Talent VS Vendors

Seth Godin reminds us this morning that not all sellers are created equal. His article really stands out to me because so many of us are in the “talent” or “artist” category. We aren’t in the game just to sell. We’re not motivated purely by money. When we’re working with someone, and they upset us, we react strongly. I don’t care how much you’re paying me: if you deeply upset me, my commitment and interest level in helping you is going to drop off sharply just like he says.

Of course, that’s hard to do. I don’t get miffed at the drop of a hat. I want to work things out. However, I can remember a couple of occasions where a client did something terribly wrong–and I simply didn’t want to help them anymore. It may not be politically correct to say, but “talent” almost always remains aware that it has the power to choose whether to do the work or not! We have that power. We can keep our dignity in uncomfortable situations.

Do you remember a time when a customer did something that really upset you, and you responded by saying, “Fine, I’m taking my talent away from you”?

Keep this division of sellers, talent versus vendors, in mind when you use the services of other people. If the talent likes you, their effort on your behalf is going to be much greater.



It’s been awhile since my last update, and that’s because I’ve been working like crazy. A recycling yard’s processes needed to be cleaned up, and a used auto parts business was looking for an operations manual to follow while setting things up. But I’m back with a link to share: recareered.com

Recareered.com is the most interesting job search help site I’ve seen in a long time. Years of advice logged there, plenty of job hunting topics detailed, even some funny stuff to keep your spirits up (oh, we know how important that is!). Even free webinars are available. If you simply hover your mouse over the dark gray headers at the top, lists of topics will drop down and you can pick the specific topic you’d like more info on.

I’m plugging away at a little google-based writer website for myself…when it’s done, I’ll let you know and you can all tell me what you think. In the meantime, if you think I could help you with your resume, interviewing skills or job search in general, drop me a line!


How to Find Unadvertised Jobs In The Hidden Job Market

Some background here…in November 2009 I moved from Canada to the US. I came from a sales & operations management background. The immigration process blocked me from working until mid-August 2010, and I still needed to make money to survive. So you can bet that upon receiving permission to work in the US, I immediately needed to find a job.

Part of what I did in Vancouver was help people get better jobs by helping them write awesomely effective resumes, and getting their heads straight about how to think successfully during their job  earch.

While I was doing this, I stumbled across internet marketing.  That made me think! I could distill all of the past dozen years of cold calling, sales & business development experience into products that would help other people grow their businesses and make more money. Now I continue to enjoy helping people find jobs they’re a great fit with, so my eyes are always open for new tips and methods.


I don’t usually do this, but Jim Stroud’s content was so good that I had to share it with you. His video on how to find jobs that aren’t advertised is a detailed guide on:

  • how employers are searching for resumes online today
  • how you can take advantage of that
  • how to use google to automate your searching across different job boards
  • how to anticipate that a company is going to be hiring, and network your way in to create the job description
  • how to develop yourself as a subject authority online without needing your own blog, and create full or part time work that way.

The big deal here is not only are you finding and creating roles that others aren’t applying in huge crowds for, but you’re also not tying up hours and hours every day in your job search. By learning a little about google, and automating your search, you can have it do the work and send only the ‘best fit’ opportunities to your email inbox every day. I like that!!

I learned lots of new-to-me things, especially on the google side, and would like to share them with you. Jim has more to offer in other videos, so check them out. Remember, finding work is a full time job in of itself! If you’re simply looking in the newspaper for jobs, you’re competing with too many other people, and missing out on the vast majority of opportunities out there. You must step out of your comfort zone to succeed! That hidden job market is a real thing. Yes, this is a half-hour video, but if you’re not interested in spending the time to educate yourself to be more effective and how to find unadvertised jobs, do you really deserve to get handed that great job?


Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


My Job Search Process, Part Three: Don’t Settle

As we started talking about in the post titled “How to Find Unadvertised Jobs In The Hidden Job Market“, I wasn’t allowed to work during the immigration period when I moved to the US. That was almost a year, and when I finally was allowed to work, I needed a job. This is part of the story of how to find work you enjoy.

Most people seem to think of their job hunt as an attempt to minimize the gap in their income stream. This is wrong. Even if the work you’re looking for is at a lower level, if you ever want to improve you have to make your choices more carefully. If you’re working on your career, this applies even more strongly. To clarify: money now is not as important as your work happiness now and in the long run. This is one of three components in a successful and effective job search process.

Let’s take an example. My last job search in Vancouver was pretty quick: in a few weeks I had two offers:

Production Manager at a large steel fabrication plant, where they cut custom profiles for new construction. These are things that help hold the building up. Previously I’d managed the cutting of plate up to 1” thick at a smaller facility; here, it would be up to a foot thick. Very, very high salary.

Business Development Manager for a full-service boutique IT firm. Managed services, custom database projects, network security hardware. These are the nuts and bolts of computer operations. I had no experience in the IT field. Salary: half of the other offer, plus 10% of sales.

It would be easy—and many of you would have, I’m sure—to leap for the big, certain dollars and pick the first role. Let’s consider my choice a little more deeply:

First role—stay in production/operations management, a field I’m trained in but do not love, deepen my experience with plate cutting, scheduling, inventory management and people management. Tough boss with a chip on his shoulder. Work in an industry that hasn’t done anything new in a long time.

Second role—expand my range of knowledge and fields to work in, learn new technical information in a growing industry that changes all the time. Nice boss, good ‘culture’ fit. Work in sales & marketing, a field I do love, and improve my skills in that area.

My decision was easy because I did not settle for more money today at a job I wouldn’t be happy at. Nor would the first role have taken my career in a direction I wanted to go. It would not have made me more appealing to future employers in the business development field.

Let’s look at a more recent case. I did not have any existing offers, and got a call from a recruiter in a city a couple of hours away. They were interested in me for a client’s software sales role that paid on target $60 – $90K. Moving for the right position would not be a problem. After the phone interview, the recruiter was going to set up another call, this time with the hiring manager at the business. Overnight, I thought it over, and in the morning I cancelled.

Why did I do that? During my questioning of the recruiter, I discovered that the role was in a culture of what in the DISC profile is High I’s, meaning the talkative, spinny, creative types, and would be 8 hours a day of cold calling. I don’t mind prospecting, but I do not believe it is possible to effectively and capably call all day long. After three days of it I would be miserable. The role didn’t have enough range of duties to match my interests, nor would it have helped my career. Also, I’m a C, a completely different behavioral type. It wasn’t a fit. So rather than waste my time, the employer’s time and the recruiter’s time, I chose not to settle.

I hope these examples give you the idea of how to start going about thinking when it comes to job offers. Don’t take a thing just because it’s offered to you: human nature makes us want to, whether it’s a handshake or a hand grenade. Be careful about what you select to get involved with, because it shapes your experience, and the perception of employers down the road. Make sure you’ll be happy with the work you do. Don’t settle.

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


My Job Search Process, Part Two: Fight Fear

Continuing from Part One, I’m describing my process for finding work you enjoy. I’m going through it because after almost a year of not being allowed to work waiting in the US Immigration process, I needed a job. You can learn from my expertise on how to keep your mind straight and stay focused.

I’ve gone into this a bit before, here and here. By knowing what you want, and sticking to it at all costs, you will feel more confident. Fighting fear and panic is difficult, I know. However, I have found out time and again that by sticking to your guns, the role you want will eventually come around to you.

I remember driving from the shop to a jobsite with the owner of a metal fabrication shop that I did a lot of work for in the middle of the last decade. We were stressed about meeting our obligations, and getting projects completed on time and to the quality level we and our customers expected. Suddenly, we passed a group of mentally and physically disabled people being taken out for a walk, in their wheelchairs and gurneys, by their aides. The owner turned to me and with a 180-degree change of attitude said, “We don’t have any problems.”

It’s stuck with me over the years. We have the power to choose. We have the ability to try something different tomorrow to get what we want. We can keep fighting. You can, too.

You will draw employers to you with the attitude of “I’m financially independent, and don’t need the job.”

Also, by being clear about what you want and how you provide value, you will be sure of yourself.

Grasping, begging, trying to fit into the mold of what you think this employer wants…these are things that will ‘turn off’ interviewers. They will be polite, tell you nice things, and never call you again. By being centered, patient and certain, you will cause employers to move towards you. After all, when something is scarce, we want it! When you give off signals that say to interviewers “I don’t need this particular gig—I’m going to find one I’m happy at eventually,” they say to themselves, “Uh oh, I’d better get this person on board with me before they go to my competition. There’s something about them that I like.”

Now what about the case where there aren’t any jobs in your town like the one you want? Well, now you have a choice to make. First of all, either it’s true that there are few, or it’s not. Investigate. Ask everyone you know if they know of roles similar to what you want. Keep asking. I’m pretty sure you haven’t looked under every stone.

Second, check for positions which have tasks like those you want to do, and also some others—can you be happy doing what you want 70% of the time, and other things the rest, in order to make a living and advance your career?

Third, you may have to look at moving.

Fourth, how about offering the skill set you want to use in a contractor role?

Fighting fear and panic during your job search can be the most difficult phase. However, if you’re clear about what you want and have to offer, and project the attitude that you don’t need the job (while still loving to do the tasks), you can remain calm and centered. Remember, you only need to defeat fear and be brave one day at a time…perhaps even only a few minutes at a time.

Coming up next, Leg Three: Don’t Settle.

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment?  Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


My Job Search Process, Part One: Stand Out

As I started talking about in Back to the Jobhunt, I was finally allowed to work in the US after almost a year of waiting through Immigration. I needed a job, and one I enjoyed–and I’m describing the How To of that process so you can follow it.

Leg 1 of our job search model is “Stand Out.” We want to stand out in order to get the attention of employers, so that they will talk with us. No dialogue = no job offer. We want to stand out also because of our clarity in what we have to offer, and what we want to do. Well-presented specifics result in interviews and offers. Time and again I’ve seen them overcome deficits in experience or skills of the candidate compared to the job description.

Now let me advise you that, on the resume side, my system works best for people applying to small and medium sized businesses. If you’re applying to an institution or large firm like GE, then you’ll have to do something different: load your resume with key words their HR optical scanners are looking for. In my approach, we are trying to get the attention of hiring employers who are actually picking up and looking at hardcopies of resumes.

A word about the difference between hiring managers and human resources: hiring managers are hoping to be wowed; human resources/recruiters are hoping to safely match up experience and skills with job description bullet points. As you’ve probably figured out, I like the former and dislike the latter. In the interview stage, however, what I have to say applies in both situations.

So how exactly do we stand out? First, we must be clear with ourselves about what the role is that we want. Linked to the second leg of the stool, we must stand by that—not give up when things look tough and fall back on something else. I’ve been there, when it looks like you’re never going to find a good match in your field, and you just want to give up and go back to something else. Say you’re just not finding a technical sales role that meets your needs, and so in your fear you’re thinking Why not go back to a factory production role? No! In my experience, if you stick it out just a little longer, the thing you want will come along.

Some tips to Stand Out:

  • In the top third of the first page of your resume, you must clearly and concisely explain to potential employers what you want to do and how you provide value. You can do this in point form, or paragraph form. If you want to ‘hit the highlights,’ use point form. If you want to ‘set the mood’ of what you can do, use paragraph form.
  • Each and every claim you make on your resume must be backed up by numbers or other facts. If you accomplished something but don’t have a record or copy of it, be prepared to get a reference for it. Sometimes, I realize, this just isn’t possible; however, know that they will ask you about the thing you have the weakest support for (it’s Murphy’s Law), and you had better have a plan for dealing with that question.
  • Your resume’s job is to paint a mental picture of what you have and can accomplish for employers, so that they will get excited enough to want to meet you.
  • Do not merely reiterate job descriptions. Show results.

Up next: Leg Two of the metaphorical stool representing my job search model—Fight Fear!

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


Back to the Jobhunt

Like we began talking about in the post How to Find Unadvertised Jobs In The Hidden Job Market, I moved to the US in 2009 and wasn’t allowed to work during the Immigration process. That was the better part of a year. When I was finally allowed to work, I needed a job. So I’ve recorded the process of how I do this successfully and find work I’ll enjoy–so that you can, too.

Let’s get back on the topic of job hunting for a moment. Those of you who’ve read my earlier job search posts know I stress the following:

  1. Standing out to employers by being clear about who you are and what you want to do for them
  2. Fighting fear and panic
  3. Not settling for less than what you deserve.

Those are the “three legs of the stool” in my job hunting model. But why these three concepts?

This combination is what is required in order for you to end up happy. That’s your ultimate goal here: to find a role in which your skills, experience, temperament and desires match up, and you get paid what you’re worth in order to do it.

Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately for you, most people duck out of the process at the first available opportunity—settling for a position that isn’t the right fit, doesn’t match their personality, and/or lacks the remuneration that’s fair trade for the expertise brought to the table.

So you see it’s a three-step process. If you drop out in step 2 or 3, your stool will tip over and you’ll fall to the floor. You’ll end up unhappy.

I’d like to review the steps with you in a little more detail. This will also take care of some questions I’m sure many of you are screaming at the monitor, such as, ”Jason, what the heck about the lousy economy, and there not being many jobs available at all? Shouldn’t I just take what I can get?”

Yes, you should—if that will make you happy. If not, come with me. I’ll detail the three legs of the stool for the Kanigan job search happiness model for you in the next few posts.

Seeking killer job hunting tips for a really low investment? Check out my ebook, “Get Hired FAST!


“Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti”

My wife turned on Christian radio this morning while we were driving my younger sisters-in-law to school. I cringed, expecting “Come To The Lord, Hallelujah, Amen!”–but we got something totally different.

As a sales trainer, I’m always on the lookout for new-to-me perspectives on communication, relationships and understanding others. This morning we were lucky enough to hear the authors of Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, discussing how the hard-wiring of the male and female brains can make communication so difficult. In short, men compartmentalize different things (like squares in the waffle), and women consider them all to be connected (like noodles touching and winding over one another). This comes up in how conversations go (men: to the point, solve the problem / women: move quickly from subject to connected subject, don’t need to resolve anything necessarily), and the contrast can drive the other sex nuts.

Thinking what they had to say over as I drove, I discovered a common source of annoyance: I’ll be bustling in my “work box”, and my wife will bounce over and start “downloading” about a whole bunch of things, jumping from one topic to the next because in her mind they’re all connected. Because there’s no introduction so I can shift gears and move to the “listening box”, I’m neither prepared for this or considering the topics she’s talking about as a whole. Result: frustration on both sides. Now that we know what’s going on, we can do something about it.

The authors have a radio spot with content you can listen to online now, and the book is available in the “family store” part of their site or on amazon.


Can Your Prospect Pay: The Budget Problem In Sales

How many times has this happened to you: you’re talking to a prospect, they’re interested in what you have to offer, you think there could be a good fit here…and then it happens. They ask about price, you give them a rate or a figure or a range…and woah. Hit the brakes. “Oh no, I can’t afford that.” It’s over.

Why does this keep happening? You put in effort, find pain and uncover reasons for them to do business with you, show them what you can do—and then the opportunity evaporates in an instant.

The problem here is one of sales process. If you find yourself disappointed again and again by prospects who are eager to hear what you can do for them, but at that critical moment announce they do not have the means to pay for it, let me suggest that your process steps are out of order. You’ve brought forward your solution too soon. You’ve invested too much energy on this prospect without first finding out their budget.

This common circumstance occurs typically because of two reasons. First, the sales person does not have a formal selling process, and therefore does not have steps or stages in any particular order. Having such a selling process would reduce stress on themselves and systematically increase the odds of a successful outcome. Second, the sales person has been taught (often early in life, perhaps by a parent) that bringing up the subject of money is impolite. While perhaps well-intentioned, this taught premise is a bad one for success in sales.

The budget question has to be raised with the prospect before demonstration of any possible solution. Uncovering the prospect’s budget is not impolite: it is a necessary and important component of the qualification process. Imagine someone walking into an automobile dealership and saying to the first sales person he sees, “I want to buy a car.” Are you already starting to see the problem here? The price of cars ranges considerably. A consultative sales professional can doctor for pain, find out underlying issues, prescribe a solution—and totally miss the prospect’s budget. “Yes, Mister Prospect, I have a lovely Lamborghini that will give you that feeling of youth, vitality and power that you’ve been craving!” “Amazing! That sounds fantastic!” “It’s only $455,000.” “…Uhh…gee. There’s no way I can afford that.”

Prior to working on solutions, bring up the budget question. If you’re nervous or uncomfortable about discussing money, do it like this: at the start of your conversation, say, “Misses Prospect, I have a minor problem I’m hoping you can help me with. You see, I always get a little uncomfortable when it comes time to talk about money. When we get to that point, will you help me? I want to make sure that, if it turns out that I do have a solution to offer you, we’re on the same page with what you can afford. I’d hate to talk with you about something inadequate or too much for your budget. When we get to that point, can you help me talk with you about that?” The prospect will almost always move to rescue you, and say of course. Naturally, if you’re comfortable with the subject of money, you don’t have to do this—just bring the topic up at the right time. And when is that time?

Let’s say you have been doctoring for pain, have some, and are thinking about possible ways you can help the prospect. You have a small, medium and large model for handling the prospect’s problem, with respective prices. Now, before investing the energy in demonstrating the potential solution(s), you can gently bring up the budget question. “Mister Prospect…I don’t suppose you’ve set aside any kind of budget for solving this issue, have you?”

Or: “Miss Prospect, I think I have something for you. However, we offer a range of potential solutions. I’m not sure which one is right for you…I have an idea, though. Would it be okay if I shared with you the investment range of each solution, and you can let me know which you’re most comfortable with?”

If you’re a more direct person, you could even say something like, “John, I have to be frank with you. These items aren’t cheap. Before I explain to you how they’ll solve your problem, could I go ahead and share the rate with you and you can let me know if that works for you?”

Remember, uncovering the budget is nothing more than another solid step in the qualification process. You want to know whether or not the prospect can afford your product or service. If they can’t, why would you want to waste your time?

Now, I’m not suggesting that you be a jerk and roughly steer those who cannot afford your help out the door. While consultative selling professionals do not give out free information as unpaid consulting, in many cases it can be a very good thing to educate people who don’t have it in their budget to retain your services. People tell other people—a few people, it’s true, but they do tell some—about positive experiences. This can directly and swiftly lead to qualified referrals. I’ve recently seen this happen in the field of wedding videography. Prospect A discovers Superstar Videographer’s rates are way out of their league, but because he bothered to spend the time educating them nicely, they quickly referred other people to him—and those new prospects could afford his time. What’s important to keep in mind here, however, is that Superstar Videographer rapidly qualified Prospect A out, and while he did help them, he didn’t get himself all worked up about offering a beautiful and expensive potential solution, investing that time and energy, getting his hopes for a project up, and becoming extremely disappointed when it turned out (as it would have) at the last minute that they couldn’t afford his services.

The time to uncover the prospect’s budget and ability to pay you is after you’ve doctored for pain, and before you show them any kind of solution.

Jason Kanigan, EzineArticles.com Basic Author


The Missing Step In The Salesperson Hiring Process

Most people who conduct interviews figure they’re a pretty good judge of character. Many have, unprompted, shared this opinion with me. Then there’s that old Human Resources notion: past performance determines future potential. Combine these two ideas and you have the foundation of most businesses’ hiring practices.

Problem? Both premises are bad.

The stats have long shown that the majority of people hire because they form a split-second liking for a candidate. The resume got the candidate the interview, but the hiring decision was made because of emotion.

Bringing the wrong candidate on board costs more than rehiring. Employers frequently and unknowingly lead candidates into looking and sounding like a good fit with leading questions (“Tell me about a time when you…”, and of course they do! Great story: you’re starting to like this person already!). So the truth is that most hiring managers are not a good judge of best fit.

Now the second premise: past performance determines future potential. Really? What if the candidate was stuck in a poor situation, with no coaching, bad management and an unsupportive or nonexistent sales process? I have met with insurance salespeople who, thanks to Do Not Call legislation, were forced to prospect by calling receptionists of businesses! Are you going to tell me that doesn’t suck? That failure to perform in that situation means this person can’t sell??

I hope you’re with me now, in the contemplation that perhaps resume and interview are an incomplete set of steps in finding the best fit for hiring salespeople. Resume screening seems to eliminate candidates who shouldn’t be in consideration; interviews can elicit deeper answers to specific questions and demonstrate how candidates will react to certain stimuli. What, then, remains? How are we to determine best fit?

A third step, one between resume and interview, can be taken. This is the Assessment step, where the candidate is asked to complete a questionnaire. Depending on the structure of the test, and the quality of the questions, a great deal of information can be uncovered. First, the three most important questions to answer are:

  • Is this person trainable?
  • Is this person coachable?
  • Will this person actually sell?

Yes, assessments do exist that provide reliable answers to these questions. Good assessments will also uncover data such as:

  • The buying cycle preference of the candidate – if the items to be sold are high-value, with a short cycle, and the individual has a long buying process in which he checks out all the particulars of many vendors, it’s not going to be a fit
  • Is this candidate a hunter (goes after new business) or a farmer (manages an existing set of accounts and gradually expands the business you do with them)
  • The stress level the candidate can handle, ranging from entry level up to top executive.

If an individual is a good farmer but a lousy hunter, and your role calls for a hunter, would this knowledge affect your decision? An effective assessment will tell you whether or not the candidate has the experience, skills and supportive beliefs to match your position. Are these factors things you would like to know before you choose to schedule an interview?

Assessment results also change over time. An individual may learn new skills, get different experience. Their belief system may erode or strengthen. Think of an assessment result as a sort of balance sheet for the candidate: how they are at this moment in time. Again, wouldn’t it be good to have an indication that, while a candidate has performed well in the past, the assessment shows that their belief system is in turmoil at the moment? Wouldn’t that lead you to asking some uncovering questions in the interview?

Resume, assessment and interview. These are the three steps of an effective hiring process. If you’d like more information on how assessments can dramatically improve the quality of your salesperson hiring process, send me a note.

Jason Kanigan, EzineArticles.com Basic Author