Get Out To Get In

The hidden job market, those millions of openings that never get formally posted,now accounts for up to 80% of hires, according to a recent article in Forbes.com.
Jobs are only one kind of opportunity that can be uncovered by getting out more.

Last week I was asked by a customer for candidate referrals for an anticipated opening. The more I engaged the customer to tell me about his needs, the better idea I had of who I might know to suggest. Suddenly, it hit me like a ton of bricks. A contact that I’ve known for 25 years, who’s not even actively seeking full time employment and doesn’t even live in the same city, struck me as a perfect match. I called her that day and after our conversation, she’s very interested in the position and the hiring manager is interested to meet her.

Opportunity strikes those who seek it, make it possible and recognize it when it happens. If I’d not kept in touch with this person over the years, we haven’t worked together in over 15 years, I wouldn’t have thought of her. But I brought an opportunity to her and also to my customer in need.

Another example. Yesterday I rented a car while having some body work done. The young man behind the desk asked me a few conversational questions about what kind of work I do. He was simply breaking the monotony of his pretty automatable job. I was impressed by his curiosity and communication skills and also his easy manner. If I was a hiring manager seeking a seller, I’d probably encourage the guy to interview. In fact, I was so impressed by his demeanor, if he’d asked me for an introduction to a member of my network, I would’ve obliged. He was an opportunist, the good kind.

Discovery is an integral part of sales. You can’t discover if you don’t get out. That means, literally, get out. Step away from the computer. Meet with people face to face – customers, prospects, colleagues, former colleages, prospective colleages, industry peers, etc. People choose people, not titles. Make a human impression. For this there is no substitute.

Get out of your comfort zone too. If your job feels like you’re doing the same thing over and over again, maybe one day it will be automated. What unique value do you bring that isn’t so easily replaced? Stretch yourself until you can answer this. If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t trying that hard.

Learn new skills. The world is changing. Quickly. If you are not changing, you’re flying without a net. Today I signed up for a certification course that I’m not sure how I will use and I’m half sure I will struggle not to be bored while in the class. However, on a tip that this coursework is valued by my new employer, I asked my manager if he would make this investment in me. He said yes, so how could I possibly pass that up?

Challenge. Raise the bar, not only for yourself, but for your customers. How else can you get a customer to add your offering to an already stretched budget? The greatest enemy to selling isn’t hearing, “NO”. “No” easily leads to, “Why not?” It’s harder to respond to, “I’m not looking to make a change. We are happy.” Well, Mr. Customer, how do you know if you’re getting fair market value for your inventory if you can’t tell me your market penetration in finite quantitative terms?

Get out from the regular to get in to the game.

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About Melanie M. Morris
Broker of Trust and Authenticity I'm really a sales executive, but I'd rather identify with these ideals rather than to simply say...I'm a seller.

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