If you’re looking for a better job, then sales professionals might be your best guides to that better job. The same strategies that help them sell product can help you land the job of your dreams!
Make no mistake: when you are looking for that better job, you are selling yourself, and your prospective employer is the one who has to buy the idea that you are “the One.” There is nothing demeaning about having someone “buy” the concept that your time on the job and your labor should be chosen above all the others.
So, we should ask ourselves, “What kind of information does my employer need in order to understand that I am the person he should hire for the job?” Once you answer that question, everything else falls into place for you to get that job.
Many people suppose that they have provided all the necessary information for that better job when they completed a resume or filled out a job application. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Most resumes look alike, and a standard application can often prevent the most important information about getting you that better job from getting through. You must be prepared to “sell yourself” in those two places where standardization can’t reach: the cover letter, and the job interview.
SUBHEAD 2: Sell Benefits; Not Features.
COPY 2: Gary Thompson is a professional sales trainer for U.S. Foods, the second largest broad line food supply firm in the nation. When Gary talks about “features and benefits” to new sales personnel, he has an interesting way of explaining what’s really important to the buyer – or, in your case, the employer who is offering you the job.
“Suppose you have a metal body, variable speed, reversible electric drill with no-key chuck and a half-horse motor,” he asks a class. “What’s the benefit to the you?”
Immediately, people start to volunteer very sensible answers: “The no-key chuck, because it’s convenient!” “The reverse feature, so you can use it as a screwdriver, too.”
“The powerful motor, because it can do the job with less strain; longer tool life.”
Then, from somewhere in the back of the room, a voice says, “Holes.”
“Right!” says Gary. “The benefit is the hole you need in the wall or the wood. The benefit of the drill may result from the features, like reversibility and power, but the benefit is the thing you want. Mention features; sell benefits.”
The same may be said for job seekers. Too often, they want to sell the features of the product they have become: education, experience on the job, or personality. Those things are good to know – perhaps even essential. But the benefit is the thing that will make a difference to the employer who has the job opening. What does he or she want or need in that job in order to reach his or her business goals? That’s what we should be selling.
SUBHEAD 3: You Are the Benefit; Now, Tell Me Why
When the employer reads the cover letter, he should read about the benefit you bring to the job and to his business. Is it your ability to grow your skill along with his business? Is it your desire to succeed in that better job that will overcome barriers to achievement? What is it about you that makes you a good investment for this job?
“There are three ways the customer can benefit from the job,” says Gary Thompson. “Time, money and quality of life.”
So, the new employee should be able to demonstrate how he can save time for the company on the job, or make money, or do the job in such a way that the employer’s quality of life improves.
Savings of time and money on the job are often associated with skill and experience, but can also come from an aggressive attitude. Quality of life can result from a pleasant disposition on the job, or a sense of dependability. That’s right: just by proving that you will show up and do the job with regularity and dependability can make an employer much happier with the world. If she doesn’t have to worry about whether the staff will be on the job, or whether instructions will be followed while on the job, her life will be much, much better.
So, ask yourself: what is the benefit that you can offer an employer while doing the job? But, first, ask yourself what benefit that employer wants most from those who work on the job in the company. If you find a match between the company’s needs and your job abilities, then be darn sure that the benefit is communicated clearly and repeatedly.
Dewitt Shotts is the Founder of Marketing Solutions, Inc. which serves the proprietary school industry as a full service company for television, media buying, direct mail and hosts the site College & Career Source.