by Todd Oldfield, Veteran Recruiter, TeamEliteAdvantage.com
Writer on topics of business, recruiting, spirituality.
You know; great sales talent is some of the hardest people to find, to qualify, and to believe in (no offense to any professional sales person anywhere.) It just really is. The “sales mentality” type of people are so good at blowing smoke! LOL
Since 1991, I have been interviewing and recommending sales people for all kinds of jobs; financial services (stock-brokers, predominantly), consumer durable goods (car salesmen), and even recruiters for my own company and others. Then, since 2001, I have operated in the healthcare world, and in addition to clinicians, technology gurus, and other professional, I have also been saddled with the chore of helping some pretty large healthcare industry focused, medical device and software development firms, build large national sales forces.
And, let me tell you… these are some of the sharpest people in the “sales” world that I have ever seen. ESPECIALLY these days. Having said that, I would also like to say this…
“just because you can sell your product, does not mean that you do a very good job of selling yourself.”
PERSONAL BRANDING IMPORTANCE
Over and over again, I see some of you making some really basic “personal branding” mistakes. YES, you need to be selling yourself as your own “brand”! You ARE Coca-cola. You ARE IBM. Or at least you better see yourself like that. So, I am writing this article just to address a few of the more common “personal branding” issues I see.
PRE-INTERVIEWING: MARKETING YOURSELF – YOU NEED TO HAVE AN INTERNET “PRESENCE” THAT ACCURATELY REFLECTS WHO YOU ARE.
- What is your LinkedIn (Mine; Add me), Facebook (Mine; Add me), and other social networks presence like? When someone goes to one of these profiles, do they come away thinking you are EXPERT in your field? Or, do they come away thinking… “Wow. That guy can drink a LOT of beer?” OR “Wow. That girl really dresses inappropriate.” Make sure your profiles clearly make you look good.
This is actually one of my favorite topics to preach on. I have written a dozen articles on LinkedIn, alone, and hosted countless webinars on improving one’s LinkedIn presence, which I consider to be the most important part of your marketing efforts in the career world.
Check this article for some really cool information about your LinkedIn photo and profile. What do people actaully look at.
- NEVER TRY TO BULLSHIT YOURSELF INTO A JOB. Look, be smart. There is just too much information out there on all of us. Privacy is gone. It does not exist. The fact of the matter is, concerning this topic, I pray privacy and secrecy DOES NOT exist. I know being an independent recruiter, that when it comes to “information presented” by job-seekers, that I can never believe all that I see and less that I hear. Most sales people puff, puff, puff their way into everything they do. And talking to me and people like me, is no exception.
BE HONEST. When asked about your experience, abilities, successes, failures, strengths, weaknesses; BE HONEST.
It’s always better to “under sell; over deliver.” Right? Trust me… a good hiring authority already will have found your weak spots, long before an offer can ever be made. It’s a waste of time to pretend you are something that you are not.
Recruiters, GOOD recruiters will want to see proof of your accomplishments. In fact, your being able to deliver such proof, is a big part of our qualifying whether or not we should spend our time on you to begin with.
DURING THE INTERVIEW PROCESS: BE PREPARED TO DELIVER ALL THE TRUTHFUL SALES AMMO THAT YOU CAN MUSTER. CREATE A “WHY BUY ME” PORTFOLIO!!!
- Today, there is so much competition for every position, you just really gotta go in to an interview, if you can even get the interview, WELL ARMED with ammo! I advocate that interviewees create what I call a “Why Buy Me” portfolio that backs up every claim they make about their experience, abilities, and successes.
- WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR PORTFOLIO: Collect, print, copy, bind, beautify all your stuff. You need your diplomas, licenses, reference letters, awards (yep. You need paper proof of every award you ever won; every recognition you ever received.) You need your company newsletters showing your ranking in the organization; in your region; in your territory; and in your office.
- Take all this stuff to Kinkos, or whomever. Make it a beautiful thing with your resume and LinkedIn profile on top.
You need PROOF… iron clad proof that you are as good as you say you are. You need that when you speak to a recruiter (like me), an HR professional, the interviewing manager, and every one that sits on a “committee” that is involved in the hiring decision for the position you want.
Do you HAVE to have all this? NO.
Should you have all this? YES.
Hold all this stuff in reserve. Go to the interview. Ask your questions. Qualify the opportunity. Let your interviewers get to know you. Sell yourself. But, hold this stuff in reserve.
AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW; THE VERY END…
- Once you have spoken to everyone involved. Once you have circled around and have been brought back to the original interviewer, to kind of summarize how the day went (usually an HR person), this is the time to whip it all out.
ONLY IF YOU WANT THE JOB… look at the interviewer; dig into your “whatever” and pull out copies of your “Why Buy Me” portfolio, and give him/her one for themselves, and each of the hiring decision makers that you met with. If you did this right, they will be BLOWN AWAY.
As you do, tell them;
“Thank you so much for today. I came here with a lot of questions, which have all now been answered, and I want you to know that I want this POSITION. I know you are speaking to a lot of people regarding this position; and some may have more dazzle. But, I have more SUBSTANCE. I present all the supporting documentation you will need to back up everything we have spoken about today. There are reference letters, awards, certificates, diplomas backing up all my achievements. I have made copies for you and for everyone that I met today.”
How could this NOT blow your interviewer away? If you want to take it to the Nth degree, make sure there is a cover page to your “Why Buy Me” book with a personal message mentioning the company by name. You get why? Right?
Which would you rather be; when it comes down to you and one other guy? Do you want to be the guy that has no proof of their abilities? Or do you want to be the guy that DOCUMENTED everything they told the company? DAH!!!!! Is the bell ringing? Are the FLAGS going UP???? Be that guy.
Life comes down to a few, really important moments when it is all said and done. Your wedding(s), the birth of your children (obviously), that time you hit your hole-in-one (still waiting on that moment, myself). And, certain, key interviews in your life. Those special opportunities that you had to present yourself, one time, make one impression, with that one person that changed the course of your life, and gave you everything you dreamed of.
Go into those God-given opportunities prepared.