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how to find and contact a hiring manager about a job without seeming desperate

How To Find & Contact Hiring Managers About A Specific Sales Role (Without Seeming Desperate)

In this article, we’ll explain how to contact a hiring manager about a specific sales role—without coming across as desperate or overly aggressive.

After scrolling your way through a seemingly endless list of job postings, you finally found a sales role that seems absolutely perfect for you.

You polished up your resume, drafted a tailored cover letter, and submitted all of the necessary application materials.

Everything you need to do in order to be considered is done. But, you’re also eager to find a way to make a more personal connection—to go beyond the anonymity of the hiring process and put a face with your name.

One of the best ways to do this? By reaching out to the hiring manager with a friendly, professional, and completely un-pushy message.

Did that very thought just make your palms clammy? We know—putting yourself out there during your job search can be intimidating. Despite the fact that you work in sales, it’s still tough to sell yourself.

So, let’s dive in!

But First… A Word Of Caution

Reaching out to make a personal connection with somebody at the company can be a smart move.

However, it should never serve as a replacement for going through the application process that the employer has outlined.

For that reason, it’s wise not to reach out to the hiring manager about a specific role until after you’ve followed their instructions for officially tossing your hat into the ring.

Ignoring the steps that they’ve mapped out and instead opting to get in touch with a general, “I’m very interested in this position—please consider me!” message will only make you seem lazy and disrespectful.

So, make sure to heed the directions for applying (seriously, every last one) and then consider reaching out to the hiring manager as a secondary step to elevate your candidacy.

It’s great to be proactive about forging relationships—but, that doesn’t mean you can skip important steps and make up your own rules.

How to Find Hiring Managers

With that disclaimer out of the way, how do you find the hiring manager for a specific role? There are a couple of different tactics you can implement to zone in on the right person to contact.

1. Search the Company Website

Depending on the size of the company, you might be able to identify the appropriate point of contact directly on the website.

Click through to the “About Us” or “Team” pages and see if the company lists team members individually. If so? Look for someone that has a job title that relates to hiring, recruitment, talent management, or human resources.

2. Leverage LinkedIn

No luck on the website? As a salesperson, you already know that LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for forging relationships. So, it’s time to do some detective work on that platform.

From the LinkedIn homepage, begin by typing the name of the company you’re applying to in the search bar. If that employer has a LinkedIn profile, you should see it pop up within your search results.

leveraging linkedin search to contact hiring managers

Once you’re on that company’s LinkedIn page, you’ll see a link that says “See All Employees on LinkedIn.” Click that, and you’ll be brought to a page that displays the LinkedIn profiles of that specific company’s employees.

For this example, we’re looking at the LinkedIn profile of Google—which means there are thousands of employees. If the company you’re applying to isn’t nearly as large, you’ll have a much easier time zoning in on the appropriate contact.

But, if not? Use the filters to help you narrow your results. Click the “Filters” button and then type in a keyword (i.e. “talent” or “hiring”) to see only people who have that term in their job title.

job searching on linkedin

How to Contact Hiring Managers

You’ve found the person that you want to contact. Now, there’s another big question hanging over your head: What do you say? What sort of message is polished and professional—without seeming pushy?

After you’ve submitted your application, your best bet is to send a connection request (along with a personalized message) via LinkedIn.

Why is LinkedIn better than email? Well, for starters, it’s a social network—meaning it’s a far more casual and low-pressure way to reach out.

Secondly, because it’s a social platform, it makes for an incredibly easy way to stay in touch. A simple “like” or “comment” on that contact’s activity will keep you at the forefront of his or her mind—without having to send formal or purposeful emails in order to do so.

When you do send a personalized connection request, keep things short (you’ll have limited characters anyway) and somewhat general. Remember, this isn’t your opportunity to get into a lengthy discussion about the role. Instead, your goal is just to make an introduction and demonstrate your interest in the position.

This means that your messages should hit on three key things:

  • Your name
  • The position you just applied for
  • Your enthusiasm for finding out more about the role

With that in mind, your finished message could look something like this:

Hello Susan,

My name is Kat, and I just applied for the Sales Director position with Dunder Mifflin. I know my skills are a great match for what you’re searching for, and I’m really looking forward to finding out more about the opportunity.

In the meantime, I’d love to keep in touch on LinkedIn!

Best,

Kat

This message is friendly and concise. But, perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t make an ask. It doesn’t beg for an interview. It doesn’t ask about the hiring timeline. There’s no action that the recipient needs to take other than to accept your request.

That’s important. Much like when prospecting, the more straightforward (and less desperate) your message is, the higher the likelihood the hiring manager will accept your connection request and perhaps even respond.

When that happens you have a foot in the door and a somewhat personal connection with that company—which can help you stand out from the competition and land an interview.

Over to You

Getting in touch with a hiring manager about a specific role can be a smart move to help you make an impact after you’ve submitted your application. After all, being able to put a face with your name (and your impressive experience) will make you all the more memorable for employers.

However, there’s no denying that step can still be nerve-wracking.

If you want to skip it altogether? Create a profile on Rainmakers. You can share your history, showcase your skills, and have interested employers directly contact you—rather than the other way around.

Does that sound way too good to be true? We promise it’s not. Apply now to get accepted and setup your own profile.

what is a rainmaker in sales (and how to become one)

What Is A Rainmaker In Sales? (And How To Become One)

What Is A Rainmaker In Sales?

In sales, a rainmaker is known as a person who flourishes in business development and wins new deals at an impeccable rate. Rainmakers are A-Players that typically outperform every person in the organization.

Anyone serious about building their career in sales has thought about or asked, “what is a rainmaker” in sales – and how do I become one? Top performers in sales are equipped for top performance in life and in business, too.

They have a range of skills and abilities used to understand and form alliances, as well as challenge and push for the right outcomes to create success. Those who can make this happen are not only top performers in sales, but they can quickly climb the career ladder.

Establishing The Rainmaker Mindset

People argue about how sales people are either born, or made successful. Is it in their DNA, or are they taught?

I believe it’s actually about the mindset and attitude you have as a sales person.

If you speak to prospects as though they are just a stepping stone toward achieving your own goals, you’ll get no cooperation from the prospect. This is why I think it is so important to think very clearly about what sectors and industries you actually care about.

Having this understanding will stop you from trampling over prospects and prospective clients. But if you have invested real interest in the sector the prospect is in, and work for a company solving their problems, you will act in a way that works toward solving their problems. You’ll think of the prospect before your own needs.

If you care about something, you’ll put in the work, too. Sales people have the unique ability to put in more work and get more return from it if they do things right. If you care about the niche or sector you’re helping, what better motivation to put in the extra hour or two after everyone else has already gone home for the day?

Developing The Rainmaker Skills

Let’s breakdown the skills of a Rainmaker into 4 categories:

  1. Listening
  2. Expertise
  3. Ability to ask great questions
  4. Control

The emphasis today on personal and professional development has never been higher.

I personally invest hours of time – day and night – in learning new things.

You don’t have to sit on your laptop and go through an expensive course, but there is so much content available at your disposal.

I listen to sales podcasts instead of music while I work most days, and even when I am taking some time to relax at the weekend I’ll use my phone podcast app to listen to a few episodes whenever I can.

Make the most of times when you have silence. When I drive, an audiobook can be played. When at the gym, podcasts or audiobooks can be consumed.

If you have time to read, check out these essential sales books for building a rock solid foundation in your career.

Listening

First and foremost, you must listen to what prospects say. If you don’t hear anything when they talk, how can you tailor your message and solution, let alone the conversation to help them as best you can? Listen to what is said by a prospect, understand their problems, reasoning and goals. What is the need, why is there a need? If you know the answers to these questions, however basic they may seem, you can at least tailor your response to get into the heart of the problem and solve it. There is nothing less engaging in sales than a generic-sounding, almost scripted sales person talking.

Become An Expert

The natural second part to listening to a prospect is to actually have a great understanding of the market and the problems they have. Your product/service knowledge must be exemplary. There is no excuse to not have the best knowledge of what you sell on your team – if you haven’t got the best knowledge of it, you operate at a disadvantage.

Nobody wants to speak to a person who can’t help them. You need to really understand how to direct and guide the client from their current situation toward the successful outcome. This requires a level of skill, knowledge and experience. If you feel you lack any one of those 3 factors, do whatever you can to build on them. Ask to watch how a client is onboarded and serviced if you feel the experience is lacking. Or brush up on your product knowledge if you can’t answer tricky questions well.

Questions

Asking great questions is an art you need to learn. You must prepare these questions before any call but be able to adapt should things not play out how you think they will. The art of asking great questions revolves mainly around quick, but considered, thinking.

You must ask a question that extracts the information you need from the prospect, but also one that moves them to think about the situation in a different way so they can see the right path to solving the problem. Get them to see things in a new light. It is much like solving a moving puzzle, but nobody said sales was easy!

Before going into a call, think about this: if in every situation the prospect knew the right way to get to the outcome they wanted, they would have done it already. The sales person wouldn’t need to add any value, or solve any problems. So, think about what the real problem is, or what the real solution is. Educate and consult on how the prospect and account can reach the outcome. It is your job to have them realize the correct way to reach the goal.

Control

One thing it is vital to remember in the world of sales today is that control is key. You will wait forever for the perfect prospect to stumble into your pipeline who books your next calls for you and asks to have your AE join the next call at the right stage. Sales is like training to be a tennis player. The sales person in many ways is the instructor who is dictating the speed and direction of the rally, or the conversation. They adjust what they are doing according to how the other player is working, but ultimately, they are the instructor. The instructor is there to teach the other player and to help them break through the walls and steps they need to get through in order to be successful.

Recap: Becoming A Rainmaker

Of course, this must be done tactfully. There is a level to which you can’t tell your prospect the next call WILL be at a specific time and date, and they WILL bring their VP on the call, etc. You need to establish the control cleverly, by explaining why the VP needs to be on the call, for example. After all, if sales people had zero control they would spend all of their time talking to lower level employees who couldn’t actually implement a change at senior level.

how to negotiate a salary increase in your job

How To Successfully Negotiate A Salary Increase In Your Current Sales Job

Negotiating a salary raise can be tough, even for the most experienced negotiators. In this article, we’ll break down how to do this in the context of sales, but the principles of negotiation can be applied to any role or industry.

Let’s face it, we all want more money in our job, but very few people (if anyone) enjoy the negotiating process.

Just thinking about it makes even the most seasoned pro break out in sweat. However, it need not be this way. By preparing ahead of time, you have a much better chance of achieving your negotiating goals.

A key point to consider: research says salespeople who negotiate earn 7k more on average each year than their counterparts who do not. Over a career, this can add up to nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

The trick to any successful negotiation is to be prepared, so roll up your sleeves and get ready to negotiate.

6 Things To Do BEFORE The Salary Negotiation

  1. Research is key. Know more than your boss about every aspect of your career. How much would it cost to replace you? What do others make in similar industries?
  2. Visualize the encounter- what are the objections? Write them down and have a researched answer for each one.
  3. Reach out to recruiters in your field and find out what your contemporaries are paid. Ask them for advice in the negotiating process. These are people who negotiate every day.
  4. First, by yourself in front of a mirror. Watch to make sure your body and face look calm. Remember to breathe and smile, even when you receive bad news. Make good eye contact, but do break away, and look out the window for seconds at a time. This will allow your boss to relax and really hear you.
  5. Practice closer to the real date with a close friend. Get feedback on your body language and your verbal pitch.
  6. Prepare visual content that speaks to your point. We are visual creatures, and you want to speak quickly and effectively to your points.

20 Steps To Follow DURING The Salary Negotiation

  1. Try owning the space you negotiate in, i.e., taking your boss to a new restaurant, one that you know well. This is a time to impress. You might even order for the both of you. You are showing your “take charge” nature, something that is a winner in sales.
  2. Listen more than you talk in the meeting. Show the skills that make you an amazing salesperson. Repeat your boss’s points back to him to let you know you hear him.
  3. Know the whole picture, base salary, commission, vacation days, upward mobility track, 401K etc. Be able to discuss with research where your current job fits within the industry standard.
  4. Be able to prove how valuable you are: numbers, culture, training, etc. These need to be in either spreadsheet or graph form, big enough that your boss can see it at a glance. Paint the entire picture — if you bring donuts on Tuesday, remind them.
  5. Show the problems the company is facing in the coming years, and how you will help.
  6. Resist the urge to badmouth your fellow workers. Take the high road and be above the petty office gossip.
  7. Come with urgency, you don’t want a raise down the road, or “one day” You want it now!
  8. Imply that recruiters have reached out to you, but that you are loyal. “I know that loyalty is important to you.” You don’t need to lie but be able to prove with evidence how recruiters are looking for people with your skill level.
  9. Use silence, if your boss says no, nod your head, you hear it, but then be silent. He who speaks first loses.
  10. Be prepared to talk about your successes and try to use that as leverage. For example, if you have a strong personal brand, explain how you might leverage that in your sales process.
  11. Try being creative, “What if you paid me more for 3 months, and if I didn’t make my numbers, I would go back to my old salary? “Remember this is a negotiation, where ideas are passed back and forth. Don’t accept any answer, but keep the information flowing.
  12. Try laughing, keeping the meeting light, remind the boss of good times. A lighthearted worker is valuable for the energy they bring to an office.
  13. Agree as much as possible, when you disagree, say things like, “I see what you are saying there, but…” You are showing your ability to listen and have your own ideas.
  14. Ask where you fall in the scale of salespeople? Or know it, what would be the effect of you leaving?
  15. Know the industry: Where are the struggles? Where is the growth? Who are the big players? Who is the competition?
  16. Be prepared to give as well as take. If they can’t meet your salary, can they give you higher stock options? Could you telecommute 1 or 2 days a week?
  17. Could you train new salespeople for an additional bonus?
  18. Don’t be afraid to bring some personal information into the meeting, talk about your plans for building a house, or moving your mom to live with you. These make you look like more than just a worker.
  19. Show how you could grow into management, how you could help the boss retire early. Or work less.
  20. If you have made mistakes, missed quota, or had other office problems, be the one to bring them up. Show how you have grown as a result.

4 Things To Do AFTER The Salary Negotiation

  1. Pick up the check, this can go miles in proving how generous you are. When your boss objects, say “You can always grab the next one.”
  2. Be prepared to be watched like a hawk the next few days as your boss thinks about what was discussed. Let your work reflect your words.
  3. Write a thank you letter to your boss for meeting with you. Cover the main points that were discussed, and what, if any, agreements that you came to.
  4. Be prepared for the idea that it may take more than one meeting to get your raise. Be in for the long game.

By learning to negotiate we can get more of what we really want in life. Most people give in too easy here, and we let others dictate what we get.

However, the master negotiator doesn’t, and as a result they make more money and are more satisfied in their sales careers.

Learn to negotiate and win.

should i tell my boss I'm looking for a new job?

Should I Tell My Boss I’m Looking For A New Sales Job?

Should you tell your boss you’re looking for a new job? This article is explained in the context of sales, but it can be applied to any profession. Let’s dig in.

Opportunities seem to be everywhere. Your friends and colleagues are leveling up, and you’re starting to feel like it’s YOUR time to do the same.

One question always arises: should you tell your current employer or boss that you’re looking for a new position?

Let’s look at the Pros & Cons of both sides of the question…

Your current boss is actually a close friend.

PRO:

Is your relationship with your boss good? Can it handle something like this? Oftentimes we have developed deep positive relationships with our boss. He/she has trained us, gone to bat for us when things are wrong, and been a mentor for our careers. It would feel like betrayal to go behind his/her back.

Example:

Mary would have never started her Real Estate Sales career without the assistance of her boss, Mark, who recognized aspects of her personality that he thought were “sales” material. The thought of even talking with a recruiter seemed like plunging a knife into Mark’s back.

CON:

Your network is everything, but you don’t want this to damage the relationship. Your boss is nice to you, but that’s how she acts to everyone who works there. Be mindful, however, that this doesn’t mean you need to tell her everything.

Example:

Richard really enjoyed working closely with his boss, Nick, and they even enjoyed a relationship outside of work. Three years into the position, Richard became bored and jumped on a new opportunity when it came along. There was a point at which he thought about telling Nick, but since there was no other position in the company that could reignite his interest, Richard gave his two weeks with little explanation. Three years later, he has no regrets and even sees Nick as a friend.

Your boss might be an ally and help you find something that fits.

It costs so much time and money to hire and train a new employee, so your boss will be grateful if you are honest.

He/she may even help you find something at your current business that is more in line with what you’re seeking.

So many people just quit, so you will appear different and unique by doing sharing your needs in respectful way.

Even if you are fired, you will come out looking better for your honesty. You won’t use the company’s time or resources to look for new opportunity.

PRO:

Your boss will respect your honesty and reward it.

Example:

Danny was an excellent AE. He hit his sales quota every month, but his work was unfulfilling.

He constantly watched the clock and dreaded each Monday. When he unexpectedly got a chance to train the new hires, Danny was excited about work for the first time.

He approached his boss, whom he considered a close ally, with a plan to split his day into part AE/part sales trainer.

His boss, who was initially reluctant, realized that Danny was not fulfilled and if he didn’t give him this opportunity, he would leave to find it elsewhere.

CON:

If you stay in the same field, you are in direct competition with your old company. Going head-to-head with the people who gave you a start in a particular field is troubling.

Example:

Linda wouldn’t even be in this line of work, had her boss, Tammy, not seen something in her and pushed her hard. She was on the bottom rankings for months, but Tammy still believed in her. When the recruiter reached out, Linda was flattered but made it clear that she would never go head-to-head with Tammy’s company. She eventually found another line of work she liked better that didn’t conflict with her loyalty.

It’s not about the job, it’s about the culture.

Sometimes our desire to leave has nothing to do with the boss. Rather, it’s a toxic company culture that is pushing us to go. It might be the line of work itself or our fellow workers. Whatever the cause, work is no longer fulfilling. We just aren’t enjoying work, so we know we need a change.

PRO:

We can’t change company culture. We can either adapt or leave.

Example:

When Pete first started at Company XYZ, he loved the loud sales floor and all of the chaos that was his job. As time went on, this kind of work drained him.

After visiting his friend’s job, where the sales floor was silent, that seemed like a better fit for him. He thought about approaching his current boss about a shift in his position; however, there was not a position that wasn’t directly involved with the loud floor except for accounting. Pete knew he would have to leave.

As nice as his boss was, Pete knew that his boss thought this was the only way to run a sales floor. He had trained this way, run his floor the very same way, and was resistant to any changes. Pete applied for the new job and left his current position without any guilt. He is two years into his new position, which he loves.

CON:

Company culture is something we learn to adapt to, and it’s a chance for growth.

Example:

Nora was always the quiet one, so FinTech was a hard place for her initially — especially with a loud sales floor and a bell that rang after each sale. She thought about quitting, but the pay was too good. After a few months of ringing that bell herself, something shifted inside of her, and now Nora is an A-Player that loves the loud atmosphere and has fully embraced the ruckus attitude.

Some people don’t handle this kind of rejection well.

Your “secrecy” might be your best weapon. Some people feel their current boss hasn’t earned their loyalty or the right to know the “truth” about the way they feel about their job.

Has your current boss earned the “truth”? Perhaps the company culture is such that even a new position with the current company will not be satisfactory.

PRO:

You would tell the boss you are dissatisfied and looking for something new, but they will just punish you for honesty.

Example:

Laura had seen her boss not handle job dissatisfaction in her coworker very well. “Don’t let the door hit you in the backside,” was a constant refrain. He was the kind of boss who you were either with or against. Laura had been dissatisfied for a year now, but there was never anything better on the horizon. When a new job opportunity materialized unexpectedly, she naturally jumped on it.

CON:

Even if the boss yells and doesn’t handle it well, you have to be honest.

Example:

Clint wanted to move up to AE from his current SDR position, but he knew that his boss would just tell him it was too early. When the recruiter called and sent him the AE job offer, Clint confidently showed his boss. Fireworks and slammed doors ensued, but Clint knew that his boss knew that Clint would one day be an AE.

Honesty won’t work because the boss can’t hear you.

It has been said that running a business is like attending to a screaming baby. Your career is more than your job; it is your livelihood. A good boss can see you beyond your current position.  She can see where you need to be.

PRO:

They say telling the truth to someone who can’t hear it is like telling them a lie.

Example:

Mark loved his boss, but every time he approached her about moving up, or learning new skills, she waved him away saying, “You are my best SDR.” Mark believed her, but the thought of being an SDR in two years made him sick to his stomach. He knew he could, and would, make an excellent AE. When a recruiter finally approached him, Mark scheduled a sick day to meet. “I got the job, and quit with no notice and no regrets,” he remembers, “This is not just a job; this is my career.”

CON:

You would like to be able to use this job as reference, but if you just quit, that will never happen.

Example:

Jen was stuck in her sales job, never in the top rankings, but never in the bottom. She knew just leaving would mean that her dream of working for X Company would never happen. She decided to stay and push harder for high rankings. It took several years, but she proud of her decision to stick it out.

Conclusion: Should You Tell Your Boss You’re Looking For A New Job?

It is a moral and personal decision whether to tell the boss you are looking for a new job. Some people will have regrets while others have none. Either way, it is a decision we make and then live with for the better – or worse – of our careers.

key sales skills for tech salespeople

Top 5 Key Skills Needed For Absolutely Crushing It In Tech Sales

In this article, we’ll breakdown the top 5 key sales skills that are essential for high performance in tech sales.

When it comes to sales professionals, there are the good ones, the bad ones and the ones that are simply great at what they do.

The bad ones are easy to spot. They’re the ones giving the profession a bad name and tend to fit in with the negative stereotypes we see and hear about in the media. Bad salespeople tend to focus only on themselves and what they stand to gain in making a deal happen. They give little thought, if any, to how the deal will impact their customer. They’re also usually very disorganized and sometimes even outright dishonest about the terms of the deal.

What all this amounts to is a horrible customer experience and one that will not keep them around for very long. This commercial about a badger personified as a used car salesman, though fictional and exaggerated, provides a perfect example of what a bad salesman is likely to act like:

Good salespeople are a little different in that they don’t work with customers in a way that leaves a bad taste in their mouth. They’re usually pretty friendly and diligent in getting their work done. They deliver on what’s promised and do their best to live up to expectations but where they fall short is in failing to go above and beyond. Most average salespeople, are just that. Average. These are the guys that, as most would say, simply go through the motions. They approach their work as something that just needs to be done rather than taking pride in the fact that they’re able to provide value to their customers.

That’s where great salespeople set themselves apart. Great salespeople take pride in what they do and live for the mission of continuing to provide that value. So how do you go from being a good salesman to a great salesman? There are a lot of factors that affect what makes a great salesperson and those factors will likely vary depending on who  you ask. However, here’s a targeted list of the key sales skills that will unequivocally up your sales game if you focus on developing them.

1. Grit

According to Angela Lee Duckworth, the greatest predictor of success, and even more important than IQ, is grit. Grit is the ability to continue pushing yourself to working hard even in the face of what are seemingly insurmountable odds. The people with high levels of grit are those that are able to keep themselves going even when others have lost hope and given up.

This is directly relevant in the world of sales because let’s face it, sales is definitely a numbers game. There may be lucky streaks where you manage to find a series of wins in a short amount of time, but more often than not you’ll have to comb through a hundred “no’s” before you make it to that elusive “yes”. Those hundred “no’s” can definitely start to feel like an eternity.

What often happens is that after hearing no for the first 30 or so times, many salespeople start to lose their fire. Each failed attempt seems to chip away at their hopes of success and leads them to lose their vigor. Even more so, some salespeople also seem to give up from simply not being able to get a hold of someone and assume that a lack of response means that there’s a lack of interest.

The great salespeople go to great lengths to ensure they get an answer from their prospect, whatever that answer might be. They’ve developed thick skin and are able to persevere in the face of all these difficulties, knowing that it’s only a matter of time until all their hard work pays off and they land that one huge success that makes it all worth it. They don’t let the small losses affect them because they understand that these are minor roadblocks in their inevitable path to success. They’re professionally persistent and optimistic that an opportunity always exists until there’s definitive proof that demonstrates otherwise.

2. Emotional Intelligence

Great salespeople are also very effective at understanding their customer’s needs. The reason they’re so great a this is because of something that’s widely known as emotional intelligence. They’re able to put themselves in their customer’s shoes to really understand what’s important to them. What are the needs versus the wants? What are the biggest pain points and challenges the customer is facing? What are the risks involved with going forward or not going forward with the deal from the perspective of your buyer? These are all questions that a great sales professional should easily be able to answer when evaluating a deal.

They understand that the customer is not concerned with how large the commission check will turn out to be and are instead more focused on the value they will recognize from buying the product or service that is being offered. The greats are able to recognize that if they properly identify this value, they can use that knowledge to quickly close business with agreeable terms.

Another reason that great sales professionals develop their emotional intelligence is that they understand that there’s a premium associated with trust. Trust will beat price any day, which the reason why brands that people know and love are so valuable. Unless price is the most important factor in your prospect’s criteria, building trust and value is the best way you can increase your odds of winning that deal. If the price difference is marginal the customer will almost always go with the vendor they’ve developed the most trust with during the buying cycle.3.

3. Time and Task Management

Being busy does not always mean that you’re being productive. So you’ve made a hundred dials today and had 15 or so conversations? So what? If those 15 conversations were with the wrong people or at companies that don’t fit in with your ideal customer profile, you may find out in a few weeks that those opportunities may never amount to anything.

In sales there truly is a benefit to working smarter and not harder. Therefore the great salespeople know how to effectively manage their time and recalibrate their focus on the most important priorities. They identify the target companies and prospects that have the highest likelihood of bringing in business and they focus extensively on those.

Those highest on the leaderboards are also very cognizant of the health of their pipeline. They recognize that even if they have a ton of deals currently in the works, if there’s nothing filling up the top of the sales funnel, they’ll eventually find themselves with a dead pipeline somewhere down the road. Therefore these guys are ALWAYS prospecting, no matter what. If they work at an organization that doesn’t provide business development support, they find the time to put in even just a few hours each week to make sure they are finding ways to continue feeding their pipeline. In doing this, they’re able to keep their results consistent unlike the average sales professional who may fall victim to more streaky sales as a result of improper pipeline management.

4. Navigating an Organization

This may seem fairly straight-forward but there’s a slight finesse that’s required in effectively navigating an organization. Most people probably think that you just need to get a hold of the right titles with the right message and everything will be golden but that’s not always the case.

There are situations where you may just catch someone on an off day and therefore won’t be open to any messaging no matter how it’s positioned. Additionally, there’s always the chance of something getting mis-communicated or misunderstood. Therefore it’s important to understand how your prospective company is organized so you can use that knowledge to your advantage when trying to figure out who the best alternative people are to reach.

For example, let’s say you pitched to a Director at Company A but for some reason he or she just didn’t buy into your value proposition as strongly as you would have liked. The deal cycle starts to stagnate and not much activity is happening within the account. You’ve sent 15 emails and dialed them over 10 times. Instead of pestering that same person and potentially souring the relationship it may be better to find someone else who can champion your company internally. However, there would be no point in reaching out to anyone else in the same team as it would roll back up to the same Director and he or she will ultimately come to the same conclusion that your company’s value is questionable.

You should instead understand how the company is mapped out and find another relevant Director, or even someone at the VP level, to re-pitch your product or service to. Explain things to your new prospect in a way that makes sense to them and let them convince your old prospect to change their mind. The same message can sometimes be received very differently depending on the source.

5. Storytelling

Of all the skills on this list, the ability to effectively tell a captivating story is probably the most important. There’s something about the human mind that makes it easier for us to remember stories better than lists of facts. Great sales professional use this to their advantage by weaving their value propositions and previous achievements in throughout the course of a story.

Where the average sales person may come to a meeting to simply ‘show up and throw up’, the seasoned professional will take a minute to bring some calm and comfort into the situation. They’ll spend a few minutes building up rapport and then find ways to lead the conversation towards the ways in which their company is working with or has worked with other clients for their benefit.

Compare the following two examples.

Example 1:

“Hello Mr. Client, thank you for your time today. I’d love to talk to you today about the new amazing features our product is capable of and how it will benefit  you moving forward. With Feature X, your employees will be able to accomplish their daily tasks with 15% greater efficiency. Additionally in switching to our product, our other clients are also seeing cost savings as high as 5 to 10%, resulting in an average ROI of 135%. Most importantly, we keep our customers happy and can even prove it with our 95% retention rate.”

It might get a few people’s attention so not bad. But…

Example 2:

“Hello Mr. Client, thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. I understand that you’re currently looking for a new solution that can help you save some money while also helping increase the productivity of your employees. Is that correct? Great. Let me introduce you to Acme Corp, one of our current clients. Their business isn’t exactly the same but it’s fairly similar to yours and they actually approached us because they were facing issues that mirror much of what you’ve been telling us about so far. They’re workforce was not as productive as they would have liked and they thought they were overpaying with their previous vendor. After switching to our product, they were able to increase their company’s productivity by 15% and save 8% on their yearly contract. After only 2 years of using our product, they realized an ROI of 135%. To this day, John, their CEO, says that he couldn’t be happier with his decision, which is actually not uncommon for us to hear given that we have a retention rate of 95%.”

Perhaps not the most eloquent of examples but I hope it makes my point. Given that it will likely be a few hours or even a few days before your prospect will have to share his or her thoughts with the rest of the team on what you’ve presented, it will be the second example that will be the easiest to remember. Unlike the first example, it juxtaposes the situation before and after the decision to do business with your company and does so in a logical manner that’s easy to follow.

There are of course many other skills a true sales professional will likely want to develop beyond those on this list but focusing on these 5 should be a good start for those looking to get themselves to the next level. If you’re lacking in any of these areas right now, spend the next few weeks really working on developing these skills. You may be surprised at how quickly they will start to have an impact on the success you’re seeing with your own deals.

-Dean Park

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

Get approached by tech companies offering tech sales jobs.

SPIN Selling

SPIN Selling: A Legendary Sales Methodology To Guide Your Discovery Calls

In this post we’ll breakdown everything you need to know about SPIN selling, and how to use it to guide your discovery calls. 

What Is SPIN Selling?

Spin selling guides the sales conversation once a prospect is engaged. It helps the sales professional understand what types of questions they should be asking in order to conduct an effective discovery call. Let’s take a closer look and go over what each letter in this acronym stands for. We recently did a breakdown of BANT, so check that out too if you’re curious. 

S – Situation

S stands for Situation and these questions are used to help you get a better understanding of what’s going on in your buyer’s world. Through this line of questioning, you should be able to uncover what’s been happened with the prospect historically and what led them to begin a conversation with you. You should be trying to identify the key facts that help you effectively understand the background of your buyer and his or her organization.   

Here are a few examples of Situation questions you can ask on your next discovery call:

  • What are you currently doing today and how does that compare to what you were doing in the past?
  • What’s leading you to explore a new solution now?
  • What tools are you using and what does that process look like today?

Once you have a clear understanding of the facts and where your customer stands you can move on to the next part of the acronym, which is the P.

P – Problem

P stands for Problem questions and these should be used to have your customer divulge to you their pains. You should aim to learn what’s causing them trouble and pushing them to look for a solution.

Much like the situation questions, you are simply collecting facts. You want to get a solid understanding of what is bothering them and what it is they are trying to fix. After all, the job of a great salesman is to be a helpful consultant. How can you consult on an issue if you don’t even know what their problem is?

Here are a few problem questions you can look at as examples of what you should be asking:

  • How much time are you spending doing this process manually?
  • Do you ever have instances where something falls through the cracks?
  • Is this issue having a negative impact on your business?

I – Implication

Now what comes next is I which stands for Implication questions and these should be used to highlight a cause and effect relationship based on your understanding of the buyer’s current situation.

Truly skillful salesmen set themselves apart through their masterful use of these types of questions. By asking the right questions, the sales rep can bring the prospect to realize themselves the severity and importance of the problem at hand without explicitly telling the prospect. When done effectively, the customer will essentially come to sell themselves on the idea that something needs to be done, and FAST.

To help you better understand what implications are and how you can use them, check out a few of the examples below:

  • If you don’t do anything to change your current process, what do you foresee happening to your business moving forward?
  • If you don’t address these inefficiencies, how much would that cost your business on a yearly basis?
  • What’s the opportunity cost of not bringing in a new solution and addressing this issue?

If you’re really good at utilizing this framework you can even piggyback off your problem questions to lead into the implication ones.

Let’s take some of our examples from earlier to help illustrate what I mean:

  • How much time are you spending doing this process manually?
  • If you continue to go about this in the same fashion, would that negatively impact your other responsibilities?
  • Do you have instances where something falls through the cracks?
  • What was the business impact in those kinds of situations?
  • Is this issue having a negative impact on your business?
  • If you don’t do something about it now, what do you think the annual cost to your business will be?

N – Need Payoff Questions

N stands for Need-payoff questions. What this means is that you should be using these questions to highlight what the customer stands to gain by choosing to move forward with your product or service.

What are the benefits in working with you and what do they stand to gain by doing so?

Below are a few examples of need-payoff questions to help you better understand what they are and how you can use them in your own sales processes:

  • By automating processes that you’re doing manually today, how much time do you think you’ll be able to save?
  • What are some ramifications you can foresee from having more freed up time?
  • By implementing a solution to address this issue today, understandably you’d be saving a lot of money. What would those savings mean for your business?
  • By using a tailor-made system built just for your business, you’ll likely see a huge jump in efficiency and ultimately your business’ reputation which is actually something you can advertise. Do you find value in having something like this as a competitive differentiator?

Conclusion: SPIN Selling

Granted the examples I’ve provided may not be the perfect match for every situation and every product or service but hopefully, it provides you with a basic understanding of what this framework is and how to use it. Using this simply as a model to guide your future sales processes, hopefully, you’ll be able to conduct extremely effective discovery calls that will ultimately lead to greater sales.

Additionally, because we are condensing the book into a short blog post these are essentially just the fundamentals. If you want to take a deeper dive and really expand your knowledge on how to most effectively use the SPIN selling technique I’d recommend picking up the book and giving it a read yourself. There’s much more detailed information in there around the effective use of this framework that we aren’t able to cover here.

-Dean Park

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

Get high paying Account Executive sales jobs at Rainmakers!

networking for salespeople

Networking for Salespeople: 11 Steps For Achieving Personal & Professional Growth

Networking for sales professionals has long been considered sage advice and for good reason. This best practice can open up many doors for you whether in friendships, mentorships, new career opportunities and even earning referral sales opportunities.

But What Exactly Is Networking? (And How Should You Go About It?)

To network is to cultivate people around you who can help you professionally. This is something that may come naturally to some but for most, and especially for those of us who are more introverted, the task can seem much more daunting than it is appealing.

Becoming proficient at networking is synonymous to mastering the art of making friends. At the end of the day we’re all human beings and as such have a tendency to want to help one another. This is a truer sentiment when those who need help are the befriended.

However, this is much easier said than done. To walk into a room full of strangers, present yourself in a confident manner and quickly find relatable topics of conversation to build relationships is no easy task. After all, it’s not like we’re mind readers.

Here are a few tips you can lean on to help make the whole process of transitioning strangers to friends a more welcoming ordeal.

Step 1: Prepare A Personal Pitch

The first thing you’ll want to do to get ready for a networking event is to prepare a personal pitch. Your personal pitch is a quick but exemplary description of who you are and what you do.

After all, the question you’ll probably have to answer the most at any networking event is, “Who are you? And what do you do?”

Having a quick answer to these questions that is easy to comprehend is key to helping keep your interactions smooth. Stumbling through trying to explain who you are can come off as unconfident and leave a bad initial impression.

Part of your personal pitch will be driven by your goal for the event which is actually a perfect segue to our next piece of advice.

Step 2: Have A Goal In Mind

Networking, like many other endeavors in life, can prove to be ineffective without a clear objective in mind. When approaching a networking event, try and think to yourself what it is you’d like to get out of it. Are you trying to find a mentor? Are you looking for prospects to drive future sales? Or are you simply trying to meet more people in a particular field? Having a specific goal in mind will help frame your interactions and conversations.

Let your goal be your mission and let that mission drive you and let that be clear. Just as you start to understand who the people are that you meet and what they’re doing, they’ll start to understand what you’re looking to accomplish as well. Even if the person you’re talking to at that moment isn’t directly relevant to your goal, they may have just met someone or know someone in their network that can help you get to where you want to be.

Step 3: Have A Few Ice-breakers Prepared Ahead Of Time

Even the most socially adept people in the world are bound to have a few bad interactions. Simply put, it’s impossible to be on top of your game 100% of the time. Maybe you’re drained from a long day at work or perhaps there’s something pressing that suddenly pops into your mind at the wrong moment. Whatever the case, it’s very easy for us to become mentally distracted and for some it only makes the challenge of finding a conversation starter that much more difficult.

As such, to avoid that mental stress and save your energy for keeping engaged with the ongoing conversations, it’s a good idea to have some ice-breakers saved in your back pocket. That way you can just fall back on them without much thinking and get people talking quickly.

The rules of topics to avoid in the workplace also apply here. You don’t want to argue with someone you’ve just met with if you’re trying to win their favor. That means you generally want to avoid talking about politics, religion, personal gossip, death or the myriad of other topics that ay be controversial.

If your mind is running a blank, here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Recent sporting events.
  • Plans for the weekend.
  • Reasons for attending the event.
  • Advice on small challenges that you’re facing personally or at work.
  • Listen intently.

It’s relatively easy for people to tell whether or not someone is genuinely listening to them. I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of this at some point, where we simply nod our heads as someone is talking just to let them get out what they need to say but really we’re mentally checked out somewhere else. On the flipside, I’m sure at some point we’ve been on the receiving end of this behavior as well.

The moment someone realizes that you’re mentally checked out of the conversation is the moment they’ll stop caring about you. Why? They probably feel you don’t care about them. So why should they take an interest in someone who clearly isn’t reciprocating? Needless to say, it’s no way to make a good impression.

When someone is fully engaged in a conversation there will be tell-tale signs that the person has clearly been paying attention. Outside of body language such as facing their direction and nodding your head, a good listener will occasionally rephrase parts of what they’re hearing and offer their thoughts on certain points. If you can relate some of the later topics of conversation to things mentioned earlier in the engagement, you’ll probably land a few bonus points there too.

Step 4: Bring A Friend

In fact, bring a few. Going to networking events as a group can offer several benefits over going it alone. For one, as a group you’ll be able to cover more ground and because you guys have come as a unit. This inherently means that the group already understands each other’s objectives, increasing the chances that at least one of you will find the right person to connect with.

Secondly, you can leverage each other as a social crutch. By sticking together as a pack, you may draw in others to quickly grow your cluster and get conversations started quickly. Additionally, because your group of friends are already familiar with one another the rapport building amongst the group will probably feel more natural and suave, creating a comfortable environment for others to join.

Furthermore, interacting with strangers for a long period of time can definitely prove to be a mentally draining activity. If for some reason you feel you the need to take a break from all the action, you can rendezvous with your friends for some momentary relief.

Of course, there are many other things you could try to work on to improve your chances of making a great first impression such as paying attention to the tonality of your voice and being conscious of your body language.

Why? Because it’s critical that we emphasize how important it is to be cognizant of how we are coming across to other people when we first meet them. Some of the easiest things you can focus on if you’d like to get better at making a good first impression is your tonality and body language.

Just as you can use words to convey different meanings to compel people to feel in certain ways, you can also use your body for that same exact purpose. Through his research in 1971 Professor Mehrabian famously discovered the 7% rule, which is to say that words only contribute 7% to the importance of what is being conveyed. The other 93% is comprised of nonverbal elements such body language and tonality; body language taking the lion’s share of that with 55% and tonality accounting for the other 38%.

Step 5: Make Good, Solid Eye Contact

A quick and easy way to improve your body language is to work on your eye contact. Though it may feel awkward for some, making eye contact is a great way to quickly build rapport with someone you’ve just met. Good eye contact conveys to the speaker that you really are paying attention to and are genuinely interested in what they have to say.

If you are one of those people who find making eye contact awkward or unnatural, as a general rule of thumb where you want to be looking is the triangular area of a person’s face where their eyes and mouth act as the corners of that triangle. You also want to make sure that you’re breaking eye contact naturally with the flow of the conversation from time to time because otherwise, you might just come off as really creepy. You can even try focusing on one eye at a time and alternate between the two to see if it helps make things feel a bit less awkward.

Step 6: Practice Nodding Where Applicable

Another quick nonverbal tip that can win you some easy points is to nod as someone is speaking. Just like eye contact, nodding indicates to the speaker that you understand what they are saying. This is somewhat of a mind-trick, and feel free to test this out, but when someone starts nearing the end of what they intended to say and you want to hear more, simply nod your head 3 times. This encourages them to elaborate further, which often times people do.

Step 7: Remain Aware Of Your Body Orientation

Something else you might want to pay attention to is the way you are orienting your body. You generally want to be positioned so that your chest is facing the person you’re speaking to in a one-on-one engagement or towards the center of the group when in a group setting.

Even if you’re head is facing towards the individual you’re speaking to, if your torso is facing elsewhere that person will get the sense that you are not giving them your full attention.

Slightly more advanced is making sure that your feet are properly oriented as well. Again, you want your feet to be pointing generally in the direction of the person you are speaking to or towards the center of the group when in a group context. Feet can actually say a lot about people’s intentions. When someone is about to leave a conversation, you can often tell because they’re feet will turn in the direction they intend to go before the rest of their body.

Step 8: Keep Good Posture

Confidence is a huge part of making a good impression. When people congregate together in a room, it’s not the coy individuals on the side that everyone takes notice of. No. It’s the confident individuals in the center of the room who really catch people’s attention.

One of the best ways to convey confidence is to have good posture. That means keeping your back straight and chin up. If you’re someone who happens to slouch often, trying to fix your posture can understandably feel awkward. Furthermore, some people may even over correct and strain their backs in a forced effort to keep it straight. You definitely want to be using your back muscles to support your weight but not to the point where you feel uncomfortable when holding your form.

Also, keeping your chin high just means not tucking in your chin too often. Someone who is constantly looking at the floor or otherwise in a downward direction comes off to others as shy and unconfident, which is the exact opposite of the message you want to be sending. This also shouldn’t be overdone to the point where you’re literally looking down on people but is something that you’ll definitely want to be paying closer attention to.

Step 9: Use Reciprocal Tonality

It’s not likely that this is a term you’ll find being used elsewhere but what the idea represents is the use of tone to properly respond to what is being said. For example, if someone just told you about an awesome weekend they had, it would be a great opportunity for you to add some excitement to your voice. This lets the speaker know that they’re doing a good job of sharing their experience and makes them feel that they are better being listened to.

Getting this wrong could do a lot to hurt your chances of making a good first impression. Not that I’d imagine anyone to do this but if someone were to tell you they were ill, a proper response would not be to respond with, “Hey that’s great!” Failing to have the proper response could lead to a very awkward situation so be mindful of how you choose to respond.

Step 10: Have A Strong Voice

Again the goal in your interactions should be to come off as being confident. In addition to having good posture, another way to demonstrate that you are indeed a confident individual is to have a strong voice. As with all of the advice thus far, moderation is key.

You want to be loud enough such that you can easily be heard by those you are speaking to but not so loud such that you’re basically screaming at people. Being too loud or too soft in your speech can definitely irk some people. No one likes to be yelled at and there’s nothing more frustrating than having to put in more effort just to try and make out what someone is saying.

Follow the Goldilocks Principle and find that perfect medium that will pave the path for you to sound like a complete rockstar.

Step 11: Use Hand Gestures Thoughtfully

Lastly, using your hands can be a great way to help make a lasting impression. Using your hands will allow you to be much more expressive in communicating your thoughts and also helps other more easily remember what you’re saying.

When using your hands to communicate, you want your hand gestures to match what’s being said. For example, when describing something small a pinching gesture could do well to accompany your message.

Gesturing also helps you convey a sense of enthusiasm and confidence which is exactly what you want to be doing when you’re trying to network.

So as a quick recap, the things you want to be paying attention to are eye contact, nods, posture, tone, volume, and hands. It may be a bit much to try and improve on all of these areas all at once so I recommend focusing on just 1 or 2 at a time. Once you feel well mastered in one area, move on to the next until you become a networking virtuoso.

Best of luck in growing your network!

-Dean Park

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

Get high paying sales jobs at Rainmakers!

how to get a tech sales job in 2018

How to Get a Sales Job at a Hot Tech Company in a Ridiculously Short Amount of Time

Wanna land a tech sales job in a ridiculously short amount of time?

We’re about to teach you how to do it in 2018. Buckle up.

How To Get a Tech Sales Job… FAST

  1. Be Insanely Specific About Your Goals
  2. Build a List of Hot Tech Companies
  3. Copy Their Sales Job Descriptions To Find Keywords That Matter
  4. Update and Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
  5. Make Sure Your LinkedIn Profile Matches With Your Resume
  6. Reach Out / Engage With Members Of Your Network
  7. Make Alliances With Recruiters
  8. Role Play Your Interview
  9. Book the Phone Interview
  10. Convert to an In-Person Interview
  11. Ace the Interview
  12. Negotiate Your Offer

Follow this step by step guide, and you will succeed. I promise.

Don’t just start doing stuff out of order. Read this guide at least twice, then execute one step at a time.

Even if you have no experience, it doesn’t matter. Follow these steps and you will land in glory.

#1: Be Insanely Specific About Your Goals

Most people define a job title they want (e.g. investment banker) then look to see who was hiring.

Now go and do the complete opposite. Define the kind of company you want first, then identify the position you can add the most value.

You will ABSOLUTELY get better results with a more targeted approach, trust me.

Think about location too. Many hot tech companies (especially in SaaS) are located in San Francisco.

Other emerging hubs are booming too though – like Austin, San Diego, Denver, Boston and New York.

What do you want?

#2: Build a List of Hot Tech Companies (Use a Virtual Assistant, Optional)

Build a list of all the possible companies that you think may be a good fit. You can do this yourself or hire someone on ODesk or eLance to do it for you.

I worked with a woman named Jane who lives in Costa Rica (she does great work).

This is the job description I sent her:

Hey Jane –

I could use your assistance to research available job positions at local tech companies.

Can you build a spreadsheet and find job positions available for “Sales Development Representative” and “Account Executive”.

– find local address closest to san francisco: on above websites or foursquare.com
– find employee count and capital raised here: first on crunchbase.com or then angel.co
– find sales role: on their home website under jobs or careers

Can you send this back to me as soon as possible? Like later today?

Use that to get you started!

Business Insider also has a solid list of tech companies who are hiring right now.

#3: Copy Their Sales Job Descriptions To Find Keywords That Matter

Pick your top 3 target companies.

Then copy and paste the text of their job descriptions into this word cloud generator tool.

Wordsift-screenshot-how-to-get-a-sales-job

You’ll be able to find highly recurring keywords aka keywords that matter to your future employer.

Then use these keywords to update your LinkedIn profile and resume.

For more keywords to brush up on, check out this sales glossary of 260 terms.

#4: Update Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is all about story telling and highlighting your best self.

Present your story in a way that illustrates how all your past experiences have led up to the very moment you apply for a company.

Use the keywords from your word cloud above.

This will make your skills and experience more closely aligned with their job descriptions.

Plus, your profile is more likely to appear in recruiter searches.

Whatever you do, don’t be deceptive! It will come back to haunt you.

#5: Make Sure Your LinkedIn Profile Matches With Your Resume

Nowadays, most tech companies see your LinkedIn profile before your resume anyway.

Make sure you remain consistent across both channels.

Layout and design is important too. Many employers will disqualify you based on this alone (if you bomb it).

I’m serious. Choose a simple design for your resume. Somethings easy to read and understand. You can find plenty of quality resume templates at Creative Market.

#6: Reach Out / Engage With Members Of Your Network

Opportunities can be hidden in unlikely places. And you don’t want to leave any stones un-turned when you’re hunting for your dream job.

Steps one through five are all preparation steps before you can being outbound

But now, it’s time to send out a short 3-5 sentence email to your personal network.

Explain the type of company you want to join and your desired role. It’s hard for people to help if they don’t know exactly what you want.

Also, email your entire network on LinkedIn. You can easily export their contact info into a csv file (complete how-to instructions here). Then email each contact directly or in bulk.

#7: Make Alliances With Recruiters

I think recruiters are great. They are your second channel of warm introductions.

They help you prepare for interviews, they make introductions, and even schedule interviews for you.

A good recruiter should feel like a sidekick.

Here in San Francisco, you can refer to Rainmakers for new opportunities.

Just be honest and transparent when working with a recruiter.

Just tell them about the other opportunities you are pursuing.

That way you avoid any overlap or redundant outreach.

#8: Role Play Interview Over and Over

I’m so awkward during interview role plays. I don’t know why.  But, there is one thing I can do about it. And so can you.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Get comfortable telling your own story.

Role play phone interviews and in-person interviews with yourself first. Then with recruiters.

Trust me. This exercise will pay off.

#9: Book the Phone Interview

By now, your network and your recruiters will begin feeding you opportunities.

It certainly helps to supplement this activity with some direct outreach of your own. Especially to any high priority companies where you don’t have a warm intro.

As the opportunities flow in, start to schedule those phone interviews. Typically, I will schedule no more than 3 interviews per day.

#10: Convert the Phone Interview to an In-Person

Remember to tell a story. Here’s the basic story framework:

  1. Setting
  2. Complication
  3. Turning Point
  4. Resolution

When they ask you sales interview questions, think through all your own personal experiences.

Then choose one experience each time to best represent the full range of your skills and abilities.

These stories should come more naturally once you complete steps one through ten here.

At the end, always ask for next steps. I wouldn’t get too caught up in “closing” people.

Just let them know you’re fired up about the opportunity and want to take next steps with them. And next steps are to meet in-person for an interview.

#11: Ace the In-Person Interview

Always wear a suit and tie.

That’s what you you’ve been told, right?

Well, I don’t recommend it for hot tech companies. A jacket is a nice touch, but nothing more is needed.

Remember, most people in tech love flannels and tee shirts. I advise you to dress slightly above your audience, but still look like you are part of the team.

When you sit down, pull out two copies of your resume and one copy of your cheat sheet. Casually, place them on top of the binder resting in front of you.

Engage with them, tell them your story and always ask for next steps.

#12: Receive and Negotiate Your Offer

You want to love where you work. And they want you to love it too!

So, gather as many job offers as you can. Until, you find the right one. Then negotiate that one offer to close.

Traditionally, there isn’t too much negotiating for junior roles. But as I understand it, the more valuable you become to an organization the more leverage you will have.

Conclusion

This takes work. I went non-stop for three weeks straight. I was booking 2-3 interviews per day.

And I’m confident, if you follow these steps above, you will find your dream sales job at a hot tech company too.

pros and cons of switching jobs

Should​ ​You​ ​Change​ Sales ​Jobs?​ ​The Full List​ ​of​ ​Pros​ ​&​ ​Cons

Should you change jobs?

Here’s a full list of pros and cons to consider when thinking of making a switch. ​​

Look on any LinkedIn Jobs Posting and it becomes apparent that it is a buyer’s market in the Tech SDR and AE talent pool. There are more sales jobs available than any other time in our history, and with good reason. A top-notch AE can be a rainmaker for a company bringing in millions to the bottom line.

SDR’s only have a market life of 18 months, but a skilled Sales Development Rep sets up an AE with solid leads to close, and this is an invaluable skill in our modern business climate. With a new tech company popping up with funding every week and savvy recruiters prowling LinkedIn’s rich waters, chances are if you are a good salesperson someone will make you an offer too good to refuse. We need to look at the pros and cons of a job offer.

However does it make sense to change? Change is good, but with any job change, you need to look at the new vs. old job with a critical eye. Try to make a pros and cons list of a job offer outlining everything that needs the critical eye before the jump.

Perceived PRO: Earning Potential = More Money

Perceived CON: Not As Much Income Security

Did you find a better job or does it just look better?

Where does it fall in the job change decision matrix?

Are the benefits, the work environment, and the income potential all in alignment?

Salespeople sell and are sold to. Which means we buy easier than the average person.

That sales manager who’s talking to you… he sells for a living, and right now he is trying to sell you this job.

That new job looks all shiny and awesome. “You can make X,” the manager says, but WILL you make that?

When you’re asked, “Why do you want to leave your current job?” This is an incredibly tough question to answer because you know what they are thinking. Well, if he would just leave the other guys, when will he leave us? If you answer for the money, then is money the only thing keeping you there? A bad job is not worth any amount of money.

Perceived PRO: It’s a better company to sell for.

Perceived CON: You could get better at your current role.

Is the old job bad, or do you just need to get better at it? Tom was never in the top percentile at his SDR position, and he sometimes felt his managers didn’t give him the best leads.

When a new job was dangled his way, he wanted to know more. His best friend (who got him the old job) cautioned him:

“You need to get better at all the things that make up this job. THEN if you want another job you can go knowing you gave it your all. Plus, you won’t leave with a good recommendation; you have never hit your quota.”

Big take away: The grass always looks greener, and perhaps it is green, but leaving before you have the numbers might leave you at a disadvantage.

Perceived PRO: It’s the job I want now.

Perceived CON: It doesn’t lead to the job I want in 5 years.

Which job will let you grow to your highest potential?

Where do you want to be in 4 years?

An SDR’s life is not easy; it’s daily grunt work! Lots of email. You’re texting, cold calling, sending white papers, doing social media work. In the long run, it has a logical payout- the coveted Account Executive position. Here is the question to ask: is your SDR Position getting you there? Are you heading toward becoming an AE?

These are things to consider before changing jobs. What is the current agreement you have with your Sales Manager about getting you to the AE position? Do you believe her? Letting your current Manager know how hungry you are for the AE position might change the dynamics of your current position. Your manager could fast track you; quitting would cut off that path.

Perceived PRO: It’s a hungry startup with lots of potential.

Perceived CON: Last Hired Is Often First Fired.

When Martin came in to his new AE position everything looked great. Then, the last quarter numbers came in lower than expected and the funding dried up. His position was the first to go. “I wish I had spent more time looking at the bottom line details. They were struggling, but all I saw was the money.”

Startups can be heavy with egos struggling to survive. Is it the environment? Is the sales floor an uncomfortable, competitive, and toxic environment? How do you explain this? Try outlining the environment you work best in. Do you thrive in silence, or does the loudness drive you to new heights? I’ve worked with many salespeople who actually struggled in quiet environments. Personally, I love them. Making a move to find a place where you can work better is a narrative that works.

Perceived PRO: A New Product, A New Sales Process

Perceived CON: You Are Now The New

How long will it take to get you up to superstar speed? Spend time on the floor or mirroring a top performer. Ask them point blank, “How long until I can do what you do?” Then double it, just to give yourself breathing room. Is that a comfortable amount of time? Pros: You get to learn a new product, a new system. It’s a basket full of new. I personally thrive on this; I’m a quick learner. I’ve worked with several reps who take a long time to ramp up, and this can cause stress to a new work environment.  Some people need change; new ideas energize them. When I study the numbers of reps who give up, I see a trend of not seeing the real progress that is being achieved in the daily grind. Did you give up too early to even make a good decision?

Perceived PRO: Feels Good To Be Wanted

Perceived CON: Ignore your ego. Why do they want you?

What is real reason you want to leave? It’s an incredible ego rush to hear from a recruiter saying all the right things? “We have heard great things about you!” Being wanted by another company just feels good. However, this new car smell wears off quickly if the numbers aren’t delivered. Then what happens? Are you prepared for the worst as well as the best? Asking the company why they think you would be a good fit for them. This can be very illuminating. Explain how you work best, and ask to examine the environment you will sell in before determining if it will work for you.

We are blessed and cursed in the sales profession to have such a rich and vibrant market to earn our living. With success comes the inevitable call or text from the recruiter. Whether we decide to take the job offer, or to stay depends on many factors, and a critical eye to decide which is which.

essential sales books for beginners

7 Essential Sales Books To Build A Strong Foundation For Your Career

Sales books provide a glimpse into the mind of another individual without the need for them to actively share their time. Their knowledge and experiences have already been eternally transcribed within the pages of their books for anyone to read at their own leisure. Sales just happen to be one of those things that you’d expect to be fairly straightforward but aren’t in practice. For that reason, we’ve listed 5 essential sales books for beginners. Study these to build a strong powerful foundation for your sales career! Check out this resource from Sales Hacker for a more robust list of sales books.

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

This book is an absolute classic and must-read for any sales professional. It’s probably the book you’ll hear referred to the most throughout your career. It’s simply that powerful. Though written over 80 years ago, much of the advice in his book still holds true to this day. The book deals mainly with how to best communicate with other people by avoiding potential conflicts and proactively working to make a good impression. As such this can be a great read for all kinds of folks, not just those working in sales. In fact, anyone who deals with people for a living would benefit greatly from reading the teachings of Dale Carnegie.

Check it out – How To Win Friends And Influence People

2. Secrets of Closing the Sale, by Zig Zigler

Zig Zigler is a fairly renowned author, sales coach and motivational speaker. If you do a quick YouTube search for his name, you’ll find a long list of videos that are from his speeches, interviews or other segments where he’s given his knowledge and advice to others. If you have the time to look through a few of them, it may be worth your time as well but his book will certainly provide you with strategies and guidelines to make you as effective at persuasion as you can be. It’s also a relatively quick read so would definitely be worth adding to the reading list for those who are looking for a new book to get through.

Check it out – Secrets of Closing the Sale

3. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel H. Pink

Here we have another book that seems to get quite a lot of love and attention from many professionals in the world of sales. I’ve heard this book get mentioned in conversations on a number of occasions from various networking events. Having only been published in 2012, it’s a very recent book as well.

Within its pages, Pink talks about the correlation between persuasion and selling. He also outlines that regardless of your profession, a challenge that comes up quite frequently in life is the ability to effectively persuade someone else of an idea. Whether it’s getting children to do their homework or convincing a significant other to eat at a restaurant of your choosing, there is always an element of persuasion or selling necessary. Thus, Pink is able to derive the name of his book from this basic principle.

Check it out – To Sell is Human

4. Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely

Now this book doesn’t particularly focus on the art of sales or how to improve your persuasion directly, but it does provide some very interesting insights into very common mistakes most people have in their thinking. What Dan Ariely proves in a series of experiments is that although in theory, you would think that everyone would make the most rational decision in every situation, that’s simply not the case. Even more so, people seem to make the same irrational decisions in a predictable manner.

If you’re interested in learning about these common falsehoods in people’s thinking, and possibly even your own, this is another great book to add to your reading list. As a quick bonus, if you want more from Dan Ariely and his research, he recently published another book called Payoff which dives into the hidden logic of things that shapes our motivation.

Check it out – Predictably Irrational

5. SPIN Selling, by Neil Rackham

This book is likely to provide you with some of the most tactical advice you can use immediately in your sales career. The book is titled after the selling methodology of the same name that it evangelizes. SPIN is an acronym for Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff. Each part of the acronym relates to the different types of questions you should be asking to help build interest for your product or service within the prospect and effectively guide them through the sales process.

Many of you are likely already familiar with the BANT criteria for validating a sale. This is essentially taking that concept and flipping it on its head, where you can you now use the same criteria to validate the sale to the prospect rather than to yourselves internally.

Check it out – SPIN Selling

6. New Sales Simplified: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development, by Mike Weinberg

Mike Weinberg actually runs his own sales consultancy and it is safe to say that he knows a thing or two about sales.  He played a pivotal part in the successful growth of SlimFast in the early days, a story he talks about within his book. Outside of just his successful sales journey and the experiences that helped guide him to where he is today, he outlines a very solid framework that’s both easy to follow and leverage.

He provides best practices on how to productively kick off your sales process with ideas and tactics that have served him and his many clients well over the last several years. He goes over everything in great detail, from how to approach the whole process of prospecting to getting mentally prepared to hit the phones with the right message. This is definitely a must read for newer sales professionals and a great refresher even for those who are more seasoned.

Check it out – New Sales Simplified

7. Hacking Sales, by Max Altschuler

Max Altschuler was a key player in the explosive growth behind Udemy. He explains the process he used to prioritize both his prospects and key community members to get things going quickly during the infancy stages of the company. He’s since had a very successful career providing consulting work and founding an organization known as Sales Hacker. Similar to Mike Weinberg above, Max took his advice and wrote out this book for all sales people to benefit from. He presents his ideas in a very understandable fashion and offers more specific tactics around the sales technology tools available on the market and how to effectively use them to your advantage.

Check it out – Hacking Sales

Recap: 7 Essential Sales Books For Beginners

Of course, this is not to say that these are the only sales books worth reading. There are tons of other books you can read to improve your ability to sell like Predictable Revenue, Think and Grow Rich, The New Strategic Selling, The Challenger Sale, Endless referrals and so many more. There are even books that can teach you to be a better sales coach or leader like Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions. Truly the list of books you can read in this realm can go on and on. That said, this list should serve you well as a great starting point for your new sales reading journey. Finishing these seven books should give you a very strong foundational understanding of how to think about and execute on your ability to sell.

-Dean Park

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

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