Learn how to sell

One of the most important skills I learnt from an early age is how to sell. Whether you like it or not, we are all constantly selling. You may think ‘but I don’t work in sales so I have no need to learn how to sell’ well the truth of the matter is, every time we meet someone new, go for a job interview or try to convince a friend to do us a favour, we are selling! The most important thing for you to know, is how to sell YOURSELF! For example, when you go for a job interview, you have to sell yourself based on your skills, experience and your personality. Whereas the interviewee has to buy into those things for you to be a successful candidate. The interviewee will also be selling you the job and themselves too. They may say things like ‘we’re looking for someone that we can develop, as we like to promote from within’ or ask questions like ‘where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?’ These are statements and questions that will give the interviewee an idea of where your mindset is and if you will fit in with their plans and goals. It also gives you a chance to actually see what the job will be like, if there’s opportunities to progress and if it fits in with what you want for your career.

When I was selling charities door to door in Australia, we’d take the person on their interview out for a full day. The main reason for that is so they could see for themselves what the job entailed. Another reason is because if that person lasted the full day, got offered a role and then accepted it, they will automatically fall under my leadership and it will be my job to teach and train them to get them to a level where they can do what I was doing. It was important for me to get an idea of who the person I’d be training is, what motivated them and to make a judgement on whether that person really had what it takes to do what we did – not everyone will be willing or will have the mental capacity to knock on doors 8hrs a day, to speak to at least 100 people with 95% of them saying no!

I used something called FORM to get an idea of the interviewee;

F – Family. Do they have family? How close are they? How many brothers and sisters do they have? Do they have kids? If not, do they want kids?

I always found that people like to talk about their family and it’s a easy way to break the ice especially when you start going from door to door. You could gauge how much of an influence their family has on them, if at all.

O – Occupation. Are they currently working? What jobs have they had before? Why are they looking for a sales and marketing role? Have they sold anything face to face before? Where do they see themselves in 5years?

Again, these questions will normally give me an idea of how much sales experience they have. Whether this is completely new to them or whether I can relate something from one of their old job to this one. The where do you see yourself in 5 years question was a great one because more often than not, people don’t normally think that far ahead. So you can see how ambitious someone when they answer it.

R– recreation. What are their hobbies? What do they do for fun? What do they like to do with their weekends? Are they a thrill seeker or would they rather read a book?

I normally ask these questions to find a bit of common ground. They would normally say something that I would also be interested in so It would be a lot easier to make that connection, and it also gave me plenty of topics to talk about or refer to as the day went on. If they did mention something I had no idea about then that’s great too because that’s gives them the opportunity to talk about their interests and for me to learn something new.

M – Motivation. What motivates them? What are their goals and dreams? Who are their idols? Is there any celebrity they’ll like to model themselves after?

I liked as these sorts of questions the most because you got to see what motivated them, who they wanted to be like and if they eventually got the job, I’ll be able to use what they told me to help motivate them on the inevitable tougher days.

I’ve used FORM in both my professional and personal life and the key is to use it on yourself too. I would talk about my family, occupation, recreation and motivation. They would tell me something about their family and I’ll do the same. They will tell me what motivates them and I’ll tell them what motivated me. It was really important for me to do that so the whole day doesn’t feel like an interrogation. It also let the interviewee get to know me a little more and hopefully would want to work with me too, which was normally always the case. From what I know, I never had someone leave the interview because they didn’t like me. It was always because they couldn’t see themselves knocking on doors or they didn’t like the 100% commission pay structure.

I recommend for you to go out and try FORM yourself. It will really make a difference to every area of your life. You’ll be able to find common ground with people a lot easier and you’ll be able to show that your interested in getting to know someone. Just don’t forget that it’s a two way street and you can’t just bombarded people with questions – you also have to be open and talk about yourself a little bit too.


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