Getting a job is selling; learn from the best

You may not have a career in selling, but the job hunt is all about selling. The hunt for your next role is like a full-time sales job. You are working a wide number of prospects, qualifying each one, presenting yourself as the solution and working towards closing the sale and getting the job. Why not learn from the best sales people how to get this done?

The tag line of the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) is, “What the best companies do.” It fits perfectly! This organization studies the best practices of companies achieving top performance levels and publishes the findings to its members.

A couple of years ago, in the midst of the recession, the CEB studied sales organizations in an effort to profile the type of sales people who would do the best in tough times and as the economy recovered. They identified a profile they titled “Challenger” that had three components leading to selling success:

Teach for Differentiation:

Re-frame the way customers view their business and their needs to set yourself apart in the market.

Tailor for Resonance

Link your capabilities to customers’ individual goals to overcome specific barriers to purchase.

Assert Control

Openly pursue goals in a direct, but not aggressive way, to overcome increased customer risk aversion.

The name “Challenger” sounds risky, but the study shows decision makers want to be challenged. Many companies have since adopted methods for what has become known as commercial teaching. What company isn’t looking for new ideas?

How does this relate to your job hunt, whether or not you work in sales?

Plan what you can teach a decision maker in a job interview. Study the company and how they are doing things today; look for alternate ideas you can present. Challenge them to think differently.

Ensure you have tailored everything for the interviewer. This starts with the resume and cover letter, but continues throughout the interview process. Make sure you understand what is important to the decision makers and follow through to tailor your message so it resonates with them.

Finally, this is the tough one, you have to assert control. Make the interview team understand the results you can achieve and reinforce how an alternate decision will get lesser results.

Learning from the best sales people will improve your quest to close the big sale (selling yourself for a job) and land a dream job.

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photo credit: NASA

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