Thursday, May 2, 2013

Buying Signs

If you’ve been following my previous entries, identifying buying signs is important to your job-hunting efforts as you begin to speak with potential employers. But if you are just discovering my blog, you’ll have to go back a few entries to gain some perspective. 

Knowing what are, and how to identify, buying signs is critical to your efforts. Sometimes they are clear and hit you in the face or they can be subtle, communicated by an off-hand comment or revealed in a tone or inflection of voice. It is always better to speak directly with individuals whenever possible because these things are just too hard to pick up in written communications unless they are literally spelled out. 

Everything I discuss on my blog is linked in some way to helping people widen their scope of possibilities; casting your net ever wider, so fewer potential opportunities slip past your notice and thus you can capitalize on every potential opportunity. The term buying signs refers to and is an integral part of the sales profession and, when you are applying or interviewing for a job, you are selling and therefore watching for them when you will be communicating with any representative of a company or organization which you are interested in working with / for. The fact that most people know nothing about buying signs is an advantage for you. Understanding buying signs helps you react to subtleties that might mean little or nothing to most, but could lead to something good if you pursue. Meanwhile, possible opportunities are whizzing past others and they don't even know it. When you sense a buying sign, follow to see where it leads. Don’t make the mistake, as many do, of being so single minded and focused that you miss out. Indeed, have a general idea about that which you seek to accomplish but, I want you to be like a shark; a shark swims along, it knows where it wants to go, generally, but when it smells blood, it reacts and immediately moves in that direction to see where it leads. You should do the same; you can always backtrack to the original topic but the whole point of watching for and reacting to buying signs is to, again, expand your chances of success.  

A simple formula for what constitutes a buying sign is any positive response to your inquiry followed by but, or anything similar. So here's a list of some examples of possible buying signs to listen for, with some possible responses: 

“You have a good background but we are not hiring right now…”
“Can you suggest when I should again follow up and with whom?” 

“I wish I could consider you, we need someone, but our budget hasn’t been approved yet…”
“When is the budget deadline so I can call back?” 

“…I wish we could but we have a hiring freeze…”
“Okay, I understand at the moment you can’t hire any permanent employees but what about contract or temporary, with a possibility of going permanent later?” 

“Thanks for your call but I’m not the right person to speak to.”
“Okay thanks. Then who should I contact, do you have their name and title?”  

“I wish I could help you but we’re not looking for one of those on our team.”
“So who else would you refer me to who might have need?” 

Does this make sense to you? This is also to what I am referring when I suggest you engage in a business conversation. It beats the hell out of someone who calls and says, in monotone, “I’m lookin’ for a job, you need anybody? No? Oh well, okay, thanks anyway.” If you are serious you’ll recognize that I want you to squeeze every drop from every job-related conversation and occasion.  

Next time we’ll talk about wresting a little control over the direction of conversations concerning your job hunting and/or negotiating efforts; creating more participatory interaction by more skillfully applying Open and Close-ended questions, and why it is so important to recognize the difference.

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