Sales and Sales Management Blog

March 9, 2011

Guest Article: “The Ultimate Sell: 5 Insights on Closing the Job Search ‘Sale’, by Brendan Cruickshank

Filed under: career development,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 9:28 am

The Ultimate Sell: 5 Insights on Closing the Job Search ‘Sale’
by Brendan Cruickshank

I heard someone saying the other day that he could be the greatest salesman the world has ever known…if only someone would hire him! I found this statement somewhat amusing and definitely puzzling. After all, if a person is really that good a salesman, then how is it he can’t find a way to close the ultimate sale: the ability to sell himself to an employer?

Great salespeople can be successful promoting anything, even items that are seemingly useless. Why? Because what they are really selling is not their product at all. What they are really selling is themselves. Yes of course they do their homework and learn all there is to know about their product but what makes the sale is their ability to communicate their passion about the product and make others feel that same passion through the words that come out of their mouth, the body language they display, and the confidence they portray. None of these things are attributes of the product. All of them are attributes of the salesperson!

The funny thing is that many salespeople themselves don’t realize this. There really are some great ones out there who are unemployed because for some reason they don’t approach the job search with the same mentality that works so well for them in the world of sales. Selling yourself to a potential employer is not all that different from selling a widget to a customer. In fact in many ways it is much easier because you start out with a much larger body of knowledge about yourself than you do about the widget. Closing a sale like this shouldn’t be that difficult to a good salesperson. The important thing to remember is that in your job interview, you need to show your potential employer that you possess the same characteristics that both of you know will work well when you go to work for him in sales. Here are a few insights that might put things in clearer perspective:

  1. During the interview, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.
    Great salespeople will ask many questions of a prospective buyer. This is how they get to really know their customers! By asking questions, a salesperson can find out what the customer needs, what he is looking for, and what makes him tick. Not only does the salesperson get to know the customer better, but she becomes better able to present her product in the manner that will make the customer most likely to want to purchase it. Asking a lot of questions during the job interview will show your future employer that you too are aware of the significance of this sales technique and are able to put it to use effectively.
  2. Do a LOT of listening!
    A good salesperson knows that successful selling is not accomplished by trying to jam your viewpoint down your client’s throat. On the contrary, to be a truly great salesperson you need to be a great listener! But this is not an easy skill to perfect and it must be actively practiced. By being a good listener during your job interview, you are demonstrating that you have already mastered this skill.
  3. Show confidence in yourself.
    The very best salespeople will convey a sense during the dialogue with their customer that they have already made the sale. The client can sense this confidence and will usually follow along with it until the sale becomes a done deal. A job interview is no different. Projecting the confidence that you already have the job will go a long way towards making it happen.
  4. Be passionate about yourself.
    If you are going to be passionate about the products you sell, you first must show that you can be passionate about yourself. There are numerous ways to convey this passion. One way is through your appearance. When a salesperson looks good, buyers naturally assume that the product is also in top notch condition. Intelligence is another way. So is punctuality. Still another way is by displaying good conversational skills. The job interview is the perfect venue to showcase all of these attributes.
  5. Show the employer that you are his solution.
    A great salesperson always demonstrates a willingness to create a solution for the customer without concerning himself with his own personal goals. This is a good way to effectively knock down the stereotype of the aggressive, money hungry sales predator. In a similar fashion, when that same salesperson becomes a job candidate, he needs to show an ability to look at things through the eyes of his potential employer and show that he can do what it takes to become the perfect fit as a member of the corporate team.

Sales jobs can often be tough to land. Salespeople are the face of a company and account for much of its revenue and understandably firms are very careful about who they hire to fulfill these important roles. Yet when competing for one of these jobs, a salesperson should never forget who he really is. And he should also keep in mind that the same qualities that make him effective at selling gadget X can be equally effective when he markets himself. Viewing the employment hunt from a sales perspective can help a good salesperson finally close the deal on the job search “sale”.

Currently Vice President of Client Services for, Brendan Cruickshank has worked in the online job search and recruiting industry for the past 8 years. His expert insight on topics in employment and jobs trends has been quoted in publications such as the Washington Post and US News & World Report.


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