When I meet with people it’s generally because they want a new job or are investigating what to do next with their career. More often than not, they are struggling. Or, are taking a proactive approach and setting themselves up early.
For those that have struggled to land their new job - there's usually a few things in common. CV, LinkedIn, Interview Skills.... but there's also something less obvious, yet so important it's the ultimate derailer.
What is it?
They’ve usually had lots of meetings, coffees, phone calls, video calls, more meetings, more coffees (dancing on the ceiling by now – not sleeping because of all the caffeine – just a tad wired – or tired!).
Most have fantastic skills, heaps of experience and buckets of transferable learning that will deliver competitive advantage and value to an employer and/or customer. If only they could find and capture that new opportunity!
I listen to their playback of some of the interactions they’ve had.
Now, I’m professionally trained in solution selling and RFP response – and I just can’t help uncovering opportunities. Why is that, and what was missing from their conversations that would have been a part of mine?
Well, I go into every meeting being curious.
Going into every meeting with an open mind is essential. Whether it’s a job interview or a customer call. The motivation must be “If I can help you, I will!”
Not, “If I can sell to you, I will!”
I never go into a meeting thinking "I MUST SELL SOMETHING!"
I want to learn what is concerning this person before I talk about me. I may not be able to assist them directly, but I may be able to refer them on to someone who can.
So back to the people I meet.
To put it simply, they are missing the opportunity for ‘opportunity capture’!
Their focus is usually on themselves. What they want. Getting a job. Or promoting their achievements. Understandable given they’ve been told “every meeting is an interview for a job". Yes. Possibly. But it's the approach that matters.
They are great at what they do - technically, but they’re not trained in ‘solution selling’. And, that’s what you're doing when you're job seeking.
You are the potential solution to a person's problem.
How can you uncover the not-so-obvious and capture opportunities?
Here are 10 areas to focus on.
- Be curious: Learn what’s front of mind for them right now.
- Understand their priorities: What are their burning platforms?
- Establish importance: What is the value of solving the problem?
- It's about them: Don’t interrupt the flow – just jot down key words to use as prompts for the bigger questions later on.
- Create a platform: Ask open questions.
- Enable the environment to share: Don’t be critical or judgmental (e.g. “Gosh that was a bad move wasn’t it!” or, “I wouldn’t have done it that way”)
- Be a thinker - instill confidence; If you think you may have a solution, you could say “I’ve got a couple of ideas about the challenges you have shared, and I’d like to think them through. If I believe I’ve got a solution for you would you be interested in discussing?” Now, what person in their right mind is going to say no to a solution to their problem.
- Don't give away the gold; Or, If you have got a more immediate solution grab it right there. But don’t give away the gold bar! Leave some gold on the table. But don’t give it away!
- Put a stake in the ground; Get a date and time. Show commitment and that you recognise time is important. They’ll more than likely have their calendar on their mobile!
- What do you want them to walk away with? Finally – be aware of your brand. I loved it when a Search Consultant said to one of my clients; “The interview went well. The feedback was that even if we don’t appoint them to the role, they left some gold on the table!”. They got the job!
You might like to read one of my a favorite books;
Integrity Selling for the 21st Century: How to Sell the Way People Want to Buy. You'll find it on Amazon. Take a look.