A glut of qualified candidates and tight hiring budgets can make it difficult to find job leads in sales. But before you throw in the towel, there may still be a few places you haven’t looked for your next great sales gig.
Sales drive business revenues. Although that sounds like good news for jobseekers eager to help transform corporate America’s bottom line, the economic downturn has caused many employees to rethink their sales hiring plans. From retail clerks to corporate sales execs, everyone is feeling the pinch as the struggle to land a solid sales job has reached a fever pitch.
Businesses are always interested in hiring good salespeople. But in a tough economy, they are only interested in hiring the cream of the crop – proven sales professionals who can deliver bottom line results. Consequently, networking can be the most reliable way to access the best positions, especially if the employer is resistant to hiring outside the industry.
Yet despite a challenging job market, the one thing you have working in your favor is that you’re a professional salesperson. If anyone can sell himself to a prospective employer – it’s you. With that in mind, here are a few techniques to help you identify career opportunities in sales.
- Cultivate Leads. In a lot of ways, a job search is similar to a sales cycle. In order to land a new job, you first need to invest time and energy in lead cultivation. With prepared materials (i.e. resumes, etc.) at the ready, get out there and start beating the bushes, leveraging both your contacts and your contacts’ contacts to uncover available positions with targeted employers.
- Make Cold Calls. Cold calling for job leads is a gutsy move. But if you’re experienced in sales, you know that being in the right place at the right time is half the battle. In a worse case scenario, you’ll generate new contacts that can be cultivated to deliver leads when positions arise. And who knows? If the gods are smiling on you, you just might get lucky.
- Create Allies. Lone rangers never get very far – in sales or job searches. Create a handful of allies – key references who are willing to vouch for your effectiveness as a sales person. When you hear that an employer may be hiring sales personnel, ask an ally to contact the hiring manager and encourage them to consider you for the position. If the ally is convincing, you could find yourself being hunted by the hiring manager rather than struggling to get noticed.
- Track Leads & Contacts. Successful sales teams use Customer Relationship Management solutions and other tools to track, cultivate and close sales leads. Why not create a CRM-type spreadsheet to track and monitor hiring leads? By systematically tracking your contacts, you can create reminders to circle back with hiring managers and job search allies, increasing the likelihood that you will be informed about new positions as they become available.