October 1st, 2010
Relative to the resume, everyone is in sales. I don’t care if you are an accountant, a warehouse supervisor, a supply chain executive or the VP of Human Resources. You are selling a product and in this instance the product is you!
One of the fundamentals in sales is that people buy benefits, not features. Give some thought to your last handful of purchases and reflect on why you actually chose one product over another. Was it really the feature that drove your purchase or was it the benefit you would experience because the particular feature enabled it? The fact is it always comes down to the benefits of a feature, not the other way around. Further, think about what motivated you to buy that product in the first place. What was the problem you were trying to get resolved? All products are designed to solve a problem, otherwise else no one would buy them!
So with this as a backdrop, take a look at your resume and think of yourself as the product. For any given employment advertisements you need to ask yourself, does my product (me) solve this employer’s problem? If so, then how do my benefits improve on other candidates (competitor for the job you are going after!) benefits? Benefits present themselves as relevant experience and performance outcomes. It is no benefit to the hiring company if you performed similar duties before but made no positive impact while you did them. It is also no benefit to the employer if you were impactful in a certain job that has nothing to do with the job the employer is looking to fill.
The hiring company already pretty much knows what they are looking for in a candidate as they endeavor to fill an open position. In today’s economy the employee’s productivity is everything. Employers are rarely looking for candidates that can do the job. Employers are always looking for candidates that already did that job. It minimizes the chance that the new employee would fail at their job and rapidly increases the time that the new hire employee becomes productive. This is why the candidate with more relative experience will be favored over one that does not.
I challenge you to take a look at your resume and consider if you are only presenting features and not nearly enough benefits. Every time you list a feature about yourself on your resume you should ask yourself, who cares? The answer to that question will more often spell the difference in your getting the job or not.
September 18th, 2010
So you just lost your job, or you are on the cusp of losing your job for one reason or another. What are your next steps? First and foremost you need to package and market yourself. Waiting for the phone to ring is a lousy strategy. Besides, how would your next employer know how to get in touch with you or how your skills might be relevant to their open position?
- Update your resume. (See past posts) Go through all your personal and professional contacts and let them know your availability. Be advised – this is not the time to be prideful or play coy or hard to get. The goal is to discover situations you may be able to plug into. By playing hard to get or coy your recipient may think you don’t really need the work and respond to you accordingly…with nothing!
- Reach out to recruiters directly and let them know what your situation is. Remember they are not your agent. They get paid by the hiring company. So put your pride away and don’t play coy or hard to get with them either. Else it is a promise you will be more than ignored, you will be avoided as being too difficult to work with.
- Much more – but this is a good place to get started. Look for future posts on this topic!
What about Job Boards?
The following are some job boards I have worked with in the past to find candidates for my healthcare niche. There are at least a few listed I would advise you consider plugging into. Examine each one before you do to see if it is a good fit for you. I could write a book on reasons to avoid these boards. Thing is I could write another book on why it is good to plug into them. Long story short, it is better to be connected than otherwise, just be selective.
As indicated earlier. These sites are a help but only a help. Connecting with these sites is only one step and one connection in the process. There are many more things you need to do to get proactive in your job search. For now, this is a great place to start and get you set up with a new foundation. In future posts we will talk about how to build on your foundation.
August 22nd, 2010
In the healthcare market segment the Information Technology Department (IT) is responsible for management and support of the technology architecture, hardware, software, and the respective resources throughout the hospital. IT is inherently a service oriented department with a fixed operating budget. IT is more often than not viewed as a cost center in the hospital that is uniquely oriented to help the hospital become more efficient in the way they manage the care process.
With the increase in deployment of the EMR (Electronic Medical Record) across the country and across the globe, in today’s hospital, most all paths for the technology vendors lead to the IT department for some level of decision making approval. This has given the IT department a growing level of budget dollars and decision making influence over most other levels of the hospital.
It is because of the IT department’s growing influence within a hospital system that most all of the clinical departments (Pharmacy, Radiology, Surgery, Critical Care, etc) that were more often seen and treated as silos in the past are now being forced to work with each other and with IT for improved quality outcomes and economic purposes.
For the manufactures that have up to now only been calling on their respective specialty, this means IT will need to become a regular part of the salesman’s call routine when selling the their product. The persons within the IT department that the salesperson will focus on include the following:
- CIO/CTO/Director IT
- Network administrator
- CIS (Clinical Information Specialist)
- Hardware and software managers
Like most departments there is a hierarchy that will need to be followed. The buck stops at the CIO’s desk but this person will usually have the salesperson work with one of his or her IT managers until they are closer to some sort of decision.
July 19th, 2010
Early on in my sales career I was mentored by a guy named Jack Richards. Jack was an exceptional salesman who grew into an exceptional CEO and entrepreneur. By just about every measure Jack was an extraordinary businessman. To his fault he was very hard on his body in the process. He easily smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day. Rarely slept more than four hours a night and often went days without sleep at all. Even into his late 60’s Jack worked a minimum of 70 hours the week. Some of you know this type of person. No one could out work and outperform Jack. He was a machine.
Not a chance I wanted to model completely his work life but the business and sales wisdom he had earned over the course of his life was to me without equal. Jack taught me the art of selling, the value in hard work and the importance of focusing on a goal. I was fortunate to have Jack teach me how to be a great salesman, how to be a good listener, how to sell benefits and not only features, how to close a sale, how to read people in the sales process, how to Etc. Etc. Jack made a difference.
Mentors can make a big difference
Looking back on my career I realize I was better at selling than most in my sales career because of Jack’s investment in me. His investment in me was undeserved on my part and was very much appreciated. I have also been blessed by having other accomplished people in my life that also stopped to take the time to invest something of themselves into me. Some of them I will share something about in future posts.
How about you?
I am wondering about you and would enjoy hearing your story. Who made those investments in your career that really made a difference for you?
June 25th, 2010
For the salesperson selling their product into the IT department or into a different hospital department that requires IT approval, the following questions will need to be addressed early and often when communicating with IT. To the degree the salesperson is able to successfully answer these questions means all the difference in garnering IT support in purchasing your product.
- Why are you calling on me?
- What is the problem I am having that your product is designed to resolve?
- Why is my current solution insufficient to resolve this problem?
- Will our Nurses/clinicians demand and use of this product?
- Does it conform to my current standardized technology (Dell, HP, Wyse, etc) platform?
- Can I substitute different technology (computer/radio/display, etc) platforms to fit my standardization needs?
- How expensive is it?
- Safety ratings? (Example: UL-60601.1)
- Who else is using this product?
- Who do I call in case something fails and how long before I can expect resolution?
- How easy is it to get access to the parts on the product or code within the product so that I can provide my own fix with one of our staff?
- Can I have a demo unit do some internal testing?
The best way to reach IT decision makers includes the following:
- Daily sales activity. IT will now become part of the salesman’s call routine when visiting their hospital customers.
- Healthcare IT shows (HIMSS and healthcare software user conferences)
- Booth design is important for best first impression.
- Marketing PR, calls to action, email and snail mail pushes.
Calling on the IT department will be new and in the early stages it will be a little frightening. But as it is for all things new, all journeys begin with the first step. After those first couple steps it won’t be new anymore and everything else will be swimming in sales upside!
May 17th, 2010
Drive it home, face-to-face
With few exceptions, a resignation should be done face-to-face. It is your responsibility to request a meeting and to set the agenda. If the employer asks for a reason for the meeting, your response will simply be, “It is a matter of personal concern that needs to addressed confidentially.” Start the meeting by handing the prepared resignation letter to the employer, followed by this verbiage: “I have made a commitment to join another organization and will begin working with them in two weeks. Please accept this letter of resignation. Please take a minute to read my letter before we discuss how we can make this a smooth transition.”
If the employer attempts to dodge this request or begins asking questions about your leaving, it is because they are going through some predicable phases of denial and taking the initial steps to
establish a power play. They already know what the letter says and if they are attempting this ploy, it should confirm that your resigning is the right decision.
Stick to your agenda and fend off such questions with, “I know you may be curious about where I am going and why, but it is not my intention to discuss that with you today. My decision has been made. If it is truly important for you to know where I am going and why, let’s talk about it when it is not an emotional issue for either of us a month from now. Today, my goal remains to discuss how to make the transition as smooth as possible.”
This is not some sudden interest in advancing your career as they will often have it appear. It is a common stalling tactic for them to figure out how to cover their backside with this new problem that has just landed on their desk. At the conclusion of this meeting make certain that copies of resignation letter have distributed to those in the company’s hierarchy and HR.
May 17th, 2010
Two Biggest Mistakes
The two biggest and easiest mistakes to make verbally or in writing are saying “I’m sorry for leaving” or “Thank you for the opportunity to work here.” You do not need to say you’re sorry for leaving when your current employer couldn’t do what was necessary to keep you in their employ. They, in fact, should be saying that they are sorry to you for not doing what may have been necessary to key you as a key employee. Likewise, they should be thanking you for your good work and contributions.
Please accept this letter as my official notice of resignation. I appreciate the work we have been able to accomplish together at (Company), but I have now made a commitment to another organization and will begin working with them in two weeks.
Know that it is my intention to work diligently with you to wrap up as much as possible in the remaining time that I am here to make my resignation as smooth as possible. If you have any suggestions on how we can best accomplish that goal, I hope that you will share them with me. I am eager to leave on the most positive note possible.
May 17th, 2010
There are volumes of data and research on the pitfalls of accepting a counteroffer. For the purposes of this resignation exercise, if the desire is to evade a counteroffer, take the preventive measures in advance of telling at least two fellow employees that you are resigning. If there is the slightest chance that your employer will make a counteroffer, you will hear the words, “Have you told anyone else that you’re leaving?” If you were to answer no, your employer’s response will be to request a few days for management deal with the issue of your leaving before you make it public. If you indicate that you have informed others, you will remove any negotiating leverage that your employer may have been grasping for. If they present you with a counteroffer, they know there will be a line of resignations at their office door the next day, all seeking counteroffers.
May 14th, 2010
These post are to help companies searching for top level talent.
May 14th, 2010
These blog posts will be useful tips and pointers for Executive level job seekers.