What “they” don’t want you to know about finding a job…
As I divest myself of personal belongings, one book that has survived several cuts is Making It In High Tech Sales by Ken Pedersen.
Ken provides his sales methodology for success in high technology selling. Every salesman must develop a system. Fortunately many of them have written books about their success methodology so you can shorten your learning curve by availing yourself of their wisdom. While a lot of sales books go deeper into prospecting-influencing-closing scenarios, my needs for finding paying work are much simpler. By understanding how others perform the sales function, you can eliminate stumbling around trying to figure it all out just to land a job. Making It In High Tech Sales is one such book worth careful study and implementation.
My own book Employment Game describes how to use those techniques of salesmanship to identify and win work opportunities as an alternative to the standard resume and HR interviewing process. I did not invent the salesmanship method for work searching. My claim to uniqueness is that I experienced what I was writing about as I looked for work in my industry. I tried to impart the practical experience of how my personal system evolved out of my amateur efforts and reading other people’s sales methods. It is gratifying to learn the tactics, put them to work, and see positive results.
In the appendix I provide a short list of books that have been useful in developing my system. I will post some more detailed book reviews in the future.
There are a lot of great sales books out there that you can buy used from Amazon for the cost of shipping or get through your local library. In general, the best ones will be written by sales pros who describe :
Building marketing content
Contacting them to get a sales appointment
Delivering a practiced sales presentation
Managing the prospect towards a sale
There may be hundreds, if not thousands of books like this in the sales genre. Some are specific to certain businesses and industries and will provide competitive information your co-workers will never learn unless someone directs them to. Read as many as you can and do the exercises. You will pick up small tips from various sources that resonate with you and help you build a personal sales system.
And perhaps that’s why I have held on to Making It In High Tech Sales. Ken has a list of Rules for High Technology Selling that he defines throughout the book. One that struck me as a personal weakness to be cognizant of is
Rule 10 : He who reveals the most about himself loses
When you talk about yourself you expose your throat. The information you provide gives the client valuable clues to your motivations and personal needs. It provides negotiating leverage. Your background may lead clients to come to certain conclusions about your priorities and values…Therefor say as little as possible about yourself.
…you must decide whether your primary goal is to make new friends or sell. If it is the latter, strive to remove from the sales environment anything that can lead to obstacles. Your opinions rarely push the sale forward, they can raise roadblocks…keep your opinions out unless you are regarded as an expert and your opinions will specifically aid your proposition.
Expect to find yourself breaking this rule. When you interact with humans you become human. When you find yourself propping up your own ego by relating accomplishments, opinions, or other personal information, realize that you are not controlling the interview because you are throwing unfamiliar ingredients into the sales recipe. If you can sensitize yourself to this conduct, you will be better able to control it. By recognizing it, you empower yourself to regain your focus.
How it Applies to Your Employment Game
I have made the painful blunder of blabbing inanely during the sales meeting and getting rejected for it. While I perceive myself to be a two-fisted man’s man, those who know me would beg to differ and say I have a strong need for attention and approval that causes me to act like a fool in many interpersonal situations. Most of my prospects have attended military academies and have advanced degrees in physics and engineering, not to mention their career and business achievements. They are unimpressed by anything I have done and attempts to win them over with Ramboesque braggadocio always fail.
When you have gotten the sales appointment and delivered your pitch, you have already won because you are executing salesmanship. You don’t have to go beyond this because you have done your job to that point. Anything you say after the sales meeting can and will blow the opportunities you have so carefully developed. It’s a pitfall to remind yourself of before you meet your prospect. It happens because you have finished your game and suddenly feel the release of pressure, so you may pop off by saying something stupid. Close out your meeting and get the hell out of there.
And this is a trap sprung on you by the standard interview route. The whole contrivance is to get you to start blabbing and reveal your weaknesses. It situates them in control and makes you the beta and the rube. Before long you are yapping and dancing on your hind legs for their amusement. They have put you on the defensive and instead of selling them your skills like a pro you are talking about yourself to win their approval.
It is crucial to keep the sales meeting focused on the product or service that you can provide the customer and to guide discussion away from you personally. Employment Game means being in control throughout the sales process so you still win either way it goes. If you find yourself in a traditional HR-guided interview, be aware of their attempts to establish the frame and turn it around so the focus is on your skills and how they will help the prospect’s company be more profitable.