Looking for a job and selling are very similar, aren’t they? I spend most of my volunteer time helping people understand how to apply sales principles to job-seeking, and I had an interesting conversation today. The gentleman with whom I shared coffee is a really nice guy. He has an advanced degree and a generation of experience in senior management jobs. He has exponentially increased his network in a very short period of time, and he is connecting with all of the right people. On the surface, he is doing an amazing job.
He is, however, making one very costly mistake. He is spending time with business analytic tools rather than lead generation tools to help him build his target lists and sales pipeline. He doesn’t know the difference because he is an analyst – not a salesperson. Will he achieve his goal of finding a job? Yes, he will. He is motivated and has a great background. Will he achieve his goal as quickly as he would like? He may, but it is not likely.
Why is that? He is spending too much time and effort qualifying every lead. He told me that his ideal prospect met three simple criteria that are easily identified through popular social media and/or free lead generation tools, but he spends time doing online research and reading corporate reports prior to making an initial contact. He likes to meet with senior executives at his target companies, show them his knowledge/experience and talk to them about issues that are important to them. What a waste of time.
Why is that a waste of time? He hasn’t taken the time to talk to anybody in the organization – decision maker or not – to learn about what is really going on in the company. With all due respect to our friends at all of the companies providing company and industry information, they are only one tool in the never-ending quest to learn more about the companies with which we would like to do business.
People hire people. People engage vendors and service providers. Companies don’t. Engage with people and do the right things.
- Identify your targets based on a reasonable number of criteria.
- Get to know the decision makers and influencers at your targets.
- Have a product they desire.
- Approach them with a message/delivery method that is meaningful to them.
- Follow up appropriately
- Turn target identification into a hobby.
- Assume that your data source really knows who is in control.
- Assume that you know what they want.
- Turn your introduction into a sales pitch.
- Be a pest by trying to sell something they don’t need right now (do, however, ask for leads)
As always, please comment or reach out to me privately if you have any questions. Happy hunting!