In my previous article Why are Sales Skills Essential for Employment Consultants, I discussed the benefits of an employment consultant having sales skills. We also established that many practitioners come into the role of Employment Consultant with the right attitude “I just want to make a difference.” Yet are pretty shocked to discover that in order to make a difference they have certain targets to reach and these are called job placements and sustainability outcomes.
Now when we talk about selling in this article it is not in the context of reverse marketing or employer engagement. Selling always starts with the jobseeker. Without the jobseeker being sold on working, doing that particular course or even staying in a job then approaching an employer is pointless. I’m going to share a few central sales tips amongst many that will help you when it comes to influencing and convincing your jobseekers into employment.
1. Build rapport
Building rapport is the fundamental aspect to any selling situation. If the person sitting in front of you doesn’t like you, there is no way they are going to listen to you, agree with your opinions or let alone do anything you’re going to tell them. Without rapport there is no trust. "People buy people” and often enough I’ve had job seekers confess that the only reason they took a job or went to that course was because they didn’t want to let me down. There are several techniques to building rapport, yet it always starts with body language. Rapport begins upon that first meeting. Do you give this person enough respect by shaking their hand? I know that 80% of employment consultants don’t. That simple handshake can boost rapport by a milestone. Think about it, you’re unemployed, feel worthless and you’re sitting there expecting to meet another obnoxious consultant for the first time. Naturally you’re expecting them to make you feel unworthy yet again, “but wait, did this person just shake my hand? They are smiling! Perhaps I’m not that unworthy after all.” Plus the significance of a handshake is the first thing they teach you in sales 101. But most important, show that you really care about the person sitting in front of you and take a genuine interest in them and their well being.
2. Ask key questions
Some Employment consultants go through the motions of induction and review without really discovering what their client really wants. They demand what they want from them, use threatening language, and in all that time never discovering who the person in front of them really is. Were you aware that using effective questioning is a powerful technique that is used by many master sales gurus. Basically it's using a set of questions in order to influence and motivate the client into the sale. Even asking a simple question such as, “what do you think you will need to do in order to put that qualification on you resume?” Rather than demanding, “you must go do that course so it can enhance your resume!” can have a huge impact. Questions are so powerful that they allow the client feel that they had made the choice themselves. Since many emotions are hidden, when you ask effective questions you help your client make discoveries of what they want and need. As well, effective questions are able to create emotions, such as desire, urgency or even a wake up call. “Imagine yourself in ten years time. What do you see yourself doing? Where are you living? What have you achieved? Do you see yourself sitting in that same chair across from someone like me?”
3. Use their motivation to sell
People don’t usually buy what the product is, but buy how it’s going to make them feel. Logic and intellect have little to do with buying while emotion is a big driver. Same applies to when a job opportunity is presented to a jobseeker. It is easier to sell a jobseeker based on how having a job can make them feel and what it can do for them rather than the job itself. Being employed means different things to different people. Find out what it means for your jobseeker and use that motivation to sell them. Do they want a job because it means; Security? Status? New friends? Sense of identity? To get promoted and become boss? Save up for a holiday? Self-worth? Family pressure? I had one guy who told me that the reason he wanted a job was because he was sick of going out to bars and telling chicks that he was unemployed. Any type of motivation is better than no motivation at all. Just remember that it's quite valuable to allow the client to discover their motivation naturally by simply asking them the right questions.
4. Make sure you listen
Every successful sales person will tell you that listening is one on the key ingredients for making a sale. Many times we are so focused on the next thing that we want to say that we miss a whole chunk of important stuff being said to us. Listening is not the same as hearing, meaning that when you listen it’s important to pay attention not just to what is being said but how it’s being said. By paying attention to body language, tone of voice and certain words used you will pick up a lot more. When you really listen to your client, you also prove to them that you respect them enough to value their individual needs.
These few sales tips if applied and practiced daily can produce great results and lead to job placements. Keep in mind that the art of sales doesn't end here but is filled with a depth of techniques; such as having an awareness of body language, following up with clients in employment, identifying features and benefits of the client, overcoming objections, negotiating, using third party stories and creating a strong pitch. Just remember sales is the art and science of selling ideas, features and benefits. In order to get better it's vital that you do research, read books and articles and most important put everything you learn into practice, have fun with it and experiment. Good luck.
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