As a job-seeker, you might have browsed the Internet or scanned the employment section of the local newspapers. If you have already applied for a number of jobs, you will be expecting a call for an interview. If you haven’t received a call for an interview yet, there is no cause for worry; you will get one soon.
Waiting to get a call for an interview is the most stressful part of job seeking for many people. Others feel nervous about the process of the interview. The best thing you can do if you are worried about attending an interview is to prepare for it.
1. Prepare a Set of Questions
Many job seekers will consider the idea of preparing a set of queries to ask a prospective employer a preposterous one. After all, you are attending an interview to answer questions; not ask any.
The truth is that any question you ask will lend an interactive quality to the interview; in other words, the interview “flows” better. Moreover, you will be eager to know certain things, and prospective employers don’t always volunteer information.
Prospective employers will also get a good opinion of you if you are enterprising enough to ask a few good questions. For example, asking about the potential for development in the company will give an impression of yourself as a responsible, enthusiastic person, eager to take initiative.
2. Type of Questions to Ask
You now know how beneficial it is to ask questions when you are attending a job interview; so, you many wonder exactly what type of questions you have to ask. It all depends on what you want to know.
Among the simplest questions you could ask is one related to this job profile. You will be eager to know as much as possible about the job you are trying to get. Naturally, you will be given an overall idea of the job, but you will still have many questions. For example, you might want to know about the peak hours of the day, whether there is a chance of the workload rising with time, and so on.
3. The Trickiest Question
Anyone will want to know how much they can earn in a particular company. However, not all employers appreciate the question; so, you have to be careful while you phrase it. While some employers welcome the question, others will get the wrong impression that you are interested only in the paycheck.
However, you have the right to know about the salary, and if nothing is mentioned about it during the interview, you may wish to find out about it. When you ask, frame your question wisely. Do not use the words “paycheck,” “money,” or even “pay.” The words “average salary” sounds more professional; so, make sure you use it. When you find out about the “average salary,” you can also put in a few questions about employee benefits such as vacations, perks, childcare, and insurance.
4. Other Interesting Questions
If you are interested in developing your career, you will have to question your prospective employer if there is a chance for promotion. If you want a raise not only in salary but also in position, you will have to gain employment in a company that promotes its employees on the basis of merit. This will also help you determine if the company can provide you long-term employment.
In addition, it will create the impression that you are interested in enhancing your career within that particular company. Most employers like it when prospective employees question them about advancements and promotions. It indicates that you are aiming at growth and success.
The above-mentioned list comprises only some of the questions you might want to ask a prospective employer. In order to impress your prospective employer, you will have to prepare some good questions in advance. Review your list a short time before you go in for your interview.
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Too many times sales recruiters and hiring managers have no idea what they’re looking for in a new candidate before they start a new sales recruiting project. They will tell you that they do – they will even show you a written description of their ideal candidate.
But 9 times out of 10 their description will say something like:
“10 years industry sales experience calling all C level executives. The last 4 years must have been in sales management. managing no less than 10 reps with a total annual sales goal of $23 million.” etc, etc.
Pretty generic right? I’m not making this up. Do a search on any job board. For fun do a search on “software sales”. Read only the required experience for all 10 sales positions.
By the time you finish you’ll notice that they all say pretty much the same thing.
Let me tell you – most job requirements do not say anything about who you’re looking for to fill your sales job. You’re looking for the same person that every single one of your competitors is looking for – and you’re probably offering the same exact compensation package that everyone else is also.
And to top it all off it will be a total crapshoot if you hire someone who is successful in the sales job you’re recruiting for.
If you want to raise your chances of finding a good sales rep who will be successful with your company then you need to know more about the role you’re looking to fill. To do this start thinking about the sales reps first year.
Start with their first day on the job.What is the most pressing issue that this sales person must solve for you? What will they need to do in order to solve that pressing issue? What will the final outcome be once they solve this problem successfully.
Repeat this process until you have a list of at least 6-8 problems that this sales person needs to correct.
Only you can know what these problems are. If you don’t then you should find out what they are very quickly!
Once you have this list completed you can start to figure out the job requirements for your open sales position. You’ll be looking for someone who has been confronted with these issues in the past and successfully solved them.
That’s it in a nutshell.
You will no longer be looking for a “sales rep with 10 years industry experience calling on C level executives.” You’ll be looking for someone who has successfully solved your specific problems in the past. Someone who has “taken over a territory that has not achieved quota in 3+ years. The territory consists of contacts who are Vice Presidents of IT at Fortune 100 companies. The VP level contacts have accepted meetings but no reason to do business with your company was ever uncovered.”
So when you’re recruiting you’ll be looking for someone who has solved issues like this in the past. Someone who has turned around dormant target accounts and uncovered buying pains with prospects where non existed in the past.
This is just one example. Hopefully this can help change your mindset as we head into a new year of sales recruiting and team building!
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Quick review: there are Three Levels of Management within the Student role you play during Step 1 of the Buying Process. The three levels of Management are: CEO, Core Level, and the Support Level. If you can reach and do business with the CEO, you will discuss issues of competitiveness, cost cutting and efficiencies, and you will like be holding better margins. Core Level management is interested in solving problems NOW and maximizing Key Success Factors, those areas which contribute most effectively to the organization’s overall ability to succeed function to function. We also discussed the ways to contact Core Level managers and determine which have influence and which have authority without influence. The overall recommendation was to find influential sponsors who will sell your message to the Core managers in various relevant departments. Now we look at the Support Level of Management, which is the bottom level providing support to the CEO and the Core levels. Support level reacts to the needs of upper management. It includes areas like purchasing, legal, training and accounting. If you are dealing with a purchasing type in Support you will likely find an emphasis on the most machine for the money and consequently margins begin to shrink. This is the price-driven or “Transactional Sale.” Engaging business at this level is a Win-Lose: the purchasing agent is looking for the most machine at the lowest price. He wins. You lose. To find big problems, which yield big sales with healthy margins, you need to be talking to CEO and Core level managers because these larger problems and longer view issues are their natural habitat. This is important for sales management training. How to be a Good Student: Change how you think. Forget your product. Imagine you work for the customer. Imagine you are selling for your customer. Walk two miles in his moccasins. This way you begin to focus on his goals and concerns. If your product helps him expand his business and solves problems, price is no longer the top issue. For example, a copier rep trying to sell a machine to an owner of an ice cream store. At first the reps pitches features and benefits. Customer could care less about copy quality and speed and so forth. Then the rep imagined he was selling ice cream for the man. He started asking questions. In the process he learned that the man sold ice cream to local retail outlets, but he wanted to expand and provide specialty desserts to restaurants. The rep then suggested that the man get the logos of all the restaurants he wanted to work with, and produce customized menus of ice cream products to be sold through each establishment. The man immediately loved the idea, bought the copier at retail and implemented the new marketing plan. The rep had created a solution to enhance the man’s business and that solution required the rep’s product. By imagining that you sell for your customer, you will quickly understand your customer’s business strategies, and then you will be in a position to identify innovative sales opportunities that achieve value for your customer. Use these tips for yourself, or your sales training programs.
Quick review: there are Three Levels of Management within the Student role you play during Step 1 of the Buying Process. The three levels of Management are: CEO, Core Level, and the Support Level. If you can reach and do business with the CEO, you will discuss issues of competitiveness, cost cutting and efficiencies, and you will like be holding better margins.
Core Level management is interested in solving problems NOW and maximizing Key Success Factors, those areas which contribute most effectively to the organization’s overall ability to succeed function to function. We also discussed the ways to contact Core Level managers and determine which have influence and which have authority without influence. The overall recommendation was to find influential sponsors who will sell your message to the Core managers in various relevant departments.
Now we look at the Support Level of Management, which is the bottom level providing support to the CEO and the Core levels.
Support level reacts to the needs of upper management. It includes areas like purchasing, legal, training and accounting. If you are dealing with a purchasing type in Support you will likely find an emphasis on the most machine for the money and consequently margins begin to shrink. This is the price-driven or “Transactional Sale.” Engaging business at this level is a Win-Lose: the purchasing agent is looking for the most machine at the lowest price. He wins. You lose.
To find big problems, which yield big sales with healthy margins, you need to be talking to CEO and Core level managers because these larger problems and longer view issues are their natural habitat. This is important for sales management training.
How to be a Good Student: Change how you think. Forget your product. Imagine you work for the customer. Imagine you are selling for your customer. Walk two miles in his moccasins. This way you begin to focus on his goals and concerns.
If your product helps him expand his business and solves problems, price is no longer the top issue.
For example, a copier rep trying to sell a machine to an owner of an ice cream store. At first the reps pitches features and benefits. Customer could care less about copy quality and speed and so forth.
Then the rep imagined he was selling ice cream for the man. He started asking questions. In the process he learned that the man sold ice cream to local retail outlets, but he wanted to expand and provide specialty desserts to restaurants.
The rep then suggested that the man get the logos of all the restaurants he wanted to work with, and produce customized menus of ice cream products to be sold through each establishment. The man immediately loved the idea, bought the copier at retail and implemented the new marketing plan. The rep had created a solution to enhance the man’s business and that solution required the rep’s product.
By imagining that you sell for your customer, you will quickly understand your customer’s business strategies, and then you will be in a position to identify innovative sales opportunities that achieve value for your customer. Use these tips for yourself, or your sales training programs.
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Sales courses and sales training is necessary in today’s informative and competitive environment. With every investment, there is a cost and a return. An investment in sales courses and sales training for your staff is no different. Sales training without a return on your investment may benefit your staff when they need credentials for a new job, but it won’t benefit your company. Sales courses must be chosen with an eye for return.
Investment in sales courses and sales training for your staff demonstrates that you are committed to the betterment of your company and your staff. However, if you choose sales courses and sales training programs that give little credence to your sales staff’s current knowledge and abilities, your sales training motivations will falter into resentment from your staff. Sales course content that is merely a reiteration of the staff’s current knowledge is wasted investment and will be received with deaf ears. Involving the sales team in the efforts places of sense of ownership of the sales training results, which further motivates the sales team to apply the training they have received to effectuate change. Benchmark your sales before training, and track sales for a year or two after the sales training. Training applied is ROI earned.
If you want to see a return on your investment into sales courses and sales training for your staff, involve your staff in course evaluation and selection, evaluate sales courses on their own merits and compare them to your objectives, consider long-term results of training, follow-up on the training, and consider the company’s financial expense involved with the training investment.
Determine whether individual sales training or group training offers a higher return. If the needs of your sales force members starkly contrast with one another, individual training would be more effective. If consistency is imperative, group training will be more profitable. In each scenario, be sure to evaluate salaries and any decrease in sales for the day. In many cases, an office can run more efficiently when individual training sessions are granted rather than group training sessions. Whether you are investing in sales courses and sales training for individual training sessions or group training sessions, consider the costs of location, travel, gas and lunch reimbursement.
When you choose sales courses and sales training for your team, look for value-added benefits. Sales courses may offer sales training follow-up as a value-added benefit. Many sales courses offer train-the-trainer sessions, saving your company from the expense of repeating the sales courses and sales training for new employees. If you have a fast promotional system or a high turnover, a train-the-trainer program can offer substantial savings and benefit and increase your ROI. Ensure that the sales training courses will train your sales staff with material that can be applied continuously throughout their career with your company.
Sales courses and sales training can offer a high return on your training investment if careful consideration is given to need, objective, input, selection, follow-up and expense Sales training is an avenue for continuous company improvement. Continuous company improvement is imperative in today’s fast moving business climate. Smart investing in sales force training will give your company a competitive advantage and keep your sales in the fast lane.
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Being a salesperson is one thing; managing a team of several sales professionals is entirely another. Sales management brings more people in perspective along with a completely different set of goals. Thus, sales manager training is a wholly separate tract in business management education. Be that as it may, sales manager training is something which cannot be overlooked for it is the pivotal point at where business proficiency and management acumen must be fully demonstrated by the person in charge — that is, the sales manager.
Among all departments in a business, it is perhaps the sales department that has the highest turnover rate not just among the basic sales staff but also among sales managers. It is also the department that has the quickest rate of promotions and expansion. The sales manager position is therefore the most dynamic post in the business hierarchy and requires the most attention in terms of learning solutions and continuing education.
Hence, sales manager training is at a critical position. A good and sufficient training can provide an advantage for the company; however a training that is less than ideal may prove inadequate in helping sales managers excel in their businesses.
Focus on Managerial Skills
Most sales managers go up the ranks from being sales agents, to holding supervisory positions, until they get the managerial job either when the previous manager have gone further up the hierarchy, have left the company or when the business unit expands. Sales manager training should already be enacted at the supervisor level or even earlier among key sales personnel.
The primary learning requirement for upcoming sales managers involve augmenting their knowledge and skills to effectively perform their managerial duties. Most rookie managers have not been in a leadership position before. And the tools and know-how expected of seasoned managers are still all new to them. These include, planning skills, organizational skills, ability to motivate their respective teams, what to do during difficult situations — all these and more go into the content of sales manager training to allow new managers to adjust accordingly to their new duties.
Through sales manager training, the trainer brings together the novice manager’s new found skills and knowledge with his or her achievements and proficiency as sales professional. This brings about profound potentials that tend to improve performance of the manager and the sales team.
Discovering Strengths and Weaknesses
One additional benefit of training up sales managers is the opportunity to discover the strengths and weaknesses of the firm’s sales managerial talent pool. This allows higher management to adjust accordingly either at the individual level or as a team. A sales manager with a weakness on a certain area may be given additional training to help the manager improve. Otherwise, at the team level, certain adjustments can be made to let managers and teams complement each other’s respective strengths and weaknesses.
The importance of sales manager training cannot be watered down. A company that provides continuing sales manager training is sure to reap its benefits of a high-performance sales force.
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What If I Lose Control Of My Staff As A Leader?
Here is a typical scenario:
Question: I am a sales manager for a business machine company. My responsibility is for all new business revenue and I have 20 sales people that report to me.
Of the 20 sales people there is only one real talented performer. The issue I am having is he breaks all the rules and creates really bad relationships with all the other people in the team. I am in the senior team and the rest of them are angry that this keeps happening. While I don’t like to hear the comments from the senior team, I am aware that I cannot make my numbers goals and the company can’t make there’s for the year without him. What do I do?
Answer: I call this a terrorist! A terrorist is someone who knows what they have on you and they use it to hold you and everyone else in the company hostage to their behavior. I like to take my clients through an exercise of understanding the Goal, Position, and Strategy Questions to determine what actions need to be done.
The first question I ask is, “What is the goal around the problem?” This is to ensure that we are aiming at the right issue. What I invite my clients to do is to first reflect on the organization’s overall goal. Then link that to the current situation. This way what ever you do, you will be in total alignment with what is best for the business overall.
In this situation you have identified the fact that in order to make your business unit’s goals and the company’s, you need this employee. That is a big step and oftentimes leaders become so emotionally charged by such situations they act before they consider the goals and objectives of the company or the department. I commend you for your forethought. Typically leaders who do this are considered high in emotional intelligence. This has been shown to be one of the key components in assessing one’s long term success in their career.
The next step is to understand the position you and your company are in. Elevate to 50,000 foot level to see the whole situation. Go beyond yourself and ask, “How did this begin to happen? Sometimes we might find the root cause built into the culture of the organization. Is this type of behavior is tolerated here?
In the case of Enron when the CEO learned that two of the traders were stealing from the company he did nothing and then soon after said, ‘keep making us money.’ What they were stealing was minor compared to what they were making the company. He knew that if he took action, he would stop his revenue machine that he needed because it was his end goal. It also gave permission to the others that if they were that good at making money for the company they could steal from the company as well. It was the outcome they got, should not have been a surprise. This is the extreme case of the terrorist working for the company – and it was exaggerated by a lack of moral compass by the leadership. In the case you present, it is apparent that this behavior is contrary to what the leadership tolerates is searching for from a behavior.
Once you go up to the 50,000 foot level and see if the company has had complicity in the situation, then it is good to come down to 10,000 foot perspective and see if “you” have complicity in the situation. To be frank, and I hate doing this in a column where I can’t ask qualifying questions, but it is hard to imagine that you did not allow this to happen. It is not about absolving the terrorist from his behavior because that is wrong, however, if you had stopped the behavior cold, this would never have happened. I say this because the solution, whatever one you choose, will need to involve your being mentored or coached into creating boundaries for your team. Without these boundaries you will be faced with this issue again.
The third part of our position investigation is to go to ground level ñ the situation itself. When we find ourselves in this type of situation with an employee we only have two choices, we can either fire or teach. If an employee makes a mistake, it is because we did not teach them correctly or because they are not capable to do the function. Ask three questions to determine what choice to make. The first, is the employee capable of learning? Secondly, does the organization or I have the time and resources available to train this employee? Lastly, is this employee motivated to learn and change? If you answer anyone of of these questions is NO, the decision is chosen, you need to let this person go. The decision is, as Donald Trump would say, You’re Fired!
It is unclear from your description if the employee has the capacity to change behavior, so I will assume that he is rather good at what he does for your organization and likely has the ability to change. It is clear that for your number one producer you should have the resources and time to help him come into alignment with the company. The bigger issue is that of motivation. Often times a terrorist does not feel the threat of what can happen to them if they don’t start falling in to line. They have become fat, and happy and arrogant! This arrogance is what blocks their ability to realize that they need to change. The company has reached a point where it can no longer tolerate this kind of behavior.
Unlike Donald’s TV Drama we live in the real world, and just letting him go is not a great first choice given the company’s dependence on his revenue.
In almost all other circumstances the move would surely be to fire, but because this employee mean so much to the organizations health as far as revenue.
The last part of understanding our position is to understand whose decision is it to make, and what needs to be done. If the consequences of your actions will compromise the strategic direction of the company, I would invite you to consider involving the senior team and that the responsibility is yours to deal with it, and the final decision may actually be the team’s or the CEO’s call, given its importance to the organization.
This is truly a strategic decision then, it is not simply letting one person go, it is letting many people go, if one presumes in a service firm, lower revenue means fewer employees needed to service the customers.
At this point I would coach you to have a conversation with your CEO and the rest of the strategic team and tell them the steps that you are considering and ask these strategic questions: At what point as an organization are we willing to take a principled stance on the issue over that of revenue? Are we clear what the outcome of this will be to our other employees? Will we need to do cost cutting to compensate for this move? What will the industry see from losing our most talented sales person? Will he go work for our competition? What impact will that have on your company? By working through these strategic issues as an organization and lifting this issue to its proper place the senior team – you will be aligning everyone to be part of the process and stop complaining about it.
By going through these questions the conclusion you may arrive at the end of this process is that you use a three pronged approach to dealing with this situation. Executing three plans simultaneously.
Plan “A” You will need to continue coaching the employee towards the behavior that is in alignment with your company values, beliefs, and rules.
Plan “B”, at the same time I would highly recommend moving the rest of the sales team to a higher level to loose your dependence on this terrorist, and operationalize Plan “C” and start the recruiting process for the possible if not probable replacement of the employee.
It is important that the others on the senior team and your sales team know that you are coaching this employee in these areas of behavior and that it is not sitting OK with you. But no more information than that – it is inappropriate to say more than that in a public setting. It will build your credibility as a leader and not allow one persons behavior sink the culture the company wants to build.Continue reading
Huthwaite conducts a range of workshops on SPIN selling , negotiating, coaching for sales managers, prospecting for buyers, telephone selling skills and winning against the competition. Telesales Training Jenny Cartwright offers a one …Continue reading
If you want that sales managers job you need to be a leader. Here are some tips on how to Become an Ideal Leader.
When you are at work, do you get frustrated because things don’t seem to be happening the way they’re supposed to be? You see people milling around but nothing gets accomplished. And in the daily hustle and bustle, do you feel that your goals remain just that – goals. Then maybe its time for you to stand up and do something about it.
Most people are content just to stand around listening for orders. And it isn’t unusual to adopt a follow-the-leader mentality. But maybe, somewhere inside of you, you feel the desire to make things happen – to be the head, not the tail. Then maybe leadership just suits you fine.
Some people believe that great leaders are made, not born. Yes, it may be true that some people are born with natural talents. However, without practice, without drive, without enthusiasm, and without experience, there can be no true development in leadership.
You must also remember that good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their natural skills. This takes a commitment to constantly improve in whatever endeavor a person chooses.
First of all, let’s define leadership. To be a leader, one must be able to influence others to accomplish a goal, or an objective. He contributes to the organization and cohesion of a group.
Contrary to what most people believe, leadership is not about power. It is not about harassing people or driving them using fear. It is about encouraging others towards the goal of the organization. It is putting everyone on the same page and helping them see the big picture of the organization. You must be a leader not a boss.
First of all, you have to get people to follow you. How is this accomplished?
People follow others when they see a clear sense of purpose. People will only follow you if they see that you know where you are going. Remember that bumper sticker? The one that says, don’t follow me, I’m lost too? The same holds true for leadership. If you yourself do not know where you’re headed to, chances are people will not follow you at all.
You yourself must know the vision of the organization. Having a clear sense of hierarchy, knowing who the bosses are, who to talk to, the organization’s goals and objectives, and how the organization works is the only way to show others you know what you are doing.
Being a leader is not about what you make others do. It’s about who you are, what you know, and what you do. You are a reflection of what you’re subordinates must be.
Studies have shown that one other bases of good leadership is the trust and confidence your subordinates have of you. If they trust you they will go through hell and high water for you and for the organization.
Trust and confidence is built on good relationships, trustworthiness, and high ethics.
The way you deal with your people, and the relationships you build will lay the foundation for the strength of your group. The stronger your relationship, the stronger their trust and confidence is in your capabilities.
Once you have their trust and confidence, you may now proceed to communicate the goals and objectives you are to undertake.
Communication is a very important key to good leadership. Without this you can not be a good leader. The knowledge and technical expertise you have must be clearly imparted to other people.
Also, you can not be a good leader and unless you have good judgment. You must be able to assess situations, weigh the pros and cons of any decision, and actively seek out a solution.
It is this judgment that your subordinates will come to rely upon. Therefore, good decision-making is vital to the success of your organization.
Leaders are not do-it-all heroes. You should not claim to know everything, and you should not rely upon your skills alone.
You should recognize and take advantage of the skills and talents your subordinates have. Only when you come to this realization will you be able to work as one cohesive unit.
Remember being a leader takes a good deal of work and time. It is not learned overnight. Remember, also, that it is not about just you. It is about you and the people around you.
So, do you have the drive and the desire to serve required of leaders? Do you have the desire to work cooperatively with other people? Then start now. Take your stand and be leader today.Continue reading
I am not sure if you are like me or not, but managing your contacts can be a real nightmare if you are not organized.
It is a requirement as a Sales Manger’s Job that you and your sales staff have all relevant details about your clients at your fingertips.
you need to be able to build a worthwhile database, and to be able to track not only appointments but history of staff sales calls, outcomes of a sales call.
there are many programs out there to handle this and I am currently reviewing a number of them.
In the next few weeks I hope to be able to bring you the results and make some recommendations.
There is nothing worse than forgetting to contact your customers and by utilizing a good Customer Relationship Management program is paramount in and Sales Management position.Continue reading
The key to success for a Sales Manager job.
To be a successful Sales Manager is to focus on planning, relationship building and effective communication.
A problem many Sales Managers face is seeing themselves as the person stuck in the middle, trying to find the correct balance between people above and people below in the organization.
The definition of a sales managers job is just as it sounds, to “manage sales”. It also means managing sales people, assisting these people to achieve their goals, making certain they have the correct selling skills and tools to work efficiently and effectively.
Every day I come across sales people involved in selling luxury goods, such as cars and real estate, many of them have no idea of the skills required to making major sales and sadly they have no direction from their sales manager.
Relationship management and planning determines the success of any business.
How good is the company you work for? Just consider these simple factors:
1. How easy is it for customers to contact the sales manager or a sales person in your company?
2. Can your customer be confident your product or service can provide a solution?
3. As a Sales Manager where are your sales people? Are they on the road in front of customers or are they tied up in some company meeting?
4. Do your sales people understand the difference in skills required for making major sales as opposed to making simple sales?
5. As a Sales Manager are you doing everything possible to motivate your sales staff? Are you providing them with adequate back up and training?Continue reading