Why everybody is in Sales, even you

Have you heard the saying that ‘everybody is in sales’? If not, you might be wondering how this can be and where this is going?

Sales Perception

For many people the very mention of ‘sales’ is a dirty word and sends shudders down them, conjuring up visions of pushy double glazing salesmen, estate agents (real estate) annoying spam phone callers or emails.  Does this sound like a familiar perception?

You might also be thinking that in your job or career you have nothing to sell, especially if you work in the public sector/services. However, the reality is that you don’t need to be in a ‘sales job’ or have a product or service to sell. Regardless of whether you are in HR, IT, Finance, Marketing, private, public or charity sector or running your own business, you will need to ‘sell yourself’ in numerous work situations e.g.

  • To win at an interview and get the job
  • Secure a contract or project
  • Gain promotion
  • Get approval for training or development you are aspiring to

Let’s face it, as professionals, we spend our lives ‘selling’ ideas or decisions you want your boss, staff or team to buy into e.g. a better way of doing things, the need for change, who you should hire, fire etc.

Selling Yourself at Events

When you attend conferences, seminars or networking events, depending on your job or situation, you are likely to be selling what you or your company/organisation has to offer and how this benefits others. I’m sure you do this almost as second nature, without thinking about this as selling? I experienced a wonderful example of this at a networking event which I will mention later.

Selling Yourself to Progress Your Career

You might be an aspiring executive or manager in which case you will need to sell yourself in many ways in order to achieve your desired goal by way of:

  • CV/resume
  • Job applications
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Interview/s
  • Networking meetings

Again, the reality is that people who are good at selling themselves, get on in life. I’m sure you know people like this who always seem to get promoted, move into better jobs or be successful in their careers and life. So what do I really mean by ‘sales’? After all ‘selling’, for many people, means forcing people to buy something they don’t really want doesn’t it?

A different take on ‘Sales’

What if I substituted ‘influencing‘ instead of sales’, how would this feel? Quite possibly this might put a different perspective on your views?

But what do all successful sales people have in common? Think about how they make you feel? They make you feel good, don’t they? Why……because of these:

  • Sincere – Great empathy, engaging and no bs!
  • Attitude – Enthusiastic, positive, encouraging, confident, passionate
  • Likeable – People ‘buy’ people or from people they like
  • Energy – Nothing is too much trouble, always going the extra mile
  • Solutions focused- Looking for a win, win e.g. right fit, right product, right answer to the problem or challenge

These are clearly all highly positive personal attributes. Therefore, use this SALES acronym to help you think differently and reframe how you feel about ‘sales’ and selling yourself, your company or organisation.  

What if you had a simple approach to selling yourself in any situation? 

That would be great, wouldn’t it? 

Well, here it is…….practice the ‘RUB’ approach, as a super simple way to influence people and achieve more of what you want and win, win solutions:

  • Rapport –  Learn how to build a bond naturally so you are quickly on the same wavelength to achieve a mutual ‘meeting of minds’
  • USP/s – Your unique selling proposition/s . Might be considered an old hat term but focus on selling what makes you different or better and stand out
  • Benefits – ‘Sell’ what value you can add/ how you can make a difference/ solve the problem or take away their ‘pain’. Get people or prospective clients to imagine how this would look or feel so they almost have to say YES!    

The RUB

Living Proof!

The wonderful example I mentioned earlier, was in fact a young intern who so clearly had all these ‘SALES’ attributes and was unwittingly using the‘RUB’approach to great effect.

Despite their young age, they absolutely stunned me with their rapport building skills, commitment and determination, travelling hours and miles each week for only travel expenses. They were going the extra mile literally! They had also gone to great lengths to research the opportunity, understand what was required and make sure they secured the internship.

They had a great energy about them and enthusiastically ‘told’ me all about the product they were helping to develop and why it was so useful. I was ready to buy it from them if it had been fully developed! Having learnt what I and my company does in the Career and People Development field, they then went onto share great maturity and wisdom about what they wanted to achieve in their future career. Also, why they felt it was important to follow your passions, doing work you love, rather than focusing on purely financial gainThis was clearly from the heart, without any bs as they gave me a brilliant example of how they were making ‘sacrifices’ to be able to save what little money they did have, to be able to create the working lifestyle they wanted. It was evident they hadn’t read my current book either!

I was so impressed I have asked to interview them for my next book project on Portfolio Careers, as they are a great example of a young person with great entrepreneurial skills who is likely to earn a living from multiple talents and multiple income strands. I am sure they will be a great success because they clearly know how to sell themselves and what they believe in, which is great!         

Reframing the sales process

Many sales organisations, courses and business gurus spend much time focusing on ‘closing the sale’. What if you turn this around so your focus becomes that people choose to buy from you instead? How much pressure would this take off you when you are selling yourself at interviews, business meetings etc? There are clearly some key techniques and skills involved such as NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) which can all be learnt and like most things in life practice and persistence pays!

So, you might not have thought about it before but do you now see that you are ‘in sales’? Why is this so important? Because ….The more you develop and hone your influencing skills the better results you will achieve in your career and life!

 

HOW TO PREPARE FOR A VIDEO INTERVIEW

The Rise of the Video Interview

In recent years two-way video chat job interviews have grown in popularity and it is clear why. Modern computerised devices whether stationary or handheld come with built-in or support webcam functionality. Using video, the interviewer is able to pick up on important clues such as body posture, physical gestures & facial gestures. Likewise, so can the candidate with the added bonus of saving  valuable time by avoiding long journeys or taking lots of time off work, if employed. The following preparation guide to video interviews will help you alongside traditional interview best practices.

Never Turn Down a Video Interview Opportunity

For a great number of job candidates, the video chat job interview is likely to be a new experience. You must always come across accommodating and positive even if you feel anxious concerning this type of interview. Read on as there are many ways to prepare for this type of video interview.

Install and Configure The Video Interview Software

Well ahead of the interview time, you should download, install and configure whichever software the recruiter or employer had asked you to use. Typically, Skype is used because it is free and you can install it on any operating system (Window, Apple etc.). If you are new to Skype then choose a profile name and upload a profile picture that is professional and appropriate for the purpose. You can quickly learn how to use the software by searching YouTube for tutorials. Once the software has been configured, you may need to email the recruiter or employer with your username.

Prepare A Backup Device

If you have access to two devices with webcam functionality, you will do well to install the software on both. Just in case anything happens to the default machine, it is good to have something to fall back on. Typical scenario will be to install the video interview software on your pc or laptop computer and maybe another tablet device. This isn’t essential but you will come across well prepared to the interviewer should the need arise.

Prepare Your Notes

Any notes or supporting material from your research or to help sell yourself in the best light are best organised well ahead in advance. The microphone on any modern communication device is particularly sensitive to background noise, such as that from searching and shuffling documents, so you want to come armed already prepared for your video interview.

Think Carefully About Your Video Interview Area

Unlike face-to-face interviews, which often take place at the employer or recruiters offices, for a video interview, you have to be mindful of a number of key aspects:

  • Internet speed must be sufficient (broadband speed) and dependable
  • Wired Internet connection is preferable over wireless connection
  • Background noise should be minimal
  • The backdrop behind you must be suitable for the occasion
  • Ensure you won’t be interrupted
  • The area must be well lit, so you can be seen properly

There is no reason why the video interview cannot take place at your home, providing you can meet all these criteria. Just double check the area behind you, close the door and ask other household members to refrain from interrupting you.

Dress From Head to Toe

It isn’t sufficient to dress only above the belt. For one, the interviewer might get a peek of your entire stature and secondly, dressing professionally from head to toe helps with getting into the right state of mind. Spend time on the Internet researching the company (website and social profiles), industry and competitors to determine suitable interview dress code. If in doubt, err on the side of being slightly over dressed.

Test Yourself

It is important to practice, so an exercise in the form of mock interview will allow you to experiment with the software and with the overall challenge. Ask a family member, friend even an agency recruiter to conduct a mock video interview with you.

Just Before The Interview Starts

Switch off all non-essential apps and software to avoid noises and disruptions. Get yourself organised and ready 10 minutes before the scheduled interview time. Test your speakers and microphone, as it is essential you can be heard and you can hear the interviewer. You don’t want the stress of any problems when live in your video interview. Best not to switch off your mobile phone in case the interview is disconnected and the interviewer is trying to ring you, so have it on vibrate. Place it in view but away from the computer’s speaker, as it might create static noises.

During The Interview

Look directly at the webcam as this is the closest to making eye normal contact. Avoid looking at the screen or around you, as you might appear disinterested. It helps to place the interviewer’s video window right underneath the camera during the interview, so your eyes are looking in the right direction. If the video interview is disconnected, allow the interviewer (as the initiator) to call you back. At the same time check your Internet connection and switch on your backup device. Check your mobile phone in case the interviewer is calling you back. If all fail, suggest that the interview continues over the phone. Don’t miss your video interview slot as the candidate after you might impress the interviewer and you might not get another chance.

End in Style

At the end of the video interview, send the interviewer an email thanking them for their time and offering to answer any questions or concerns they might have over the phone or a further video chat. Good luck. Written by brewery and drinks recruiters the Carling Partnership Ltd (CPL). A leading international search and selection company working exclusively within the brewing, distilling, cider and soft drinks industries for SMP Solutions (Career & People Development) blog.

Graduates Guide – Your timeline to achieve success

Here is your one stop shop of tips to help you achieve your potential whilst at University and move from academia into employment!

Year 1

  • Remember this year is about settling in, that includes focusing on your work but also having some fun!  This is a big transition and you will need time to settle in.
  • If you need structure and want to prepare during the induction period and in advance of course starting – Access Personal Tutor Support as early as possible
  • Need help? – Access referencing workshops, Study support groups etc as these will be on offer at your University. There are also student mentors who you can be assigned to you that are in year 2/3 who can give you support and answer questions relating to the course etc – Speak to your University and identify the support available
  • Need to earn some money whilst studying? -Speak to Student Support regarding local part time employment options, universities also employ students within their campuses which can be less demanding and more convenient whilst studying
  • Speak to the Employment and Work Placement advisers as they may be able to help you secure and achieve relevant work experience during your holiday periods. Companies start to interview and employ Xmas staff at the end of the summer so you need to start early and be proactive!
  • Communication – Keep a check on your progress, speak to your tutors and make sure you are on course for progression to year two, don’t leave it until the final few weeks and have a last minute panic
  • Set up a spread sheet to keep track of work set and deadlines as Universities do not chase you for your work unlike schools. If you miss a deadline there are no second chances (expect in extenuating circumstances whereby your tutor has agreed to extended your deadline in advance)
  • Specialising – in many degree courses you will have to make choices on areas of specialism in year one which you will focus on in years 2/3. Make sure you research properly the demand for expertise in your chosen strands. It is not helpful if these are not sort after by future employers.
  • Consider Accommodation options for second year and start viewing after Christmas – early spring, all the best places go quickly!
  • Summer Placements – If you want to get more experience or just earn a bit of money when you get home for the summer, remember you need to register with local recruitment agencies for temp work during the Easter break and let them know when you are going to be finishing for the summer. A couple of weeks before the end of term call them again as a reminder. That way you will be ahead of the game, completed your initial assessments and ready to call them regarding a placement as soon as you are home. Don’t rely on the agencies calling you. Make sure you ring them regularly!
  • Network – You will meet with a number of people when you do temp work, get their details and if you like the company ask about opportunities for when you have finished your degree, it might be early days but it is never too early to make contacts!
  • Consider investing in some personal ‘business’ cards which have your Name, Email and Mobile number on. You can buy these online for a few £ and think how professional they look against scribbling done your details on scraps of paper.

Year 2

  • Identify companies and organisations which recruit graduates with your chosen degree, make early contacts. You might be able to secure a short term work placement which could lead to future employment.
  • Check if your University has established links with local organisations for work shadowing, work placement or paid employment options – summer work
  • Network with as many people in industry that you come into contact with, they may be the key to future employment opportunities – Don’t miss an opportunity to make an impact and don’t forget to use your personal card!
  • Attend Graduate Recruitment Fairs – Companies have different selection dates for their graduate intake and they may well have information and tips to share on their selection process for use next year
  • Secure Accommodation for year 3/4

Year 3 / 4

  • This is your final year full of demands and exams but it is of paramount importance that you use every spare minute on prompting yourself to potential employers
  • Get career advice during the summer break if possible so that you are focused on your chosen career route before the end of this important year
  • Graduate Recruitment Fairs usually take place between Sept – Nov, register for your ticket early, research the companies exhibiting, update your CV and take with you a number of copies. You may need different versions if applying for a variety of jobs.  You may have attended last year’s recruitment fairs however new jobs and exhibitors mean new opportunities.
  • Company Graduate Schemes usually open at the end of the summer – autumn, many have a very short application period – Identify potential scheme’s in advance, don’t miss out!
  • Remember there are a huge number of other graduates all over the country that you are competing with for that elusive job!
  • Research, Research, Research – Company profiles, brands, values etc. Make sure you have the skills, attributes and ‘look’ that fit their profile. Knowledge is Key!
  • Register with specialist agencies and subscribe to specialist publications which relate to your chosen career route
  • Investigate internships – many companies use this as a form of permanent selection as they will have had time to evaluate your contribution and ‘fit’ within their company before committing to a full time contract
  • Identify companies you would like to work for, if they are not advertising vacancies at the moment be proactive and send out speculative letters, state type of work you are looking for and outline your experience both academically and employment. Companies like people who show initiative, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
  • Above all else avoid finishing your degree course and still not having a plan about what you want to do next – Seek professional Education and Career support, it is worth every penny!

If you need help with your Education or Career choices visit our website for more information.