Monday, April 29, 2013

Taking the Initiative, (Pt II)


Do your prep and research before you place your call but, I caution people, don’t think too much, don’t over examine or over analyze what you will be doing on your own behalf. Some people will fret and think a subject to death and, as a result, sit on their hands and do nothing. Any time you try something new, it is always a  bit uncomfortable. Remember, the worst thing that can happen is being told “no”, over the telephone, by someone you don’t know. Gee, that’s scary – not! So, with the contact name of a potential hiring manager, and possessing a relatively refined and practiced presentation (to the extent you are comfortable), make the calls, introduce yourself and state your intention with reasons as to why considering you for employment might be constructive.  

When you have the opportunity to speak with a hiring manager, go with the flow of the conversation. Present yourself but be able to adapt it slightly, if necessary, to somewhat reflect the tone and situation. After greeting them and stating your name, always start by asking if they have a moment to speak. If they say they are busy, ask them when it is a better time to speak and then follow up. However, don’t leave a lengthy pause awaiting their reply and unless they object right away, begin your presentation – after all, it is  going to require less than a minute of their time. When you are finished, you will add one last comment and question, “Are you the right person to whom to speak about this?” (I’ve written it to be grammatically correct, but say it however you feel comfortable) and then stop talking, really, say nothing more and await their reply. Now, listen to what they have to say and, not only what they say, but how they reply. What you are listening for, if not a clear black and white reply one way or the other, are buying signs.

You also must recognize, as any sales person knows, there is rarely a one call close/sale. In other words, few people reach the decision maker, make their presentation, and win the pot-o-gold on a first attempt. Yes, it can happen on occasion, although success is often incremental, and getting your foot in the door more often occurs on the third or fourth attempt. So if the door does not swing open and the CEO is not there to greet you, it does not mean failure. A lot, however, depends on the depth of your efforts. If, for example, 20 placed calls to an assortment of companies gets you a positive result, it’s up to you whether you take a few days, or a week – or more, to conduct and reach that level of effort. I doubt most people who want to work, think that searching for a job is a hobby or a pastime to which they get around once in a while. If you’re only looking for a job whenever the feeling hits you, you ain’t serious. Nothing wrong with that and I’m not necessarily criticizing, everyone has their own priorities, but we should be honest with ourselves, as well as to those who may depend on us. 

We’ve spoken a lot about developing your own personal presentation, with good reason. It is central to your efforts and, for the rest of your working life, it should be as integral a part of any job search efforts, as is your resume – they go hand-in-hand, they are inseparable. Additionally, your F.A.B. personal presentation can be utilized in any number of ways; in addition to occasional spontaneous usage in your daily life, you have three methods available to you for delivery of your presentation. Although you may slightly adapt or adjust a word here and there in your opening and closing sentence, here are three alternatives for you, in order of preference: 

  • Directly communicated – whether it is delivered face-to-face or speaking one-on-one over the telephone, this is your first and best option. Always seek to communicate your presentation directly to the person whom you want to contact.
  • Voice mail – If you make several attempts to speak directly but are unable, your second choice is to leave a voice mail. If you have a good presentation, the formulae of Feature / Accomplishment (Achievement) / Benefit, are attention grabbers. Simply leave an introduction and your presentation as the voice mail (don’t forget to leave your name at both the beginning and end of your voice mail together with your telephone number). 
  • Email – It’s not as good as if you can speak with a hiring manager directly, but as a third choice it’s still an effective alternative. 
So now, think about it, you have the normal everyday online efforts that you usually conduct and will continue doing so; plus, now you have a well-prepared personal presentation and you are always ready. You now have not only one, but up to four alternatives for getting your message out there. You have just multiplied your potential for finding a job and, likewise, streamlined your efforts as a result – but wait, there’s more!  

Next time we’ll talk  about identifying buying signs, how to react and capitalize on them. 

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