Thanks to a tough economy, the past couple years have been difficult for many of us. This month I share the story of my friend Mike, who used the lessons of sales culture and the power of networking to triumph over the adversity of a job loss. I hope his story is a source of encouragement to those of you who are also facing your own career challenges.
I’ve known Mike for 28 years – we met in college and have been buds ever since. Mike is a great sales professional and sometimes he doesn’t even know it. Mike is also an inspiration to me and should be to all salespeople. He has learned to successfully sell his most precious asset – himself. Mike lost his job as a senior banking executive almost two years ago. A victim of the times, he was not at fault. It was just bad timing in an industry that was suffering. Mike left his previous employer with his head held high and subsequently spent the next 18 months “in search,” as the saying goes. He also left knowing that he had to become the best sales professional ever.
Following the Steps of All Great Sales Professionals
Mike filled his days with focused and energetic networking meetings, expanding his virtual team, following up, and perfecting his personal value proposition. He also kept busy with his other passion – teaching. Mike holds a position as an adjunct professor of business at a local university, which allows him an important outlet for his skills, as well as the opportunity to help others in career transition. When the topic of our conversations turned to the power of networking, he has said to me many times, “I get it now.” There’s no doubt that Mike got tired at times of the rigor of the job hunt; however, like all good sales professionals he kept up the pace and took good care of himself.
Mike became a great sales professional by following the steps of all great sales professionals:
- He knew his plan.
- He worked the plan.
- He never wavered from the plan.
- He never gave up and never blamed anyone else.
His consistent research and networking produced an even and robust pipeline of employment opportunities. He took each interview knowing how he would succeed, and he was excellent at articulating that vision. He closed every meeting with a suggested action plan and he called shortly afterwards to ask for the job. Mike built his own “sales culture” and made it work for him. The final result – Mike started his new job on November 29th!
As we’re about to embark on a new year, we should all take a lesson from Mike. No matter what obstacles get in our way, we need to continue nurturing our networks, building our own sales culture, and, most important, moving forward with a positive attitude.