Now that you are searching for a new position, how are your selling skills? Armed with the best resume ever written, you still have to sell the benefits of hiring you to a hiring manager. Selling skills are a ‘must have’ or ‘must develop’ part of landing a new job. And you do not have to use heavy-handed pressure to accomplish the task.
Good salespeople know how to prospect, make contact, establish rapport, discover need, present, listen, overcome objections, negotiate, and close. That's a lot to ask of job seekers that are not trained salespeople. But these sales skills are incredibly important in job searching. Most people can do a reasonable job of discovering opportunities, but then fail to get the interview and be hired. Frequently, the problem they have is developing the skills and confidence necessary to close the deal.
These are the tips:
1 - Get sales training from a competent job search coach if you need help. Effective salespeople will tell you that unless you are dealing with the decision-maker, you are wasting your time. The hiring manager is the decision-maker so prospect for hiring managers. Make informal, direct voice contact with the hiring manager to generate interest. Voice contact requires practicing scripts for navigating through gatekeepers and for making a good introduction. Tip: Avoid saying anything about job searching.
2 - Learn how to prospect. Learn how and where to identify hiring managers. One great way is to network with current employees and get referred. And there are many more ways.
3 - Establish rapport by focusing on the other person. Whether you are networking or interviewing, practice good listening skills. Avoid monopolizing conversations. Watch out for your body language, even on the phone (habits carry over to interviews).
4 - Overcome objections. Objections are opportunities to sell. If an objection is not responded to it becomes the final disqualifier. Don’t lose opportunities to respond. Be quick on your feet and ask a clarifying question to get at the heart of the matter.
5 - Learn closing skills that lead to an offer. If you wait for the hiring manager to close you, it may not happen.
The most useful closes for job seekers to master are these:
Set Expectations! At the end of any conversation get into the habit of establishing 'who is going to do what and when', including the fact that you will follow up at a certain time so that your follow up is expected. This avoids leaving you wondering what to do after some period of time passes. And when you make the follow up call and the gatekeeper asks if your call is expected, the answer is simply one word, "Yes".
The conditional close: The Conditional Close builds on social agreement. It states "If I do this will you do that?" It pushes the dialogue towards the final close and is very effective in salary negotiations. For instance, “If I accept that offer will you add more vacation time".
The conditional close should always be phrased in the form of "If I, will you'', not 'Will you, if I". It works because our brains work very quickly. Starting with 'If I' causes psychological closure on what you are offering. It draws the other person closer to the final close. But starting with 'will you' causes the other person to begin thinking immediately about objections which drives the conversation away from closure.
The Rational Close: This close uses logic and reason to persuade. For example, we've gone through all your needs and the benefits I bring to help you resolve your needs, correct? [pause] Is there anything else that would stop you from wanting to offer me the position? [Pause] No? Good! When should I expect to receive the offer?
The Assumptive Close: The Assumptive Close works on the assumption principle where acting confidently as if something is true makes it difficult for the other person to deny it. In this close one acts as if the hiring manager has already made the decision to make an offer. For instance, if at the end of the last interview you decide you want the job, the most important thing to say is “I like what I’ve heard and I want the job. When do I start?” This does two things, it lets the decision-maker know you want an offer and the question assumes the result, causing a response.
The Yes-Set close: This close gets the buyer saying 'yes' to a series of questions. It gives you a sense of how well you are interviewing and it draws out further objections if there are any. A series of questions are asked that are easily answered with "Yes" leading toward the Final Close (don't overdo it though):
Does that answer your question adequately?
Do you feel positive about my answer?
Does that address the problem for you?
Can you see how well I fit in your organization?
Are you feeling positive about hiring me?
The Take-Away close: This powerful close is very effective in salary negotiations or when you are very certain the hiring manager is strongly interested but is undecided. You could say, "It appears that you don't want to hire me. Perhaps we should stop discussing the position." It is a bluff, so stop talking and listen. Taking away the opportunity to hire you usually causes the hiring manager to worry and react positively.
The Trial Close – This is a close that should be used frequently. It tests the hiring managers' readiness to make a decision to hire. Use it after you have made a strong selling point or when you have answered an objection.
The Trial Close may use other closing techniques such as the Assumptive and the Yes-Set closes. When you have asked the Trial Close question, as with most other closes, be quiet, watch body language, and listen carefully to the response:
"Can you see how my ability to achieve [some result or accomplishment] can benefit your need for [some need that was discussed]?"
"Can you see how my background in [ ] would benefit your need for [ ]?
The Future Close - Close on a future date. Sometimes a hiring decision is simply not going to happen today. If this is the situation, ask how much time is needed. Ask if they intend to make you an offer then. After thinking about this, they may be ready to close now. The Future Close works by getting them to think in the present about the future, hence bringing the future to now so they can 'compress time' and possibly close now.
The final close: Ask for the job! At the last interview with the hiring decision maker and if you have decided you want the job, lean forward, look the hiring manager directly in the eye and ask for the job. This is the final close. Often the assumptive close is used: ( “I like what I’ve heard about this position and the company. I want the job. When do I start?”).
Closing does not always result in the desired outcome. Sometimes closing results in rejection. That is still a positive outcome because it gives you closure. You are able to refocus immediately on other opportunities. You can also come back and try again at a later date. The bottom line is this: Never leave a final interview with the hiring manager wondering if you are sincerely interested in taking the job!
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