During the job search, many seem to forget the primary point of the entire process: selling you (the candidate) to a buyer (the employer).
So even if you’re not going into sales, learning the deal-closing tactics used daily by the best sales professionals will help you get hired.
Here are just a few of the sales techniques easily applied to your job search:
1. Leverage Referrals
In sales, when a customer tells a prospect how great your product/service is, that referral has much more impact than anything you might say about what you’re selling.
In today’s job market, more than 40 percent of hires come from employee referrals… so you leveraging referrals in the exact same way is a highly effective job search strategy. Call on those within your network that might work at one of your target companies; ask them to put in a good word for you with the hiring managers. If you don’t know someone at the company yet, network your way in. After all, the world’s best selling professionals know that sometimes sales is all about persistence.
2. Be Agressive
In sales, you don’t wait for the customer to come to you — you do anything you can to generate as many leads as possible. Once you have those leads, you call on each and every one to first build a relationship and then, when the time is right, sell.
Just like a salesperson, create a list of companies you want to approach. Then, don’t just submit your application online and expect a response — make sure HR knows who you are! There’s so much competition in the job market these days that it’s incredibly hard to stick out. Be creative, and be reasonably aggressive.
3. Customize Every “Proposal”
A salesperson would never send the same “pitch” to her clients. They cater each proposal to the personality of the brand, and the culture of the staff. Truly great sales professionals are even able to determine the personality of the decision maker and customize the pitch to their psyche.
In your job search, this advice couldn’t hold more true. Look at the company’s website and social media to get a sense of their brand and personality. Ask yourself, ‘what values does this company find most important?’, and attempt to incorporate those values into your resume and cover letter.
Digging deeper into their site, find out the culture at the company. Is the staff mostly older? Younger? Are they work horses, or do they still like to let loose and have fun? This information is crucial when establishing new connections at that company and when deciding what to include in your resume, cover letter, and/or portfolio.
4. Use The ‘LAER’ Process
You might not be familiar with LAER, an acronym for listen, acknowledge, explore, and respond. In sales, LAER is used most often to effectively handle any objections that might come up… which also makes it the perfect job search tool.
How and when do you use LAER to get a job offer? Here’s one possible scenario:
At the end of your interview, you ask the hiring manager if they have any reservations about hiring you, or if they see a weakness in you compared to other candidates. The recruiter says they like you and that you could, on paper, do the job… but you just don’t have the experience that other candidates have. Here’s where LAER comes into play:
- Listen. You won’t be able to give an effective answer if you’re deciding what to say before they even finish talking. Listen to everything the employer has to say, then pause for a second or two to make sure they are finished stating their position. No doubt, listening is a cornerstone of great personal selling… and an in-demand soft skill employers universally admire.
- Acknowledge. Tell the manager you heard what they said; perhaps even repeat a version of the objection back to them. Thank them for being up front with their concerns; let them know you appreciate their feedback. This may not seem like much, but it goes a long way in assuring their issue has not fallen on deaf ears… and shows significant emotional intelligence (EQ).
- Explore. Ask the recruiter with further qualifying questions tailored to finding out more about the issue. In this case, ask them something like, “Can you give me a little more insight on the length and type of experience other candidates may have, and how that experience may help them do this job well?” Again, make sure you listen attentively; perhaps even take notes so you can better respond.
- Respond. After you’ve carefully considered their input, respond. Your response, of course, will vary greatly depending on their input. Always, however, tailor your answer to the needs of the employer, not yours. Restating your qualifications won’t help here… so continue the conversation by formulating a creative solution. Then deliver your response with humble confidence.
That last point — confidence — is key in the LAER process. If you apply what you learned well, LAER can turn a bad interview into a good one and a good interview into a great one!
In today’s job market, the best job seekers are the best sellers. Leverage these sales tactics in your job search… and see how many more “deals” you close!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at ComeRecommended!
About the Author: Alex Macksoud is a senior at Central Michigan University studying advertising with a minor in marketing. Aside from being a content creator trainee, Alex is also a social media trainee at Come Recommended. He has heaps of experience in advertising, social media, public relations, content creation, SEO, and marketing – mainly from internships and leadership roles in student organizations.
Image courtesy of positionignition.com. Thank you!