The parallels between selling and a dealing with a recruiter

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It is a good looking CV. But has there been lot of questions asked before sending it?

Photo credit: Rebeca_CE

“You can find my CV attached for your consideration.”

I had just introduced a friend of mine to a recruiter as I thought the opportunity this recruiter sent me might of interest to him. Following the email intro, my friend responded and, right away, sent his CV through. I was taken aback. Why did he not ask questions before sending his CV?

I might be obsessed with asking as many questions as possible when interacting with people in a business context. But, seeing my friend sending his CV right after the introduction, I could not help to see the parallel between a recruitment process and a sales process, at least from a candidate point of view.

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When talking about your product to prospects can put you in trouble…

Sales, question, questioning, process, spilling the beans
When you sale, do you spill the beans? Or do you ask question?

Photo credit: Phil

Greeks invented the democracy. And they had an interesting way of voting. They used beans. A white bean was a vote in favour of a motion, a black bean was a vote against. The vote had to be unanimous for the motion to go through. So should the jar with the bean topples and the beans fall down, revealing a black bean, it meant something had been revealed too early and the vote had to restart. Hence the expression spilling the beans…

Well, nearly…

This expression might not be entirely due to the Greek way of voting (it isn’t). But spilling the beans certainly applies to how we sale. And how we, sales people, love to share product knowledge when we should hold back.

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Weekly round up: posts on sales process, pricing and training

Sales post; sales blog; sales blogs;
Some interesting reads on process, pricing and training

Photo credit: nicoleneu1

Here is a brief round of interesting posts I have read, found particularly good and thought they were worth sharing.

First of all, a post from David Brock about the companies that believe they have a sales process but, actually, simply don’t. What I like beyond David rather dry sense of humour (notably on things like “gurus” in Linkedin), is the probing of companies that believe they have a process when, actually, it is not being followed or need some updating. The post is here.

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How to identify the real problems people have, not just those expressed.

problems, expressed problems, real problem, solution sale, questions, sales questions
That’s a problem we’ve all had. But what was the real impact?

Photo credit: Andreas Overland

It was Friday afternoon. It was sunny. And I was just walking out of a meeting with a prospect with a big smile on my face. The prospect I just met had shared with me all her problems. It was all there in my notes. It was covering all these important business problems. She didn’t have the analytics on her marketing effort. Her company was selling online but she wasn’t clear what was the products that had the best ratio between visits and actual transactions. And many other very specific marketing analytics problems. And I knew how to solve all these issues with a great piece of tech I was selling. That weekend was to be a good one as I felt I was on my way to secure the deal.

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Why questions asked need to be qualified first and how to do so

Question, reverse questioning, sales questions, process
He knows the answer. But shouldn’t he qualify the question first?

Photo credit: personal stock

School days. Happy days. Lots of memories. The exuberance. The total lack of worries. School friends. Long school holidays spent in the South of France. The teachers I loved. Those I, well, didn’t like at all. And these happy moments when, as the teacher asked a question, I knew the answer, raised my hand and was just so eager to share my knowledge with the teacher and my class mates.

Sadly though, I came to realise that this eagerness to answer questions was a terrible habit we picked at school and that it was well worth trying to control this urge. Surprisingly (or not), when asked a question, there is a lot of value in not answering it, right away. I’ve already mentioned that one should learn to ask questions, they are very useful. So I can hear you think, dear reader. “Foul play! Unfair! Why not answer questions asked, when one asks plenty of them?” This is a good point indeed. I naturally do not mean not to answer questions at all. What I mean is one needs to understand better the real question that is being asked, not necessarily the one heard. Here are four reasons why one should do so and one framework I use:

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How to turn an interesting meeting into a productive one

Sales meeting; Interesting meeting;
This looks interesting. But beware of interesting meetings!

Photo credit: James Merhebi

Imagine this. You just walked out of a meeting with a prospect in a nice office in Central London. The conversation flew very well. Half way through the meeting, your prospect arranged for one colleague to join. She also arranged for some tea and biscuits to be brought in. A nice caring touch she didn’t have to do. And the meeting finished by the prospect saying one of these encouraging sentences:

“That was interesting. Can you send me some more information?” or “That was an interesting meeting. I will relay this internally and we need to catch-up on this.” and to finish “Very interesting. Glad we had this meeting. Let me reflect and we will synch-up shortly”.

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What sales questions should you ask?

Sales questions; Sales; questionning
Do! They are very useful.

Photo credit: Matt McGee

-“How was your sales meeting?”

-“Very well. They said they were interested to know more”, says the sales manager. “And we’ve agreed the next step”.

-“Great, and what after that?”

– “…”.

I assume this isn’t a situation you ever faced but, more often than not, “the next step” is deemed to be a good outcome from a sales meeting or any meeting for that purpose. I actually believe there is a better way than next steps. Can you imagine knowing all that is needed to get to a close? Or even to the realisation that what you sell isn’t relevant to a prospect and therefore it is not worth invest more time into this specific prospect (or a demo for that matter). Yes, all. Everything. Alles. Absolument tout. Todo.

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