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Have you ever considered sales as a career?  Have you ever held a sales position?

If the answer is yes; good for you. 


For the others, I suggest that you read the following carefully. Its a crash-course in salesmanship, because in order to land that job you want, you are going to have to SELL.  You have to sell yourself, your qualification, experience and your abilities to your prospective employer.


So here we go - one crash course in Sales:


      Phoning for appointments

If you are required to telephone for interviews, the best thing you can do is practise.  This is the very first impression you are able to make, and it stands to reason that you should make the most of the opportunity.  It is quite possible that your telephone skills are limited to asking your mates what they are doing this weekend.  But there are a few golden rules you can follow which salespeople use in order to gain appointments or sales, which you use equally well in these circumstances:

Introduce yourself clearly when you are through to the correct person giving both your first and surname. Good morning, my name is Gladys Peterson

State your business  - I am calling in connection with the vacancy you advertised in the Jobfinder for a (..).

You will then possibly be asked a number of questions, but you should always have a list of your own questions written down that you can refer to; for example if transport is a problem for you, always ask where the company is situated.  Another question you could ask is whether it is a permanent position or not.

If you are asked to then send in your CV, we then move onto the next part of successful sales, which is Direct Mail.

      Direct mail

This is where you are sending off your CV.  Good advice is to limit CVs to no more than two pages.  You have no idea what it is like when you have advertised a position, asked for abbreviated CVs and receive eleven pages from one person. These include copies of not only every certificate, but also letters from headmasters, priests and the lady down the road Remember that the purpose of sending your CV is to get you the interview; there will be time for all the proof later.  The only impression you give is that you cannot read properly and cannot follow simple instructions  - Hello?

Put you name in BOLD at the top of the CV, and make sure that your contact numbers are correct and up-to-date.  It is also helpful to let the person whose number you have given out know that you have done so.



      Information about the prospect

If you are granted an interview, dont spend the intervening time getting nervous about it and wondering what to wear.  This is time to do some homework.  Find out about the company, or organisation.  Look in the telephone book to see how many branches there are, and where the Head Office or Regional Office is.  Take a Yellow Pages and check if they are there and how the describe what they do.  If you are lucky enough to have access to the Internet, see if you can find out more about the company there.  A salesperson should never go on a call without pre-call planning, the usually dont get the sale.

      Information about the prospect

Who will be interviewing you, what is their position and will they make the final decision.



      Appearance: dress appropriately

When I say dress appropriately, what I mean is suitably. Certain companies have certain dress codes.  If you are able to arrive for an interview looking as if you could immediately fit right in; you are already at an advantage. 

Walk tall and sit when invited to.  Sit straight and keep eye contact as often as possible.

      Shaking hands invading peoples space

Shaking hands is professional.  You are able to make personal contact with a person without invading their space.  This sends a message that you are open, but not familiar, friendly but professional.


4.      PROBING

      What information do you need

      What information does the prospect need



      What documentation to take with you

Essential tools of the trade:

Your product - which is your CV, this time together with all your certificates, testimonials etc.

Your own pen

A copy of your ID and drivers license (if you have one)

      Application forms

You may well be asked to complete a standard application form on arrival for your interview.  Complete it as neatly as possible, it is often a barometer on how neat and accurate a person is.



      How do you know the interview is over

As long as there are questions from either side, the interview should continue. However, if the person interviewing you closes his papers, looks at you and says, thank you for coming in, we will let you know, stand up and prepare to leave.   Dont just keep on sitting and looking hopeful, it wont help.

      Do you still want the position

At some point you have to ask yourself if you want the position.  If this is the case, then tell them.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling the interviewer that you are interested in the position and hope that your application will be considered.  At least you are giving the other party something to go one.  Once again, this may just give you an edge.

      Are they interested in your application

Ask if they will be having a second round of interviews, and when.  Ask when they anticipate making a decision.  At least this way, if you have not heard from them by that time, chances are you have not been successful. Thanking is reciprocal

Always thank the other party for their time.  Interviewing is extremely taxing and time consuming.  You want to choose the right person, for the right reasons. And yet you often are faced with many candidates who are suitable. You could have many other pressing matters to attend to, which could even include doing the job you are interviewing for.  Recognise this. It will enable you to develop empathy, which will be invaluable in any business situation.


7.      FOLLOW-UP

      As any salesperson in the world and they will confirm that you never get a sale from every call.  In fact a hit rate of 10% in some industries is considered quite remarkable.  Some companies believe that to obtain appointments of one in twenty is considered more than acceptable.  So to with your job hunting. It all depends on how many positions there are (DEMAND) and how many job seekers (SUPPLY).  Try and analyse why your sales pitch was unsuccessful in a cold and clinical manner and remember, often the person interviewing you is in search of a particular character type, and you may simply not fit that profile.   It is self-defeating to take unsuccessful job applications personally; after all it is probably their loss anyway.



      Remember that once you have obtained the job, it is important to continue impressing the way you did at your interviews.  You obtained the position based on what you told them and their impression of you as a person.  Dont let this slip.


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