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Observations and tips for business to business salespeople

February 1999

How To Win a Six Figure Sales Position

jack carrollby Jack Carroll

It's not your father's Oldsmobile. It's not his job market either. Forty years ago when he went to work for a company, it was a lifetime engagement. Today, the average term of employment for a salesperson making more than $65,000 a year is 5.5 years. If you're in high tech selling, you'll work for your current company slightly under four years. That means you're going to be doing a lot of job changing and interviewing during your 32-year career in sales. Here are 8 tips on how best to navigate the job hunting market from Nick Corcodilos, a real, live headhunter, as reported in Fast Company Magazine in the Jan. 1999 issue.

  1. Your resume is meaningless. Give prospective employers an idea of what you'll do for them, not just what you've done for others.
  2. Go to Human Resources and get lost; be creative and go around the gatekeeper (HR) directly to the manager who will make the hire.
  3. The real matchmaking takes place before the interview. Do a lot of research as to fit and put together a good pre-call plan.
  4. Don't study for the interview—practice doing this job. Show that you understand and can do the job and how they will profit from hiring you.
  5. The shocking truth. The employer wants to hire you. Be positive and tell the manager in the interview that you are the person for the job.
  6. It's not an interview; it's your first day at work. Think of yourself as already working for the company and start solving problems during the interview.
  7. To win an offer, do the job. Outline the company's challenges as you understand them and the steps you will take to solve them.
  8. Got an offer? Interview the company. You have the power to decide whether, and on what terms, you want to hire that company.

Let me add one that Nick Corcodilos doesn't mention. It's a sales job. Strut your stuff. But if you don't "ask for the order," you don't get my sales job.

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Sales Tip and Practice
It's near the end of the interview with the manager who will be doing the hiring. He asks if you have any questions about the position. You lean slightly into him across the desk, smile, and say, "I have only one question, Joe. And that is would you like to go ahead with that?"

He asks, "Go ahead with what?"

You reply, "With making me an offer for this position." (And then, as they say in all of the primers, "button your lips.")

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