Here’s a question for you. It’s a bit unusual, but it’s an important one to ask yourself (and answer truthfully!).
If you were your own prospect or candidate, would you “buy” from you?
Sometimes it is helpful to turn things around to gain new perspective on growing your skills. And one of the hardest things to do is to look at yourself objectively.
I’d like to share some thoughts on how you can improve your recruiting — and selling — skills by doing a simple “turn around”. For a few moments, try becoming YOUR prospect!
How do you like to be approached by a sales person?
Begin by thinking about those initial moments of a sales encounter. What makes you want to engage? And, what makes you want to run away with a quick “no thanks“? If you’re like most people, you probably appreciate someone who is friendly and who asks how they can be of assistance.
On the flip side, you probably want to give the “heave-ho” to someone who approaches you with an aggressive “product pitch” or who seems overly eager to get your business without asking anything about you. Frankly, this approach is what’s given sales (and sales people) such a poor reputation over the years.
It’s the same way in recruiting. Would you want to have someone try and push you into a job or company, or would you prefer to engage with someone who is genuinely interested in your needs? Sometimes it’s hard to see yourself as a “product pusher”; however, if you are quick to talk about your job opportunity or company, you easily run the risk of looking like a typical, “unsavory” sales person.
Those initial moments are critical. As they say, there’s no second chance to make a first impression. What’s your first impression? Do you open your calls by describing your opportunity — then pausing to see if there might be interest? When you begin your calls like this, think of yourself as the “pushy sales person” who has self-interest (a quick sale!) in mind.
A best practice is to start your calls by showing genuine interest and curiosity in your prospect — and holding off on any “product” description or push.
And while we’re on the topic of “initial contact” — how do you react when you receive impersonal, “SPAM” emails from a sales person you don’t know? How eager are you to pick up the phone and call someone (you don’t know) who just sent you an email touting the “perfect product” — allegedly solving some need of yours?
You get the picture. It’s a real turn-off to receive these. Again, the best practice is to keep your prospecting emails as personal and tailored as possible. Refer to prospects by name and reference common contacts or specific industry knowledge you have that might be of value. And, above all, do not mention anything about a specific job opportunity. Put on the “customer” mindset, not the “quick sale”.
How do you want to be treated throughout the sales process?
After that initial contact from a sales person, how do you want to be treated? Some sales people put their needs ahead of the customer and begin with lots of slick “closing techniques” to gauge interest. The old “ABC’s” (Always Be Closing) just don’t work anymore. People don’t care about your problems (needing to achieve quota or close more sales this month). They care about their problems. And they want to work with someone who can help them — acting as a trusted adviser, not a transactional sales person on a mission.
Do you like to have someone help you make an informed decision by answering your questions and by asking ones that help you think through your purchase? And do you like to have someone who might even be transparent enough to admit when they might not have just what you are looking for or need?
And, once again, the same principles are true in recruiting. A career change is an important and complex decision. People appreciate having someone help them think through the decision and be honest — even to the point of admitting the match just might not be there.
So the next time you engage with a prospect, think about how you like to “buy”. Remember, “how you sell” should be “how you buy”.
To your success!
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