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Why are Sales Skills Essential for Employment Practitioners?

Public Reverse Marketing workshops 

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​Often enough many employment consultants come into their role having the right intention of “I just want to help people” yet they don’t expect the commercial side of the industry. Some quickly become demotivated as the pressure of hitting monthly targets and KPIs is not what they had bargained for. Many times it’s not that they don’t try and hit these targets, it’s just that they were never taught how to. For an organisation to survive charity or not, it has to stay on top of its game.


Yes it can have a charitable heart, yet it needs to have a strategic plan in order to survive. So therefore having sales skills becomes vital for consultants who are having their convincing and negotiating skills tested on a daily basis.


How are sales skills exactly used in this industry? When people who work within employment services often hear the words ‘sales skills’ they automatically assume that it is solely based on reverse marketing and employer engagement. But there is another side of using sales skills that many in this industry seem to overlook. This all has to do with how you sell yourself, the organisation and services to the jobseeker. How are you going to sell the product (jobseeker) to the customer (employer) if it’s not going to turn on? It is essential to place focus on having the best candidate that will serve the employer and this is why selling starts with the jobseeker.


There is an art to persuasion. How do you convince a struggling actor to take that warehousing position he thinks is beneath him? Or a lady who has been unemployed for a long time that in order to enhance her skills work for the dole is her best option at the moment? In my first role as an employment consultant I had no clue and struggled. It wasn’t until I left the industry and worked in sales for a few years and underwent thousands of hours of sales training that it all made sense once I returned to employment services. Upon my return I was a totally different consultant. I was hitting and exceeding targets without really trying. It was because I had made a conscious choice to use all my sales training to influence my clients. I was building rapport, asking effective questions and using their motivation to sell them. For the first time without getting into conflict with my jobseekers I was able to show them the benefits of doing unpaid work experience and sign them up right then and there. Many times I was able to assist someone with their plan B of taking a job they had no intention of doing while motivating them to never give up on their plan A. One of my first achievements was when I was able to convince a university lecturer of engineering who had been out of work for 3 years to take a position as a cashier at an RSL club. This was done without having to use the whole “I will send a report to Centrelink” and “it’s your obligation” spiel. A year later I bumped into this same gentleman who told me with pride that he had worked his way up and was now the manager there. Please take note that this is not about bullying and threatening someone into a job, but rather using the person's internal motivation in order for them to realise that this is the job for them for the time being. We are also looking for job satisfaction and sustainability from the jobseeker.


In the end the main question is what sets apart a consultant who is hitting their monthly job placements/outcomes to another who is stressing away and staying back after hours, yet this person is constantly behind on target? Watching and observing many successful consultants I will tell you one thing they all did have in common was the ability to persuade. But what I have learnt most is that mastering this art has nothing to do with intellect or a college degree. It’s about being aware of certain skills that most successful negotiator and influencers use on a daily basis, and having the confidence to apply them and repeatedly practicing until you start to see results.