“Hi. My name is Ralph, and I am wondering if you are hiring.” Ralph, in spite of his weak introduction, has stumbled upon a desperate potential employer, a company looking for a sales person and lacking good candidates. Ralph is told to take a seat and the receptionist whispers into the phone, while holding back an eye-roll, that Ralph is here. The sales manager, caught in a moment of boredom, steps into the lobby, greets Ralph, and shows him in to the conference room. The sales manager says, “So, Ralph, tell me about yourself and why you want to work here.” Ralph stutters and stammers, trying to come up with something in the moment that will sound good. A few minutes later, Ralph is back on the street wondering what went wrong.
Ralph failed to plan, missing his big chance to present himself and make a good first impression. Everything that happened could have been anticipated, but Ralph failed to plan.
I am working with a client who is looking for a sales position, and part of his plan is to cold call employers in his target industry. He is going to knock on doors, make introductions and ask to meet the sales managers at these organizations. If he plans it well and executes, he just might get somewhere with this strategy. Here are a few pointers that we discussed:
- Plan and practice an introduction. He knows that he is going to have to introduce himself, so he should have a great opening ready.
- Plan and practice his presentation for the manager. If he gets lucky and meets with a sales manager or hiring authority, he should know exactly what he is going to say when given the chance. No surprises.
- Gather names and contact information. Everyone he meets is a future recipient of a thank you note, an email or some other follow up communication.
- Dress for success and have the marketing material ready. This should be obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to mention that clean, professionally printed documents carried in a portfolio will add to his image. Bring plenty.
- Follow up immediately. I hope that my client already has his thank you cards and postage stamps ready to go. Those cards should be in the mail before the end of the day.
I don’t know how this will work, but I will let you know. What I do know is that having a well-developed plan and working it will be a lot better than what Ralph did. I will let you know how it goes.