You know those wonderful in-flight magazines that keep passengers occupied and entertained while stranded on the tarmac? Well, I trained the sales team for Ink Publishing earlier this year in London. They are the company that produces most of the leading in-flight magazines. As a result of their sales training, Ink Publishing has featured me and Question Based Selling in an article called "Selling Points", to appear in Go Magazine, which will be in the seatback pocket of every Air Tran Airways flight starting January 1st.
Not scheduled for an Air Tran Airways flight any time soon? You can simply download the article right here. Hope you enjoy!
Chapter 2 in my new book, Sell Yourself First, is appropriately entitled, “Your Next Job Interview.” I know for a fact after teaching this material for the last 8 months that it has already helped countless people who are in the job market, but that’s not really the purpose of the chapter.
Can we agree that a job interview is a sales situation, where qualified candidates will ultimately be trying to sell themselves to prospective employers? Well, it turns out that every sales call is also a job interview, where the prospect or customer is not only evaluating your products and services, they’re also evaluating you. You are indeed selling yourself…all the time!
That said, what if we discovered that how most people sell naturally is upside down and backward from how most customers make purchase decisions? That’s right! The natural tendency during a job interview (or on a sales call) is to try and put your best foot forward, right?
Well, at some point in the job interview scenario, the hiring manager is going to say, “Tell me about yourself.” During a sales call, the customer may say, “Tell me about your product.” Basically, it’s the same request, because even if you are selling a product or service, you are also selling yourself…FIRST!
Thus, the job interview scenario becomes the perfect metaphor for selling (anything) because it’s the pure sale. In essence, a qualified candidate is solely responsible for selling themselves, and they are also the product that’s being offered. At that point, your success is completely up to you.
Most people respond to this initial request to, “Tell me about yourself,” by basically throwing up on the customer. Unfortunately, the natural tendency is to rattle off and/or reiterate many of the key points already listed on the resume in the hopes of saying something that will connect with the decision maker.
What employers really want to know about you, however, is all of the things that are not actually listed on your resume. For example, are you a competent, confident, creative, easy to work with, respectful, experienced, thought leader in your chosen field?
That’s the trick—these qualities cannot be claimed by you without sounding arrogant. Instead, they have to be demonstrated, which is a function of simply implementing the techniques outlined in Sell Yourself First.
Truth be known, you’re probably not the only candidate (or vendor) who’s competing for the opportunity to sell yourself to the interviewer (i.e. customer). It’s more likely that you are competing against a handful of equally qualified candidates who will also be quick to highlight all their accomplishments as well.
That’s why the tradition approach to interviewing (or selling a product) actually put you at a competitive disadvantage. If you sound the same as everyone else, you forfeit your competitive edge.
Now that you’ve invested four years and thousands of dollars to earn a college degree, are you willing to spend less than the cost of a half tank of gasoline, and invest a couple hours of study and comprehension to give yourself an ‘unfair’ competitive advantage and transform the entire rest of your professional career?
Think about it this way: The employer is going to hire someone, it might as well me you. Your resume’ (or product information) just gets you in the door. Your ability to more effectively position yourself than the competition is ultimately how you will win the opportunity! At that point, it all comes down to superior technique and a sound positioning strategy. This book will change the way you communicate with others, and more importantly, it will change the way others perceive and deal with you!
Attention, friends of Question Based Selling! A new day has dawned and the QBS website has been completely overhauled for your enjoyment and ongoing sales education. In addition to sending periodic newsletters and updates, our new blog-based website literally went live last night, and so far the feedback has been great.
The genesis of this project was simple—to deliver more QBS content to our rapidly expanding audience that is also more current. Particularly given the recent shift in the economy, Question Based Selling can be a valuable resource for sellers who want to upgrade their approach in order to adjust to the changing market conditions.
The new site is also highly interactive, complete with:
- Postings of recent QBS articles
- First ever open-to-the-public QBS course
- Free downloadable training excerpts and audio MP3s
- Blog Comments and an “Ask the Author” page
- Automatic Registration for QBS OnLine
- OnLine Proposal Request
- A “Hall of Shame”
- Sales humor
The new site even has a section for “Job Hunting Tips” with several excerpts from my next book, The Complete Guide to Selling Yourself. It turns out that a job interview is a pure sales situation, as you can’t blame the product, price, or someone back at headquarters in the corporate marketing department if you can’t close the “deal”. In your next job interview, you will be totally responsible for selling yourself. And just like every job interview is a sales situation, it turns out that every sales call is also a mini job interview. How you project and position yourself will definitely impact the customer’s perception of your product and company, as well as the potential value you bring to the table.
Thanks to Scott Whitney and his team at PodWorx, Inc. for their technical expertise and social media guidance.
So. . .what do you think about the new site? We’ve put a ton of work into it and I would love to hear your feedback.
Trade shows and vendor fairs are basically marketing vehicles for business development. One could, therefore, assume that the most effective trade show strategy is the one that will produce the most traffic and generate the most leads.
Vendor booths at regional convention centers are filled with outstretched arms and Cheshire cat smiles, as sellers repeatedly tell their corporate stories to cautious passers by. If this sounds familiar, I might recommend a few small adjustments in strategy that will significantly increase the return you can expect on these investments.
(Click the image to the right to download the entire document.)
“I go fishing up in Maine every summer,” Dale Carnegie wrote in the mid 1930s. “Personally, I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I find that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I go fishing, I don’t think about what I want. I think about what they want. I don’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangle a worm, or a grasshopper, in front of the fish saying, ‘Wouldn’t you like to have that?’”
This story prompted me to ask, why not use the same common sense when fishing for customers?
If you want to motivate other people, it’s more important to think about what they want, rather than what you want.
To succeed in sales, we have to motivate potential buyers to “want to” take action. But we also have to recognize that different people are motivated differently. While some people are motivated to run fast toward Gold Medals, many others will run even faster from German Shepherds.
By position benefits in a way that motivates both, you can potentially double the perceived value of your product or service, which significantly increases your probability of success in making a sale.
My first book created quite a stir when one of the chapters started off with this sentence: Traditional reference selling is highly overrated.
That statement shocked the establishment as virtually every sales training program created in the last 30 years talks about the importance of leveraging references in the sales process.
References are important—but so is differentiation; and it’s no longer an effective to use references just like everyone else. In Question Based Selling, our goal is to show sellers how to be different from everyone else. One way to accomplish this is to create a sense of momentum in your sales using The Herd Theory—which is a technique that ironically leverages “everyone else.”