Can. You. Hear. Me?


A sales manager’s worst nightmare is a sales representative who doesn’t know when to talk, when to listen and when to ask for the order.

One of the first lessons IBM taught us about professional selling is that if you ask your prospect the right questions, he or she will tell you everything you need to know to close the order. They taught us that we were meant to listen twice as much as we talk: two ears, one mouth.

Of course, we had to know everything there was to know about our product offerings. But we also had to know everything there was to know about our prospect’s needs and wants. That’s why we had industry specialists. The more we learned about our prospect and the challenges he or she faced day in and day out, the easier it was to align our presentations and proposals with those needs and wants. And for them to sign on the dotted line when we asked for the order.

We weren’t selling products: we were selling solutions. So are you.

One of the biggest knocks against systems analysts was and still is that they believe they understand their customer’s business, processes and pressures better than the customer does. Something else IBM taught: there’s never enough time to do the job right, but always enough time to do the job over.

Except in interview situations.

Research is the equivalent of a sales rep’s questioning and a systems analyst’s analyzing. The customer isn’t interested in what someone thinks he or she wants: what matters is how well that sales rep or that analyst knows what he or she wants.

Assembling a résumé that extols the virtues of the candidate when it should be talking to the needs of the employer is tantamount to talking too much and listening too little. The proof of that is in the 90% résumé rejection rate, and a rejection rate needle that stubbornly refuses to budge.

As someone looking to promote yourself, your job is to be among the 10% of prospective candidates whose résumés are not rejected. That takes time and thought and preparation and understanding. How many times have you asked a prospective employer why he or she selected you to be interviewed? Or where the company’s going? Or how long the position you’re applying for has been vacant? Do you ask any questions at all?

PDD doesn’t want candidates to be their own worst enemy. The economy is bad and there’s more than enough competition as it is. To quote someone very wise, “We don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Personal due diligence is doing what you have to do so that you never hear a prospective employer ask: Can. You. Hear. Me? If you recognize your approach to finding a customer who’ll buy what you have to sell in any of what you just read and it isn’t working, call us or drop us a line.

PDD has knowledge and practical experience we’d like to put to work for you.

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