Market Me First - The Positive Career and Work Action Plan Market Yourself | Make Money | Be Happy

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Since 2005. Market yourself. Find better work. Make a name. Survive Layoffs. Be successful.


Marketing Me: Sales Myths Destroyed

Talk to most people and they say they hate sales people. Why? Then you get the story about how all sales people are "plaid jacket, crooked, fast talking, con men".

Most people say they hate sales people because of their experience buying cars or appliances.

When I talk to buyers about sales people, I usually hear the same myths about "how they deal with sales people".

As someone in sales for nearly 20 years I can debunk most of these myths.

Put a sign which says "No Soliciting" on the front door. It will stop sales people cold in their tracks.

To a professional sales person, a "No Soliciting" sign is the same as a Kick Me sign. Sales people know that people who put these signs up are easy to sell to. That is why they put the sign up in the first place. People who are easy marks put that sign up because they don't know how to say no in the first place.

If you don't want to buy anything, tell the salesperson to their face.

Before going to buy a car, read about all the tricks and small print the car dealers use. Tell them up front you are on to their ways and you won't fall for any of their tricks.

I have a friend who has sold cars for 17 years. All makes and models, makes no difference to him. Each car is a unit and his salary depends upon the number of units he can move a month.

My friend knows every trick in the book as this is all he has done for years. Do you really think a buyer can learn all there is to know before walking into a dealership? Hardly. No more than I can read about heart surgery on the Internet and tell a doctor how to perform an operation.

There is only one tactic that works with a car dealer - be ready to walk away from a deal at any time. No explanations, no conditions. Just "No thank you", get up and leave. To do that, never walk into a dealership with a "I have to have the car today" attitude. A buyer can never play games with a professional sales person and think they can win.

"I am an old horse trader"

I have heard this line a hundred times. You know horses? Great. I won't try and sell you a filly, mare or gelding. But I know software, electronics, warranties, transmissions, whatever that I am selling far better than you will ever know it. What's more, whether or not my family eats or I keep my house depends upon ME getting YOU to buy the product, sign the contract or issue the PO.

Keep your old folk wisdom and sayings. If you need what I am selling, I will figure out a way to get you to buy it.

Sales people in almost every industry are worried about moving old inventory or lose their jobs. You can always get a good deal if you agree to take something off their hands even if they lose money in the deal.

Sales people only worry about making a commission. Nothing else. If you think you got a good deal on last year's model, don't worry, the salesperson got a nice bonus for moving a dog.

Sales people don't sweat inventory or full floor space. That is the owner's problem. The sales person only worries about how much he is making on a deal and how soon he will get his check.

If you can't get a good deal from a salesman, ask to speak to his manager, the director even the president of the company. Sooner or later the real decision maker will take your offer.

Got news for you. Nearly every manager, director or CEO was once in sales. The manager was the sales person the director liked better than the other sales people. The Director is the sales manager who made his numbers two quarters in a row. The CEO was the sales director who made VP and vowed to turn the company's fortunes around.

In any organization trying to make money, "everyone is a sales person and nothing happens until something is sold". There is no way around that fact no matter who you talk to.


Marketing Me: My New Employment

Get used to it, the world of work has changed. In the past ten years, I have changed jobs and companies five times. And I expect it to be more of the same in the next decade. If you found yourself recently out of work or are worried about your work future, my story might be helpful to you.

First, I have worked in sales and technology for over fifteen years. Prior to that I worked in the hospitality industry. Both have given me a foundation of sales, customer service and grasping changing markets. I have extensive background in startup and new companies as well.

Tired of layoffs and downsizing, I work for myself now. No, there won't be a MLM pitch coming, I promise! Rather, I currently represent a couple of different companies now as an independent rather than as a salaried employee.

First, I work as a sales director for a technology company marketing technology for financial companies. I have been doing this for some time and thankfully, have a good pipeline of existing companies which have kept revenue coming in.

Next, I rep for another technology company designing solutions for specific companies. I handle the hardware portion of the deal and while the sales cycle is long, the customers are repeat and long term as well.

Finally, I write for a number of outlets. Blogging has been something I have done for several years, now I get paid for it. I maintain a couple of blogs which are in areas I have deep interests. I also write for a legal site which pays me a portion of the revenues. I won't get rich but it brings in extra income and creates my own intellectual property. Create and write enough and a larger publication can be the result of your work.

The world of work is changing. I have to pay for my own internet, computers, medical coverage, retirement as well as my normal living expenses. It is not easy, but the rewards are great because I do this for myself.


Marketing Me: A new form of employment

I work in sales and have seen a new trend lately. With so many jobs being cut, companies are caught in a quandary: How to raise revenue after cutting sales and marketing staffs.

One way is to keep sales people, but on a commission/sales only role. For instance, a sales person has a base salary, insurance and HR cost to the company. The company depends upon the sales person to sell products and services which will cover those costs.. eventually.

However, some companies are cutting the employee and making them an agent or reseller. The company reduces their monthly fixed cost and the employee earns a higher commission (hopefully) for sales.

As a short term solution, this may work for both parties, but it will not work long term. As companies cut long time sales persons and teams, they are compelled to recruit new sales persons with higher and more demanding quotas. So available sales people, good ones, are constantly being recruited and headhunted. I know that is what I have seen in the market this month.

The agent model will probably continue for the time being. The monthly costs of employees is at the breaking point for too many companies.

Marketing Me: Layoffs and the Transformation of Work

Layoffs are coming faster and with more urgency than ever before. The lack of credit and disappearing cash has left companies scrambling now more than ever to reduce head count and thus expenditures quickly. The end result is the jettison of the American employee.

More companies are laying off and the trend will continue throughout 2009. Despite what economists are telling the press, the inherent problem lies with the credit markets in the U.S.

Companies expand headcount and facilities by either tapping cash or using credit to bridge the gap between sales and invoiced payments. Customers, however, are cutting their spending or falling behind on their invoices. This means companies have to make up the difference for their customers late payments.

The problem is lenders are not lending money or are reducing lines of credit. Companies which once had money available, are finding those funds have dried up or been rescinded. Where some companies would feel comfortable using cash reserves to fill the holes, more and more are acting much more conservatively with their use of cash.

In order to quickly reduce spending, companies are resorting to the fast layoff to cut monthly costs. So employees are given two weeks pay and told to exit as fast as possible.

As long as this credit crisis lasts, there will be more layoffs, slower payments by customers and less employment. No easy answers here.


States: The Top Ten High Cost of Doing Business

Entrepreneur magazine (print version only) had an interesting article in their February 2009 edition, which outlined the states with the highest cost of doing business (figures were the most recent - 2007).

This matters because job creation in every state in the U.S. is critical. If costs are too high in one place, job seekers in those locations may suffer.

Taken into account were average worker's wages, tax burden, electricity costs, industrial and office space rents.

Here is the list of the states with the highest cost of doing business.

1. Hawaii
2. New York
3. Alaska
4. Massachusetts
5. Connecticut
6. California
7. New Jersey
8. Vermont
9. Delaware
10. Rhode Island

Some of the figures which are represented in the article would have been affected positively today would include the probable increase in office and warehouse space since late 2008 to the present. An increase in supply of either would logically dictate a drop in price. Well some places.

Also, wages have dropped as well as layoffs have increased in the past six months which can drive wages down.

Finally, some of these states have raised tax rates for individuals and businesses as tax revenues have dried up. They may be even higher than listed above.

Regardless, if you live in one of the above states, be aware what you are facing. The out of work in Texas for instance, have a better playing field to work with than those in New Jersey.

Author's note: I was surprised Michigan was not on this list.


Massive Job Losses; Action Plan

From the news this week.

Boeing may cut up to 10,000 jobs.

Kodak may restructure and shed more jobs soon.

In spite of some emergency money, GM cut more jobs this week.

IBM cut 2800 jobs this week.

SAP plans 3000 job cuts.

Target plans on laying off 600.

Caterpillar 20,000 jobs gone.

Pfizer, 8000 jobs.

Sprint Nextel 8000 jobs.

Home Depot - 7000 jobs.

Texas Instruments - 3400.

That was this week. We now have the highest unemployment since 1981. And there is no end in sight.

I have worked in sales, marketing, operations, IT, hospitality and about a half dozen other fields of work in my adult life.

I can't imagine what it must be like to lose a manufacturing job, because I have never worked in that field. But a layoff is the same in any company.

I am no Sally Sunshine, but I had to change jobs a few months ago right in the thick of this mess. It took me about 45 days to find my next job.

I updated my resume, made phone calls, did the phone interview, took one plane trip to interview for the "Hell Job" which I did not take. I ended up working with a company I had known for about some years and everything worked out in the end.

A few warnings; I took a pay cut. My job title is not as glamorous as my last one. I have to work more and learn about a new industry I know nothing about. But I adapted.

However, my new job came about because I used my network of friends, former co-workers, customers, professional and industry contacts.

As usual, some were very supportive. Others were supportive, but offered very little other than well wishes. Some ignored me, which is what happens.

Here is some nickel advice.

- Get to work. Take any part time or free lance job you can get as soon as possible. Deliver pizzas, shovel snow, stock shelves.

Anything which will get your mind off what has happened at the past job and what your plan is going forward. Don't stew about "getting back at your boss" or "they might call me back". Face reality and find something to do which focuses your mind on positive activity.

Work is the stone which sharpens the mind of the job seeker.

- Don't spend that severance check.

Put it in the bank. Get caught up on bills. Make minimums on credit cards if there is too large a balance to pay off. Keep the mortgage current.

Except for a suit, haircut and printers fees for your resume, don't spend a dime on "training, coaching" or any other scam. Get a job first, then go back to school on the job's dime.

- Start calling friends, neighbors, family, anyone and let them know you are looking for a new job. Don't worry about what they will think, just do it. Embarrassment doesn't pay very well.

- Yes, you can do the Linked In thing, but be aware so is everyone else and sitting in front of the computer making connections is not work despite the mistaken belief.

Same goes for Facebook and all the other social networks. You will feel compelled to sit in front of the computer searching for old friends with some vague idea that a winning job lottery ticket will appear. Ain't gonna happen..

- Don't give up. Look for jobs outside of your area of expertise. Look for jobs in other parts of the country. Don't give up. I cannot stress that enough.

Remember, everyone who lost their job in the Great Depression and who persevered ended up working again. It may have taken time, they may have had to change jobs three or four times, but they worked again.

You will too.
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