Let’s Face It; It’s All About Sales

It’s career day at your (or your child’s) high school  or college. Who is likely to be giving the talks? I’ll bet it’ll be professions like medicine, law and business management.

How often do those career days include someone from sales? I’d venture to say almost never. But truthfully, most of us spend a lot of our time selling, regardless of our title. Even in today’s tight job market; there are always open positions for sales people. Sales is an honorable profession and one where people with integrity and intelligence are truly needed.

Whether we’re looking for a job, trying to convince someone of our point of view or persuading a family member to do what we want; it’s all about sales. Sales is “the art of persuading.” I’m not talking about the sales ambush; where we are being forced to think about buying something we don’t want and getting pressured.

The most effective sales people understand their customer and match their product or service with the needs of that customer. In addition, they are often the best listeners, make an excellent living and have a lot of autonomy over their work day.

I mentor and coach small businesses as part of my volunteer commitment to SCORE ( an entity of the Federal government’s Small Business Administration). When I talk to entrepreneurs, I ask them if they think they are sales people. Inevitably they say no, but the  truth is that every entrepreneur needs to be a great sales person. They need to sell customers, investors, business partners and on and on.

Here are some sales tips that are also terrific ideas for everyday living. Here are my personal favorites:

  • Want to improve the quality of your communication? Ask a better question!
  • Guess what, it NOT about you.  It’s about them!
  • Stephen Covey once said “Most people do not listen with the ‘intent’ to understand. Most people listen with an intent to reply.”

What are your favorite sales tips? I need all the help I can get.

Never Judge a Book By It’s Cover… The #1 Networking Rule

Here’s a cool little video that describes why there’s no place for snobbery in networking.

In case you don’t have a chance to watch it, the person tells the story of a pink pantsuited, bracelet-jangling big haired blond who comes into a networking room where the marketing executive looks down on her… only to find out that she is personal friends with the one contact he cares about. Hmmm…

In some measure though, we’re all guilty of judging others. Some of that is human nature and we need to fight that every day of our lives. In our career, we need to make sure we have an open mind about how we can help others and how others can help us.

I have heard it over and over again from unemployed people when I suggest they talk to their neighbors. I hear, “they don’t know anyone” or “I’m embarrassed for them to know I’m still out of work” and other lame excuses. Get over it.

Maybe you can help your neighbor. Did you ever consider that? If you tackle networking like it’s a job, where the best scenario is a win/win and the worst scenario is that VERY LITTLE effort is put forth AND the results are lousy. No one said finding a new job is easy whether you currently have a job or not.

If you’re a bit stuck in your search;  find someone else to help. If you’re currently employed; find someone else to help. Choose wisely but help them; with a contact, a few hours of volunteer time, an idea or the best gift ever, listening.

Unemployed Are Not Being Considered for Some Open Positions – #Fail

A disturbing trend in recruiting involves employers not even considering the resume of someone who is unemployed. Here’s the text from a recent job ad:

“Will not consider/review anyone’s resume who is NOT currently employed — regardless of the  reason.”

The company who posted the ad believes that it’s better for them to get a new employee from the ranks of those who are currently working and happy. Hmmm…

Now we can debate the pros and cons of that logic but in a world where there are multiple candidates for any job, employers need to find some way to separate qualified from unqualified candidates. Apparently, under the law, using current employment status as a filter for screening candidates is not illegal unless it has a ‘disparate impact’ on minority groups.

Whining about how this isn’t fair won’t get us anywhere. We need to ignore these companies and find a job. For the employed who are looking for a new opportunity I suggest that you stay away from any company that uses a person’s ‘current employment status’ as a criteria for employment. When they have cuts, what will the criteria be? People whose parents need care? People whose children have a chronic illness?

If it looks like discrimination and sounds like discrimination… it probably is.

For those of you who are unemployed, my suggestion is– DO NOT spend 2 seconds thinking about these short-sighted employers. If you are consistently building your skills (in this you have the advantage over your employed brethren) and have a positive attitude; it will all work out. Don’t let the turkeys get you down.