Here’s the backstory. My roommate, David, was recently let go from his corporate sales job and entered the job hunt. Luckily for him, I know a thing or two about recruiting sales peeps. This is a short anecdote of how I helped him find a job within two weeks which I hope you eager job seekers out there can use these examples as you search for your next sales gig.
Day 1, most job seekers do what I call an application blast where you try to get your resume and name out there as much as possible. This is a lazy approach and hiring managers can easily spot these application blasts.
It’s nearly impossible to personalize your message and applications to multiple different opportunities when each company and job opening has different visions, mission statements and goals tied to them.
What should you do instead?
Take the list of 10-20 openings you’ve gathered and pick the five strongest roles that match your expertise you’ve gathered during your career. Now take these 5 openings and research the companies, the decision makers within them and any shared interests you can find amongst the companies and their respective decision makers whom you might be talking with. Then develop a powerful message to why you’re the person who can help these companies hit their goals.
This is what I expect to see when I’m interviewing candidates for our clients at A Sales Guy, Recruiting. How much research has the candidate done prior to our phone interview? Do they know the names of the sales leadership and hiring leadership they’d be talking with next? Can they speak to any recent news that the hiring companies have pushed out recently?
When you’re interviewing for a sales role you need to view the interview process much like a sales process, starting with “prospecting” the company and finding information to tie correlations and value added messaging to your “offering” as they’re continuously qualifying you as their next hire.
So, how did I help David land a job so quickly?
He developed a list of the 5 strongest openings that matched his expertise and that would also be a great cultural fit (this was determined by researching the company’s and its team members).
I coached him on reading through a job description and articulating his conversations with these hiring managers based on what the job descriptions listed and the research he gathered. How? Job descriptions are essentially outlines telling you what they need done and you need to drive these points home with them. Not sharing what experience you have but rather what expertise you bring to the table and how this correlates with you being able to get shit done.
Knowing part of the David’s next job was going to involve virtual demos and face-to-face meetings we recorded mock Q/A’s and evaluated his perceived confidence, body language, vocal tonality, diction and eye contact. All of which would be essential facets in conducting successful demos and face-to-face meetings.
We worked on his “story”. One of the biggest differentiators in A Sales Guy, Recruiting’s methodologies in getting down to the candidate’s story. What makes them unique? How creative are they? How do they think? Are they coachable? Do they posses grit? By framing our interviews based on the “STAR” approach (Situation, Task, Approach, Result) I want candidates to be able to walk me through previous situations where they experienced obstacles and how they worked through them.
I don’t care about your greatest strength or your resume for that matter, but I do care how you absorb feedback/coaching or how can you demonstrate your creativeness which are both significant factors correlated to a successful salesperson. I challenged David to be able to have examples ready to go so he could walk these hiring managers through several different STAR examples pertaining to the job description “must-haves” and how he possesses said expertise. When you frame your interviews like this you are able to take control of the conversations and help your future employer feel comfortable that you should be their next hire.
I also introduced him to unique follow-up approaches such as “bombbomb” or “Viewedit” which are video-email tools to separate yourself from the pool of candidates whom I’m guessing aren’t leveraging these great tools in their process. And it worked. The hiring managers loved the uniqueness and were relieved to not receive the same cookie-cutter follow-up they receive 99% of the time.
Some of these approaches may not be entirely new, but I challenge you job seekers out there to continuously search for ways to differentiate yourself in a world where the majority of the people fighting for the same jobs are idling at the status-quo.