Secret to Sales Success

sales-success

The secret to success in sales is finding “the best mentors on the planet,” says Justin Boldt. These are people who will take you under their wing, take you on appointments, and give you good questions to ask. Despite how talented they are in their own right, they will still ask you questions in order to get your thoughts so that you can think through the process for yourself.

Because no one knows everything about sales. The secret according to Boldt, is collaboration. If you’re facing a difficult situation, talk to your colleagues. They can open you up to a fresh perspective. Smith agrees. He says, “people fail because they don’t ask questions.”

Where You Work Makes a Difference

Since so much of the way we work involves sales, making a change in industries (i.e. what you sell) will depend on the foundation you have and what you do with it. Boldt made the pivot from an enterprise-level company to a startup. The difference in the way the two company’s initiated him was clear, and had a lot to do with the size of the organization. The enterprise-level company had a 2-week orientation process, while the startup handed him a training manual, walked him to his desk, and wished him luck after assigning him about 300 customers.

The secret to going from an ‘ordered’ onboarding process to a ‘firehose’ approach is in taking your time to find out the right answers. Boldt would listen to his voicemail or read through his emails and try to figure out the solution before responding, rather than just jumping right into writing or calling the customer back. It’s tricky because, as Smith points out, there is “always work to be done” so there is a challenge when you think “you got to get it done right then.” Boldt combats that by realizing everybody’s busy, it’s important to do what you can to come with answers.

Milestones that Matter

For context, Boldt offers these key milestones as a way to track your onboarding progress (and acknowledge your success):

  • First 3 months is a firehose experience, so hang in there and ask a lot of questions. This is key when working for startups because there may be no defined training.
  • First 6 months is when you’re starting to feel comfortable. In fact, you may realize you can answer about half of the client’s questions on your own: That’s a win!
  • First 12 months is when you can answer all client questions on your own.

The important part to emphasize here is that there is marked progress that you can make, but also you will be able to notice your growth which can help you stay motivated as you work toward meeting your (and your organization’s) goals.

What does it take to succeed in sales? Read the full article at Cloutera.com.

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Gender Diversity: How to be Part of the Change

gender-gap

Bridging the gender gap is not just about getting women into tech roles, it’s about keeping them there so that they can progress into leadership. Without opportunities for advancement or work/life balance, women will walk away from their careers. This can be seen across the industries as women make up 33% of junior roles but only 9% sit in the Executive seat.

How can we build better, more diverse teams? The answer for our organizations and ourselves can be the same two lessons from the fireside chat:

Get out of your comfort zone. For a company, getting out of a comfort zone can mean something as simple as realizing “culture fit” is not ‘an excuse to hire more of the same.’ For an individual it can be realizing you have your own biases. Farnaz Azmoodeh, Director of Engineering at Snapchat, tells a story where she caught herself showing prejudice. It was in that moment that she realized bias is not something ‘out there’ but something that is inside all of us.  Now when she is approached before a meeting and it is presumed she is not in charge, rather than correct or admonish the person, Azmoodeh will continue to speak with them until she calls the meeting to order and they realize their error.

Check out the second lesson and the full article at Cloutera.com.

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Cover Letters Matter

man writing a contract

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Cover letters matter.  The letter, which is more likely to be in the form of an email, is the vehicle that will drive your recipient to look at your attachment:  the resume.

Anytime I’m asked if someone should write a cover letter I say, ‘yes, if you want the job.’  Not only does it demonstrate your interest, you get the chance to make your case if you do it well!

There are two examples that come to mind that show cover letters matter.  In the middle of an interview loop one person I had been working with was stopped and complimented on his cover letter.  He later got that job.  Another person who has not completely embraced my cover letter formula has been told by a hiring manager that her rock-solid resume is being betrayed by her cover letter.  She’s wondering what to do next.  Are you?

Here are my tips for writing an effective cover letter.

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Daily Affirmation

Morning affirmations for my Job Seekers.

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Job Hunt Got You Down? How to Pivot for Pay Off

hard-working-tired-man

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Creating a new career or acquiring a new job is a marathon, not a sprint. You have spent months if not years developing the tools to change the path toward your future, and now it is important to realize that it will take about the same amount of time to achieve the next milestone:  your first job in your new career.

 Why does the hard work continue? Because you are not purchasing a new way of life, you are creating it. Here is how and why your hard work will pay off:

Building Relationships

Story and relationship are important because what we need in difficult times are tangible results. In order to get that, you should know that there are seven stages one must go through to get from the sudden discovery of treasure [i.e. job opportunity] to the point of visible bond [i.e. job offer].  Rather than holding your breath and powering through three or four interactions with a hiring manager, take a moment to connect, realizing it may take seven interactions before you get to the point where either of you are sure you want to commit.

Selling Yourself

Not ironically, the new way of selling is in the art of relationship building, where you go to someone not as the sales guy or gal looking to make a deal (transaction), but as the consultant looking to add value (relationship) to their lives. When you don’t like talking about yourself this can be particularly difficult, so I recommend talking about your brand of solution. For Career Changers, this means you are not talking about what you used to do, so much as you are talking about how you approach (and overcome) challenges with tried and true examples from previous work situations.  What will mean the most to the person who is hiring is your ability to learn, adapt, and your approach to solving problems. This, and the work you put in to get to know them, is what will get you noticed.

Here are some of my thoughts on what will make you more effective for the long haul of the job hunt:

Rethink the Recruiter

Think of recruiters as your sales force. You have to train them in your messaging, and send them into situations motivated to bring you back opportunities. The key here, in your career development, is the initiative you must take before during and after a role, because this is the expectation you must have for the rest of your work life:  You are the Chief Employment Officer of your career.

Progress in the Process

Progress, in this case, is the next step in the job acquisition process. It is exciting when everyone is calling, emailing, and wanting a piece of you, but that gets tiring if there is no progress leading you to a job offer.

Since activity and progress are not the same thing, here is what I recommend to help you survive and thrive the job hunt marathon:

  1. Keep a calendar and tick off not just the things you do, but the days you actually do it. It’s not about your activity if you only do it for three or four days, because job hunts last three or four months – that’s why it’s a marathon. This is important to remember because quite a few people come to me in frustration after a couple of months only to get an offer days later. A job hunt takes work but it also takes time.
  1. Re-read your impact statements like you would affirmations. With the trend in resumes turning from lists of job responsibilities to key achievements, when the long haul feels particularly difficult, read through these impacts statements as a way to remind yourself that you did these amazing things where you created change, solved problems, and built things that mattered to the people around you.
  1. Schedule yourself. As a believer in working smarter, I recommend 30 hours a week for an active job hunt rather than a full 40. This means that there are still other hours left in the day for families and mental rest. By both setting time boundaries for your job hunt tasks and not spending every hour worried about getting a job, you can pace yourself and start again tomorrow refreshed and renewed.

In addition, keep track of your progress through the application process so that 
you can adjust your approach when things aren’t working how you’d like.  For example, there are different things to address if you never get an interview invitation  then if you never get an offer after an onsite interview.

By keeping track, you will know whether you need to create a more effective resume for the current market or if you need to rethink your approach to interview questions.

Whether you are just starting your job hunt or working on coping with the process, I welcome the chance to journey with you.

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DIY Experience

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

The struggle to get a job without experience and experience without a job not only belongs to those fresh out of high school or college, it belongs to Career Changers as well.  How do you get experience before you get the job?  You make it.

The jobs you’re applying for are intentional.  You want them because of what you can do, make, or what it means for you to get that role.  Now, think about what those offering that role want from you:  to do the work with minimal additional training.  This is why you are more likely to get a job you’ve already done.

Career 1 – Editing

My first career was as a video editor in the broadcast news industry.  I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism which afforded me two internships on different teams at the same local TV station.  Those unpaid real-world work experiences lead to part-time work at the same station.  Repeated practice and persistence at my craft eventually lead to my getting a job at another TV station near my hometown.

Career 2 – Training

When I left TV it was to become a software trainer.  I wouldn’t necessarily consider this a full career change because I was still leveraging my skills and connections within the Broadcast News industry, but this whole new way of working came about because others saw how fast I would learn and be able to share what I knew so they offered me these new roles.

Then something started to change in 2009 and I could tell the work and the jobs were drying up.  I landed a role at Microsoft that leveraged the training experience I had developed.  I was able to re-frame my ability to learn new software into a love for technology and training that engaged audiences.

Career 3 – Coaching

During my time at Microsoft I not only went back to school and earned a Master of Arts degree in Psychology and trained in the co-active coaching method.  I then started my coaching practice, developed my first workshops, and wrote and published my first two books all geared toward this nature-based coaching practice I call Sacred Time.

When I left Microsoft I had the foundation of my coaching practice in place, and continued to build it both full-time and as a side-hustle for the last four years.  I now work as a coach, not just in my own practice, but for at least two other businesses.  This opportunity was only made possible because I was already doing the work necessary on the side – from coaching, to working with LinkedIn, to creating workshops.  This work was paid and unpaid but it was still work, and if you are preparing for or needing to create a new career I advise you to start now, even if it means it is a Side Hustle to your Job Search.

Make it Work

So here are some key ways that you can make your own experience:

  • Volunteer / Intern – Experience and work are not the same thing, that means you don’t have to get paid to get experience, you just have to produce a product or project you can show and tell others about.
  • Persistent Practice – Create tangible examples you can share that demonstrates application and experience.
  • Develop new skills – Learn and try new things apart from what you’re doing for work or during your job search, the key is to make them relevant for the job you now want.
  • Look for different jobs within the industry – Examine all the points of contact your job, department, or company has with the rest of the industry, and see if can simply change jobs within the industry so your previous experience still counts.
  • Reframe your skills – Even if you have to draw a mind-map for yourself first, illustrate how the work you want to do relates to the work you’ve already done.
  • Hustle on the side – Build the experience you need either before you leave your current job, or while you’re conducting your job search.

Pick at least one of these new ways of working and step out in it for the next three months.

How have you created your own experience?

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Cover Your Agenda: Writing an Effective Cover Letter

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

It may be that in debuting a new workshop about cover letters called Covering Your Agenda, I have noticed a lot more articles about cover letters lately, have you?  What is also surprising is how cover letters, like resumes, have changed in the last decade.  If you haven’t had to search for work in a while, or you’re not getting far in the interview process, here are some key aspects of the cover letter you may not have realized:

  • They set the stage.  They seem outdated but that is only because you didn’t realize you’re now writing it as an email.  If it’s not required – which is a test to see if you follow directions and to weed out insincere job seekers – sending one in with your resume will set you apart.
  • They greet so don’t address To Whom It May Concern because Ms. Concern doesn’t work there.  Find out who is hiring and write it to them.  This will not only also set you apart, it will ensure that someone takes responsibility for evaluating your application.
  • They’re not about you, they’re about what you can do for the person reading it, so make sure you address their questions and concerns about your fit for the role.
  • They create opportunity.  A confident letter properly addressed and ending with a call to action is more likely to earn you a phone screen or interview than anything else.

If you need a formula for writing an effective cover letter here is my suggestion:

  • Open with an attention-getting statement and introduction about who you are and what you’re applying for.
  • Outline why you believe you’re a good fit for the role.
  • Explain why you’re interested in this particular job at this particular company.
  • Thank them for the time and consideration and give a call to action that will help motivate them to call you.

This formula so will help provide some structure to all the things you want to say to your next employer, and if handled properly, you could end up with four times the amount of interview offers you got before, so what’s on your agenda?

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Strength in Struggle

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

In the school where I’m now a Career Advisor there is a 20-minute rule which indicates that a person must work for 20 minutes on a problem in which they are stuck before asking for help.  The reason is that after that time has lapsed, the chances of you seeing what has you pinned in place are diminished.  So you ask your neighbor.  If after 20 minutes you are still stuck, then you ask an instructor and they clear the path for you.  This is referred to as Strength in the Struggle.  With each problem you have a chance to solve, you become more confident, more capable, more self-sufficient.

Learn

I can appreciate this rule because that is the defining moment of my career.  I recently shared a quote from Simon Sinek that indicated those who fear change are those who have mastered what currently is.  I was that master as the Editing Coordinator of a local TV station.  The owners bought and installed new software and with that, I knew that the playing field was leveled, so I set aside time after the morning news broadcast to practice my craft using the new platform.  My defining moment came when there was something seemingly simple I wanted to do and I could not for the life of me figure how to do it.  I went to the help section.  Nothing.  I clicked a few buttons.  Nothing.  I clicked again.  Finally, on the umpteenth time of flipping through the manual, EUREKA!  I found the answer and moved on.  That was the moment when I knew that I would not be defeated.

Sure enough, come launch day I required little assistance which freed our consultant up to be with other operators.  That consultant later recommended I be a trainer and that is how I traveled the United States and Australia as a Training Specialist.

A_Monarch_Emerging_from_Cocoon_(6017672587)Change

When I first heard of Strength in Struggle it was the second time in one day that I made the reference to the story of the man who watched the writhing of a cocoon, and in compassion, ripped it open to let the butterfly out.  The short life of the butterfly was cut even shorter by this act of kindness because, as it turns out, that time writhing in the cocoon – the struggle – is what makes the wings of the butterfly strong enough to fly.  As I think back on my study of our relationship with nature I realize also that it is the pecking on the shell from the inside that both breaks the bird out and strengths its beak, and it’s the wind pushing on the tops of trees that give them their strength and, thus, their ability that stand tall.

To master this message, the keys are these:

  1. Give yourself time to figure things out.  If you are always going to others for answers, you won’t ever know how capable you are to find your own.
  2. Don’t be the martyr.  It is not the end of the world to have to ask for help, in fact, this just might be what you need to get you moving while making you that much wiser for the next challenge you face.
  3. Know what got you here.  You haven’t reached this turning point by taking the easy route.  Even if you thought you had, there have likely be challenges along the way.  If you’re the type to easily brush aside your accomplishments, take a moment to acknowledge what it took for you to get this far.

As a matter of fact, take a moment to think back over the last month, year, or five years.  What has been your struggle?  Now that you’ve named it, think of all the ways in which that struggle has made you strong.

Posted in Awareness, Change, Coaching, Creative Metaphor, Ecopsychology, Reflection, Stuck | Leave a comment

Equity

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Equity.  This word has come up for me a few times in the last several days.  Equity has been something I think about it terms of a house meaning that you have paid down your mortgage enough that at the current value of your home you have money to spare.  Now I am hearing this word in the world of work which is to say that you work and payment will be received once we get money for the project.

When I started freelancing as Totally Divine Video Editing I worked for this same promise to pay, we just didn’t call it equity.  I completed these projects and, in most cases, the filmmakers didn’t do much with the finished project because either the market changed or their life and interest changed because they connected with me so late in the game.

Apparently this is not a new term in that Seth Godin, in his startup school podcast, also notes that as the internet took shape he was hiring.  He offered everyone $80,000 or $60,000 + equity to come work with him.  Everyone, he reports, took the 80 and then later said it was unfair (ironically another work for inequitable) when he sold the company, cashing out his equity, and walked away with quite a bit of money.

Equity sounds to me a lot like Faith.  We take these projects for the experience so if they don’t pay we still get something out of it.  What, in your work life, would you or do you do for equity?  What do you get out of it?

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Reconsidering the Resume

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Resume: A Brief Account That Has Prepared Me

My focus for the last couple of months has been on the resume.  If I thought about it, it was my first love when it came to Career Coaching because it allowed me to re-frame my friend’s work experience in ways that helped her see the value.  Which is crazy that she didn’t see what I saw in her.  She transitioned from video editing in Seattle to film editing in LA all while reading books on finance.  She then turned her career into a passion for banking.  Really, her passion is doing what is right for people, and her creative expression was through banking.  It also helped that in the Pacific Northwest she could speak both Mandarin and Cantonese in addition to English.

In talking through a resume I discover both a powerful way to prepare for interviews, and an amazing way to help excavate value.  Everything we do has value because it makes us who we are today.  In life we leave nothing behind.  In our work we don’t either, we just can fit it all in one document!  If you were to go back and think through what you studied in school, and how that informs what you do now, would you think differently about that program?  What do you and don’t you give yourself credit for?

Resume: To Occupy Again

Reclaim your achievement.  Resume your position as the promising candidate, and take back the value that you have earned through the experiences you have had.  One achievement that my immediate family seems to think I don’t claim is that I have an Emmy for a program I worked on while I was in local news.  I realized that is not the case, because I can look at that gleaming statue and remember.  What I have forgotten, a skill long ago earned in a college class, is the understanding and writing of HTML.  That is something that, as I started combing through code, I realized it never dawned on me to mention while I was talking with those I met at a coding bootcamp.

If you were to look again are your resume what would you remember?  What would you reclaim?  What would you learn about who you are and where you’ve come from?

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