is perceived. But keeping the business requires we demonstrate that value. As an employee, developing the same mindset goes a long way towards both getting and keeping that job—dream or otherwise.
Former owner and partner of web firm Jenesis Technologies, John is currently Director of Digital Strategy at Haines Local Search, a company providing local search marketing solutions to SMBs, including print and Internet Yellow Pages, web design, and local SEO. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks. When not working or spending time with his family, John offers great sales and marketing advice on his blog, Small Business Marketing Sucks.