Friday, 15 April 2011

Kicking out the Buts from your Life

Does this sound familiar?  I'd love to get together tonight BUT I have a busy day tomorrow.  I really want to hit my quota this quarter BUT a few deals have slipped and I don't have enough time.  I expected that deal to come in last quarter BUT the signing authority was on holidays.  I want to get in shape BUT I don't have enough time in the day to exercise...BUT BUT BUT.

What a load a crap!  Why?  Well stick with me here while I demonstrate.  I'd love to get together BUT I ate oatmeal this morning.  Does that make sense to you? Of course not!  And I submit that we believe the word BUT somehow gives us a way out or a justification to NOT do.  It's a cop out. 

Consider that the statements before and after the word BUT are seperate and distinct.  i.e. I'd love to get together; relatives are in town; I had oatmeal for breakfast.  They have absolutely no relationship with each other, and no impact on each other.  We try to associate those statements together in a feeble attempt to justify why something we committed to or promised to do isn't going to happen.

We set ourselves up for failure, and think nothing of it.  Consider that the word BUT is a draining, self defeatist attitude that has no place in our lexicon.  That's just semantics you might say.  It's just a word, it doesn't mean anything.  Oh really?  Try it on and see how you feel when you use the word BUT.  See how ridiculous it sounds when you use the word BUT.

So, now what?  Let's say you're still reading this article, and you want some insight on how to stop using BUT.  Well it's quite simple, and requires practice and diligence to re-train your brain.

Replace BUT with AND

Yup, that's it!  i.e. I'd love to get together with you AND my parents are in town.  Sounds more like a how do we get this to work approach vs. I can't do it.

Here are a few of mine lately:
  • I want my team to hit their quarterly quota BUT we have 2 open head count
  • I want to work out regularly BUT with my new born I have no time
  • I want to write in my blog every 2 days BUT I'm too tired at the end of the night
Are you getting the jist?  I've basically resigned myself to the fact that the above won't happen.  I've made a ton of excuses to justify the situation.  It's not making me happier or more fulfilled.  I feel defeated, disappointed and resigned to the outcome.  Worse yet, I don't even notice I'm defeating myself!

How about this:
  • I want my team to hit their quarterly quota AND we have 2 open head count
  • I want to work out regularly AND I have a new born
  • I want to write in my blog every 2 days AND I need to find time
I challenge you to make a list of the last ten things you said BUT to.  Write them down and replace BUT with AND.  See if that causes you to re-think those scenarios, or if you feel any differently about the circumstances. 

My suspicion is that you will feel much differently and new possibilities will emerge.

So get off your BUTT and stop using BUT as an excuse!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Interviewing: The Ultimate in Selling Yourself

I've interviewed and been interviewed hundred's of times throughout my career.  Rather than focusing on my failures, missteps, errors in judgments, or lack of preparedness I'd rather focus on those of others!

It baffles me that Sales Professionals, more often than not, seem ill prepared to sell themselves during the interview process.  Hey, if you can't sell yourself what the hell can you sell!  Doesn't inspire me much when a candidate is challenged to articulate, with some degree of passion, why they should get the job. 

Be ready with your own key differentiators.  You know that something special that you bring to the table that no one else can.  If you don't have any, find some! Or else you'll just fade into the background with every other average performer out there.

Something else I rely on is behavioural questioning which has been around for many years now, and I've used it to weed out the sales posers from the sales performers.  The sales posers talk a good game and write a resume like it was a work of art, BUT the true sales performers can give you specific examples where they applied their skills to provide a tangible solution to a customer's problem.  They can paint you a picture. Sure they could be faking it, and I would agree that there is no fool proof system.  Once you find a fool proof system please let me know.

Let's talk about the resume itself, arguably the first impression a potential employer will have of a candidate.  In my management experience less than one third of resumes I have reviewed have actual metrics.  I'm talking about quota achievement, revenue numbers, KPIs (key performance indicators) such as: Average Deal Size, Length of Time to Close a Deal, Pipeline as a Factor of Quota, Closing Ratio, and Call Activity. 

Come on folks!  You're in Sales.  You know it's a numbers game.  I'm not saying it's the only thing I look for, but it sure helps your odds if you can demonstrate an understanding of how important metrics are to your success as a sales professional.  People who don't have numbers on their resume either didn't perform or I'd perceive that they didn't perform.  Either way .you're hooped!

Now some may say that a well crafted cover letter is equally if not more important.  I disagree.  Numbers jump off a page.  Words don't!  For the purposes of this blog I hope that isn't the case though. But if you do want to prepare a cover letter, please make it SPECIFIC to the job you are applying for.  I'm tired of the drivel about adding value, being efficient and effective, having a positive attitude, being a team player, being a strategic thinker, blah blah blah.  Give me action words demonstrating that you have used your identified abilities to accomplish something tangible. Nuff said for now. 

So, here are some takeaway for you to consider:
  1. Make yourself different or you'll fade into the background
  2. Know who you are and what YOU bring to the table
  3. Prepare a resume with measurable results
  4. Prepare a resume specific to the job or industry you are applying to
  5. Know all you can about the company you are interviewing with
  6. Have intelligent thought provoking questions prepared to ask your interviewer
I'll stop at 6 takeaways for now just because.  I've got more to share regarding interviews and interviewing, but I'll save that for another blog sometime down the road.

Happy Hunting/Hiring