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It's (not) all about me
Even if your day job isn't "sales", how often do you engage in the act of selling? More than you might realize. We pitch ideas to our managers. We sell our employees on what they should do. We (try to) convince our children why one course of action is better than another. And certainly, when it comes to managing our careers, we are selling ourselves into new responsibilities, bigger raises, important promotions, and special projects.
The best advice of 20 years ago suggested a formalized selling process, that might be applied to your "sales" efforts:
- Develop the product (Complete Education, Earn experience, and Buff up the Resume)
- Meet the customer and tell them about the product benefits (Send resume and cover letter; networking)
- Determine the customer's objections (Interview Process)
- Address objections (Negotiate the offer)
- Close the sale (Sign the employment contract)
Some news: this advice makes as little sense now as it did 20 years ago. And yet, many still mindlessly follow it. The fatal flaw is that it is all about "me", and says nothing about the requirements of the customer. What are the customer's needs? What problem are they hoping to solve? What would the "perfect solution" from their perspective really look like?
The implications are enormous. If you knew just a few of the answers, you wouldn't waste your time applying for jobs (or hoping for promotions) for which you were not the best candidate. And you could spend your time improving the "product" (you) to better fit what the customer was looking for.
Consider this different sales approach, which changes the focus dramatically:
- Identify potential partners (Networking and Research)
- Understand the problem they are trying to solve (Networking and Information Interviews)
- Determine whether your product will address the requirement. (Resume)
- Begin developing trust (Interview Process)
- Start Relationship (Agree on offer and sign employment contract)
This week's action item: The next time you are trying to sell anything, move the centre of gravity to the other party. This is true whether you are selling services, products, ideas, and especially yourself.
Make It Happen Tipsheet
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Copyright © 2007 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: January 23, 2007
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