4 Sales Tactics You Can Use In Your Job Search
By: Come Recommended,
Many people today are so narrow-minded in their job search tactics that they don’t realize the main point of the process: selling yourself to employers in order to get a job.
Recruiters want to see you have the confidence, acumen, and conversational ability on top of the skills required for the job for which you’re applying. Even if you’re not going into sales, you can still use the same deal-closing tactics sales professionals use in order to get hired.
The saying ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ isn’t entirely true. If you can sell what you know to hiring managers in the job search process, then consider yourself hired.
Here are four sales tactics that can be translated to your job search:
1. Referrals Close Deals
In sales, getting a referral from a satisfied customer is virtually always more effective than cold calling. When one company says to another how great your product/service is, it has much more of an impact coming from them rather than you. Once you get a referral, all you have to do is solidify that lead’s perception of your company, and you’re in.
In a job search, you can use a referral the exact same way. In fact, more than 40 percent of hires made these days come from employee referrals. Did you have a previous internship with a current or former employee of the company to which you’re applying? If so, call on those connections to put in a good word for you with the hiring managers there. If not, find ways to build that network — sales is all about persistence.
When you do call on your connections to request a referral, make sure you are as respectful as possible. They are probably very busy people, but if they think highly of you, they’ll want to help. If they say no, don’t give up! If they’re particularly busy when you ask, wait a couple weeks and try them again.
2. Be Proactive
In a sales agency, you don’t wait for the customer to come to you — you do anything you can to generate as many leads as possible. Once you have those leads, you call on each and every one to pitch them your business.
While most job hunters don’t necessarily wait for the companies to come to them, they don’t really do much to seek them out. And while every person would love it if employers came to them, there is a lot they can do (especially online) to ensure they’re easily found.
If you want to open the possibilities of an employer contacting you, making sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized to the job you want is one of the biggest ways you can pull it off. Undercover Recruiter has a great guide on how you can best optimize your profile.
Just like a salesperson, create a list of companies you want to approach. Then, don’t just submit your application online and expect a response — make sure HR knows who you are! There’s so much competition in the job market these days that it’s incredibly hard to stick out. Here are some creative ways to make yourself stand out:
- Call the company, or a connection in the company, shortly before applying. Let them know that you plan on putting in an application, and ask if they have any advice for you to increase your chances of being considered. Make sure you tell them your name, or they’ll have no idea who you are when you apply! To most people, this shows determination and drive, and at the least it will get them to look over your application a little bit longer.
- Send something else along with your application. If you applied online, send it again in-person, attaching it with desserts, balloons, or a creative item designed to showcase your personality. This shows inventiveness, clues hiring managers in about whether you’ll be a good culture fit, and will ensure your name is remembered.
- Use the referral method explained above (and in the link below) before/after submitting your application. This increases your credibility and almost guarantees you will go to the next round.
Read this article for more tips on how to stand out to employers.
3. Customize Each Application
Do you think every salesperson pitches the same way to all his clients? Nope! They cater each proposal to the personality of the brand, and the culture of the staff. Great ones are even able to determine the individual personality of the person making the purchasing decisions and customize their pitch to their psyche.
In your job search, this advice couldn’t hold more true. This requires a good deal of research, but this method is proven and will pay off in the end. Look at the company’s website and advertising to get a sense of their brand and personality. Ask yourself, ‘what values does this company find most important?’, and attempt to incorporate those values into your resume and cover letter.
Digging deeper into their site, find out the culture at the company. Is the staff mostly older? Younger? Are they work horses, or do they still like to let loose and have fun? This information is crucial when establishing new connections at that company and when deciding what to include in your resume, cover letter, and/or portfolio.
Determining the personality of the person who is interviewing you is a little tougher but can still be done. In sales, there are four main personality types that each salesperson can identify and quickly adapt to appeal to their emotions. Most companies tell you who you’ll be interviewing with ahead of time, so research them online and try to get a sense of their personalities and what they’re passionate about.
Once you get to their office, the way they decorate it can provide you with further clues that cement one of the personality types listed in the article. Then, you can better tailor your interview answers specifically to them, and sell yourself as a worthy candidate. Even if there is more talented competition, if you can appeal to the hiring manager’s emotions, you’ll have that much more credibility in their eyes.
4. Use The LAER Process
If you’re not in sales, you might not be familiar with the LAER process. This is mostly used to handle objections a client may have to a pitch, but it can help you immensely in your job search, as well.
LAER is an acronym for listen, acknowledge, explore, and respond. At the end of your interview, during the part where you ask questions, ask the hiring manager if they have any reservations about hiring you, or if they see a weakness in you compared to other candidates. Most will admire your ability to be proactive and tell you if they have an objection about hiring you. This lets you better gauge how well (or poorly) you did in the interview and lets you address any problems they may have right then and there.
Let’s pretend you’re at the end of an interview and ask this question. The recruiter says they like you, but you just don’t have the amount of experience the other candidates have. Now we’ll walk through the LAER process:
- Listen. You won’t be able to give an effective answer if you’re deciding what to say before they even finish talking. Listening to everything the employer has to say, and even pausing for a second or two to make sure they completely got out what they had to say, is one of the cornerstones of great personal selling. Even adjusting your body language to let them know you’re listening can go a long way.
- Acknowledge. Tell the manager you heard what they said, and repeat it back to them. Thank them for telling you the issue, and let them know you appreciate their feedback. This may not seem like much, but it goes a long way in assuring their issue has not fallen on deaf ears — and it boosts their ego.
- Explore. Probe the recruiter with further questions tailored to finding out more about the issue. In this case, ask them something like, “Can you give me a little more insight on the length and type of experience you’re looking for?” Make sure you listen attentively, and even take notes so you can better respond.
- Respond. After you’ve felt like you explored enough, give the employer your response designed to handle their objection. It should be structured something like, “You mentioned you liked me, so my lack of experience should have no bearing on my established skill and willingness to learn, wouldn’t you agree?” If they’re still hesitant, you can go even further — “Sometimes investing in young, promising talent — which I believe I am — is worth it in the end.”
Confidence is key in the LAER process. If you apply what you learned correctly, the process can turn a good interview into a great one — and a bad interview into a good one. If you leave the employer with an amazing perception of you, your competition would have to be pretty impressive to get the job offer instead.
Did you find these sales tactics translated to job search helpful? Let us know what you think in the comments!