Marketing involves a lot of sales. Sales is the most difficult job in most companies, especially the “eat what you kill” variety. But if you are cut out for it, you will most likely reap some serious rewards.
Hopefully, if this is your goal, you have at least some experience in sales — even if it’s only retail sales. What follows is a compilation of capabilities that will let you pull ahead of the competition when you market yourself directly to the hiring authority for sales positions. Pick and choose only those that you can defend in an interview.
These apply mainly to transaction-oriented sales — i.e., those that are primarily commissioned-based. Some will also apply to relationship-oriented positions — i.e., account management.
There are three basic types of sales people:
Here is a list of capabilities that will surely impress most sales managers.
- Amateur. This person promotes features of a product or service. The problem with this approach is that it risks arousing price concerns. “All those features must be expensive."
- Pro. This person promotes benefits and advantages. Better than the amateur, but definitely not the best.
- Champion. This rare bird presents and promotes solutions to problems. S/he knows that in sales, the ability to get information is far more important than the ability to present information, and what you say really is more important than how you say it. The two main reasons why this approach is superior is that the prospect will be more likely to buy TNT — today, not tomorrow — and will be less likely to quibble about price.
- High energy level — to make more calls.
- Ability to quickly establish rapport with most people.
- Know how to communicate in plain English, free of jargon.
- Ability to ask the right questions and dig deeper to size up a prospect and discover if he or she has the kind of problem that your company can solve.
- Know how to anticipate and pre-handle the most likely objections of a particular prospect.
- Self-motivated — don’t need any help to get going every day.
- Willingness and stamina to work hard and burn midnight oil.
- Reliable, loyal team player, free of pettiness.
- Willingness and discipline to follow proven sales methods.
- Know how to sell value, not just price.
- Know how to “package a sale, and sell the package."
- Skills and willingness to make cold calls, and not just “cherry pick” known likely buyers.
- Ability to establish and maintain good long-term relationships.
- Willingness to accept quotas and work hard to meet and exceed them.
- No other first-rate sales rep will work harder, longer, or more conscientiously for you than I will.
- You should communicate directly to the hiring authority via email or USPS.
Tom Kellum is a job hunting consultant, helping people's dreams come true since 1987. He specializes in providing a personal job-landing service based on proven marketing strategies and methods. For more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.