Who knew you were a salesman? (or woman!)

13 08 2009

One of the fundamental tricks to being an effective salesperson is listening to people’s pain points and providing them with solutions that will alleviate their troubles.  The solution being your product.

What people forget is that you are your own product every day.  I am my best asset.  My brain, my experience, my ability to find common ground and connect with someone.  These assets are the foundation for my product.  ME!  (did you see the first sentence in the paragraph?)

Storybook from Gao Guangyans Loneoceans Freehand Art Gallery

Storybook from Gao Guangyan's Loneoceans Freehand Art Gallery

Tell your story

When you finally get your interviewers in the room, they are going to ask you a series of questions that help them understand your story.  Who are you?  What are your strengths?  What are your potential weaknesses and are these weaknesses deal breakers for the role?

Be prepared to tell them your story.  Who are you?  Where did you come from?  How did you get here?

I’m Stefanie.  I am from San Francisco and I’m a middle child.  I also happen to have innate leadership skills that showed in early days of high school student government and manifested itself in numerous adventurous endeavors including entertainment PR, studying abroad, career centers and computer labs.  How did I get there?  Consistent hard work, the ability to stay calm during a crisis and my ability to connect with people.  What is your story?

(Your story is not a chance for you to brag about yourself, even if you are that amazing.  It is the beginning of your honest salesman pitch.   By being honest about who you are, what struggles you may have faced, and why you’re an asset, you are showing off your product.  You!)

Listening Image courtesy of Network Solutions

Listening from Network Solutions

Next.  Ask questions the right questions and listen.  Actively.

Employers hire because they have a need to be filled.  It’s not just a job to them.  They have a business critical service that you are going to need to deliver on.  They might be short handed, they might need you to file papers for the first 2 months.  Whatever it is, you, the astute interviewee, should figure out what it is that they need, and then figure out how you can help to fulfill that need.
And make their lives easier.

They need someone who is great with excel, because they have these crazy spreadsheets of data that need to be combed and analyzed.  Is that you?  They need someone who has a great visual eye to design a new website for their company.  Is that you?  If you are not good at solving their problem, should you try to fit yourself in as their solution?  Probably not.

For the employer, it’s a bigger pain in the butt for them to train you on common tasks than to hire someone else who knows how to do it already.  Think round hole, square peg.

That being said, brush up and stay current with your skills, regardless of whether you are employed.  Being nimble and well versed in various languages (not just linguistics, but programming, and business/law/industry jargon), tools, and subject matters are going to be your biggest asset.

Woah.  I just told you what your biggest assets are.  Your skills and expertise.  But then, I’ve been telling you this from the start!  Refine them, expand your knowledge base, and then sell them YOU in your next interview.  You can do it!

Why?  You’re awesome.  You’re just unemployed. 🙂




4 responses

13 08 2009

Thanks Stef for the insight! What you say about round hole square peg is definitely true. From the employer’s point of view, they want someone who fits the job. And for us the employees, we’d be so much happier at a place where we get to use our best skills. So being honest is definitely the right way to go. And who knows, maybe the interview will lead to another more suitable position!

13 08 2009

So true Stef! I think ability to sell yourself is an invaluable quality even after your employed. You may not be in sales, you might be in research or design, but that doesn’t mean that knowing your product (which is your skills and what you offer) and being able to keep people in your industry aware of what you have to offer isn’t just as important. So many people don’t realize that if you want an employer to recognize your work (read promotions or in the economy choose to keep you during layoffs) that most of the time you have to speak up and sell your hard work, keep fresh in their mind that you continue to be an asset to the company. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way. I thought I’m hard worker, I’m excellent at what I do, I’m continually growing and they recognize that. Wrong! I was laid off. Lesson learned: always be selling!

“To be successful in sales simply talk to lots of people everyday.”

16 08 2009
GUEST POST: Your Personal Brand « Recession Mama

[…] sez:  Today’s guest post comes from Stefanie.  She writes a great blog called “Awesome and Unemployed.” There’s a lot of great career advice on there on how to stand out among the hundreds of other […]

16 11 2012

Superb, what a blog it is! This website provides useful
data to us, keep it up.


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