Elite Daily stated that “we live in a society in which productivity is considered to be a highly valued aspect of life. If you seek to impress someone, whether it's at a job, networking or in everyday relationships, people will wonder what you're up to. ‘Nothing’ is an answer that’s often frowned upon, as is general laziness”. However, it seems that for the most part this statement is misconstrued, especially by those who are young, hungry and eager to impress - students.
Any good sales representative knows that preparation is often the key to success. This applies to all aspects of a sales process – from the discovery to the presentation, right up to negotiating and closing the deal.
Prior to going into my second year of University I was approached by Sheila Cassidy, Director of the Great Canadian Sales Competition (GCSC), regarding an ambassador position at St Francis Xavier University (StFX). When I received her message, I was unsure what I would be getting myself into - I knew absolutely nothing about sales, but I had nothing to lose so I gave it a shot. Little did I know, just how much I had to gain from taking on this opportunity! I took the call with Sheila and quickly realized there was a huge networking opportunity that the GCSC would offer my fellow students and I.
If you asked me a year ago if I would have considered sales as a career, I probably would have said “no” with a large degree of certainty. But in reality I was uneducated about what sales consisted of and what a sales career actually looked like. Working as an on-campus Ambassador for the Great Canadian Sales Competition (GCSC) really helped me to understand what sales actually was and ultimately led me to the exec position I now hold with the team.
When I think back to the earlier days of my education, I remember one particular day like it was yesterday. A man from Enactus Canada came to one of my marketing classes to speak about the benefits of extracurricular activities. He said “How many of you want to get a job after graduating?” I raised my hand. I looked to my left and looked to my right and everyone else had their hands raised too. “How many of you want to get a marketing job after you graduate?”
Again, I raised my hand. I looked to my left and looked to my right and everyone had their hands raised again. He then said “This is your competition, what is going to set you apart?” And then it hit me, this was just my competition at my school. There would be tons of graduates from universities and colleges in the GTA region that would also be my job competition. From almost every stand point these facts were daunting.
So, what was going to set me apart? And my answer was extra-curriculars.
Throughout my journey in the Niagara College School of Business I constantly strived to do my best academically. In fact, in my 3 year marketing program, I graduated with Honors Standing and at the top of my class. But, not only did I try to do well academically, I tried to be involved with as many extracurricular activities as I could manage between my academics and working part-time.
I tried out and was selected to be a part of Niagara College’s Marketing Team from 2013 to 2015. Through this I became a silver medalist in market research and 1st runner up in retail marketing at the Ontario College’s Marketing Competition. I was also one of three Niagara College students selected in 2014 to complete at a national level marketing competition called the BDC Case Challenge. BDC involved 16 hours a week of training and a lot of hard work, but provided me with new and exciting skill sets.
I was also selected to be the Vice President of Enactus Niagara College in 2014. Niagara College’s Enactus program focused on working with a community of student, academic and business advisors to create developmental projects for smaller businesses throughout the Niagara region. In my year as Vice President, I worked hard to restructure a program that had been ignored and undervalued. Within a year we had won the honor of being the Most Improved Enactus Team nationwide.
After my 3 years in the School of Business I wanted to further my education and hone in on my communication skills. So, I decided to take on Niagara College’s Public Relations Post Grad, which was at the School of Media and Technology. This meant a new campus and a new territory; and with this came new connections, new extra-curriculars and new experiences. Through this program and my extracurricular experience I was one of 12 students chosen to participate in the Public Relations Society- Hamilton Chapter 2015/2016 mentorship program. The mentorship program focused on building relationships with industry members, developing communication skills and networking with future connections.
And last, but certainly not least, I took part in The Great Canadian Sales Competition, Canada’s Biggest Student Competition, as Niagara College’s Team Lead/Ambassador. In the Competition’s second year (and first year at Niagara College), our team encouraged 72 students to participate on our campus putting us at 360% to our team target. The GCSC helped me develop sales and entrepreneurial skills that I wasn’t necessarily learning in school. And the GCSC provided me with measurable and attainable targets that helped set me apart in the job market once I was finished school.
Through all of these extra-curriculars I became committed, connected and driven. But most of all I became job ready. I encourage all students to get involved in extra-curriculars at their college or university in any way that they can. My extra-curricular’s gave me an accolade to put on my resume, relevant experience and amazing networking opportunities. Lastly, my extra-curricular involvement allowed me to develop skill sets that made me job ready. And for all students, extra-curriculars will provide you with the same.
I couldn’t be more excited to be hired on as the Competition Coordinator/Regional Manager for The Great Canadian Sales Competition, right out of school. Not only do I understand competitions and how to get students involved, but I also understand how extra-curriculars can be a huge benefit to students. I encourage any student that is reading this to get involved and to get involved now.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how you can get involved on campus with the Great Canadian Sales Competition!
You are looking for a great sales role, so it is critical that your resume highlight your key achievements as they pertain to your sales career.
In the world of recruitment there are nuggets of advice that we find ourselves sharing every single day. Some of this is so simple that it borders on inane (make sure you wore a good suit, show up on time and send a thank you email when you're finished) but some have proven time and time again to change the way that people view the interview process and provide measurable results.
When reviewing postsecondary options, I had only one clear objective: get a job.
Here are 5 tips on keeping up with the times, starting with your LinkedIn profile page
Bragging about yourself is typically a taboo thing to do. Most people are not interested in hearing you go on and on about how great you are. However, if you are interviewing for a sales position, it is a completely different story.
It is one of the most critical components of the sales process and it’s important to think carefully about what you are trying to sell, who you are selling to, and how you are going to get them to listen!
Advice for candidates who have been asked to build a plan on how they would ramp up in a new role
Most people’s biggest job-hunting fear is being put on the spot by oddball interview questions such as these (which are real)
If you are in sales of any capacity then you have seen this happen many times, and hopefully it made you cringe a tad bit each time: a colleague closing a deal by discounting heavily.
Quick advice for job seekers who want to ace their next interview
As a professional recruiter, I have stood in the shoes of both managers and business owners when considering the type of talent needed for their organization. I have filtered through resumes, phone screened, Skype interviewed and met with thousands of people face-to-face. Yet I have not forgotten the days where I have sat in the same seat as those hopefuls looking to find a great new job. It is with this experience that I can give to you, as I do all the candidates I speak to daily, a few of my favorite tips on the do’s and don’ts when interviewing for a role:
- Arrive to your meeting 5-10 minutes early.
- Bring your A-game to the table. This includes a firm handshake, good eye contact and a strong elevator pitch.
- Dress to impress - it takes an employer seconds to pass judgment. Be sure to check out samples of what you should wear to an interview, here.
- Have a mint at all times – you never know how close you’ll be sitting to your interviewer.
- Be prepared with a hard copy resume, notepad and pen.
- Research the company and have 3-5 quality questions about them lined up.
- Be ready to articulate the company’s mission statement or value proposition.
- Have fun in the interview! * Do some research on the interviewer and get to know the person you’re meeting with. Show the best parts of your personality.
- Be confident but humble. We look for people that are easy to work with, drama-free and won’t rub anyone (or everyone) the wrong way.
- Make sure you reiterate why you want the job and ask if the interviewer has any concerns about your background. Take this opportunity to mitigate any concerns that they may have.
- “May I have your business card?” Never leave an interview without asking this question. You’ll need this to follow up with a thank you note (no longer than 24 hours) after your meeting.
- Arrive late to a meeting! If you do, be honest about why – it makes it 10 times worse when you come up with a terrible excuse (and we can always tell when you do)
- Leave your cell phone on. If you have more important things to do, just leave!
- Walk into an interview looking to “wing it”. If someone is giving you 10-30 minutes of their time, show some respect by having done research on their company and the opportunity.
- Show up looking like a slob. Pass on the messy clothes, fashion jewelry, pink heels, cleavage, sweatshirt etc. A good rule of thumb, if you can wear it out on Friday or Saturday night – don’t ever consider it for a professional interview.
- Overload on perfume or cologne – we don’t want your scent lasting hours after you leave and not to mention, some of us have sensitivity to smell! We would also greatly appreciate if you could refrain from smoking before meeting us.
- Speak in monotone, no one likes dull and we certainly won’t force you to speak. Bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm!
- Have a bad attitude, don’t talk about how you hate the weather, how people drive poorly in the city, that your old boss was a jerk and that you’re the best thing since slice bread.
- LAST: DO NOT lie during your interview. Lies are difficult to manage, speak to poor character and will not only come back to bite you in the rear but could close future opportunities for you.
Every interview is different, from panel interviews to situational, experiential and conversational – remember that your job is to sell yourself! You are the product so know what’s on your resume, your sales metrics and why you’re a great candidate. Have fun and remember that credibility is key!
By Jamie Hoobanoff
What is Inside Sales – and what is it not? We found an insightful article that breaks down the history, development and truth behind what Inside Sales really is (counter to what many people believe.) According to this article, there is a tendency for people to consider Inside Sales as telemarketing or customer service positions – which can deter sales people from considering Inside Sales as a role they would want to take on. The truth is, Inside Sales roles are more important than ever – as technology is eliminating the need for door-to-door field sales and opening up the opportunities for remote selling (aka inside sales)
You may find yourself interested in taking this type of role on after you finish reading this!
"What is Inside Sales? The Definition of Inside Sales"
by Ken Krogue
The most pragmatic definition of Inside Sales is simple: inside sales is remote sales.
It has been called virtual sales, professional sales done remotely, or one of my recent favorites “sales in the cloud.” Where outside sales or traditional field sales is done face-to-face.
Taken in this context, the majority of all sales is done remotely, and the numbers are growing. The most recent study done by SKKU and MIT, in conjunction with infoUSA, found that over the past three years, inside sales grew at a fifteen times higher rate (7.5% versus .5% annually) over outside sales, to the tune of 800,000 new jobs. (Note, another market size study is underway and should be available shortly.)
Click here to read more
BY SONYA MELOFF
The interviewer acts as the gatekeeper – they are who decides whether or not you get to the next stage. That is why ensuring that you are able to create a positive relationship with your interviewer is KEY. You can have perfect answers for all your interviewer’s questions, but if they aren’t jiving with you than those answers will lose value very quickly. We came across this very useful article on 6 major ways to bond with your interviewer –and they are definitely doable!
"How to Bond With Your Interviewer"
by David Clough
When it comes to landing a job, developing positive rapport with your interviewer is almost a necessity. Sure, it’s possible to get hired even if you’re anti-social – provided you have the right skills under the right circumstances – but it’s more likely that “unlikable” that candidates will find themselves shelved in a recruiter’s contacts or buried under a hiring manager’s stack of resumes.
You greatly increase your odds of receiving a job offer if you can make a strong social impression, so why not make the extra effort? Recruiters and hiring managers are just regular people – emotional creatures that crave personal connections. If you want to ace your next job interview, use these interview tips on the next go round.
Read more here
BY SONYA MELOFF
These days when it is easy to blame a lost deal or sales opportunity on a bad economy, it is time for you to take an honest look at yourself and decide: am I really a sales expert? Sales experts are not afraid to pick up the phone or knock on a door to introduce themselves. Sales experts know how to develop rapport, they listen to their client and they present a compelling value proposition. In short, sales experts know how to bring in revenue. On the other hand, bad sales people are always waiting for the phone to ring, and blame lost sales opportunities on their product, their company, the client and the economy.
There are far too few of the former and far too many of the latter.
Here are a few questions that may help you decide if you are truly a sales expert:
1. What is the best time to make a cold call?
a. When my pipeline is depleted and I need new opportunities
b. Before 9am and after 5pm so that I can get to decision makers when their gatekeepers are not around - but never on a Friday! If I miss those windows there is no point
c. I try to avoid gatekeepers, but I am more focused on ensuring I cold-call for at least 2 hours every day
2. You have left numerous voicemails for a hot prospect with no call back, what is your next step?
a. Screw them! I will move on to the next opportunity
b. I will keep calling and leaving messages – I won’t stop until they call back
c. I will regroup and try a different tact: I may drop into their office, or will find someone else in that company (or in the decision maker’s network) to make an introduction
3. You walk into a scheduled first meeting with your prospect only to be told by an assistant that your contact had to leave early and your meeting has been cancelled. What do you do?
a. Get frustrated, leave and don’t look back. You have put a lot of preparation time into this meeting and have travelled a long way to be here – why do business with people who do not respect your time and efforts?
b. Get frustrated but try and salvage the situation by presenting your solution to the assistant
c. Get frustrated but never show it. Leave a polite note for your contact and book another meeting while you are there. Check to see if there is anyone more senior to your contact available that you could briefly introduce yourself to before you leave
4. What part of the sales process are you best at?
a. Negotiating: I know what I am selling is essential to my client and I am great at holding to my price
b. Presenting: I build exceptional sales presentations and am really comfortable in front of a big audience of decision makers – just put me in and stand back!
c. Discovery: I do my best work when I listen to my customer. I need to understand their current state and their goals and I need to know how and why they make decisions
5. If you were not a sales person, you would be:
a. An Actor: I love putting on a big show and entertaining people
b. A Lawyer: I love making compelling arguments that sway people’s decisions
c. An Entrepreneur: I love the process of business and looking for unfilled gaps in the marketplace
6. How important is it to believe in the product/service you are selling?
a. I only want to sell something that is easy
b. I can sell ice to Eskimos – it does not matter if what I sell works or not
c. I have to believe that what I am selling truly fills the need and lives up to the value proposition
7. You were the sales lead in a team-based presentation to a big prospect. The decision makers reject your proposal and opt for a competitor’s solution. Who is to blame?
a. The client: They just did not get it! They will be out of business in 6 months!
b. The team you presented with: They screwed up their part of the presentation. They will be out of a job in 6 months!
c. I am. I failed to meet the client’s expectations; I failed to prepare my team properly; I failed to research who I was competing with; I failed to articulate the value of my solution. I will never make that mistake again
8. How full should your sales pipeline be?
a. I don’t use a sales pipeline. I just go out and sell
b. My close ratio is much higher than my peers, so I don’t need as much in my pipeline as they do to meet my numbers
c. I need to have 3 times my quota in my pipeline at any one time, but I try to have much more than that so I can over achieve
9. After you have presented your proposal, your client says: “Your competitor’s solution is much cheaper”. Do you:
a. Say: “What price did they present? – I’ll beat it by 5%”
b. Immediately explain why your price is fair based on the increased value of your solution
c. Don’t say a word – that was not a question and did not require a response – what your client says after the silence will dictate your next step
10. Your favourite thing about sales is:
a. The perks: car allowance, expense account, not being stuck in an office – life is sweet
b. The money: sales reps get paid more than most other roles in a company
c. The competition: with your peers, other companies, but most important with yourself
If you answered mostly A’s and B’s, it is time to find a new career. Being a great sales person takes hard-work, consistency, empathy, common sense, and a highly competitive spirit – this does not describe you.
If you answered mostly C’s, congratulations! You are a sales expert and are able to deliver the one thing that every company in the world is looking for: revenue. You are the pride of the sales profession and we salute you. Now go sell something!
BY SONYA MELOFF
Are you not selling because you have no one to sell to? Simple solution – get hunting! It is easy to say that you are out of leads and admit defeat – but the separation from a good-to-great sales person lies in the dedication to seek out opportunities when opportunities seem slim. Here are a few ways to make something out of nothing when it seems like no new leads are coming your way.
Search in new places
Are you trying to find a needle in a haystack? Rather than searching aimlessly for prospective clients in an exhausted resource it’s time to expand your horizons: search industry websites, Google competitors of your current clients… If there is a rock you are not lifting, get heaving!
Leverage your network
Have you ever considered that new leads exist in your old leads? By connecting with past and current clients (and sometimes even your competition) you can investigate who else in the market may need or want what you’re selling. Don’t forget by speaking with your friends, family and general peer group you can sometimes generate new leads in unexpected places!
Remember that old saying “think outside the box,” well when this excuse creeps up there’s no better time to do just that! It may be time to reconsider or readjust whom you are hunting for – that’s where a little creativity comes in. Start asking yourself – who else may need or want what I have to sell? Get imaginative and you may find that it opens up a whole new world of possibilities!
Bang on doors
The fact of the matter may just be that no new leads are coming because you have stopped trying. Any good sales person knows that sitting back until a client comes to you is sales suicide. Pick up the phone, visit a prospective clients office, or send out an email – the ball is in your court!
There are a million ways to occupy your time as a sales person: researching potential clients; servicing existing clients; building spreadsheets and presentations… Spend at least 50% of your day focused on new business development and make it your #1 priority. You will thank us when your T4 shows up!