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Persistent or Pushy?

You see an ad in the paper that sounds perfect for you. It’s exactly what you’re looking for! You know they’ll love you! Your resume is ready to go so you jump up, whip off a cover letter, and mail them both out. Then…..nothing. What do you do?

There’s a company down the road you’ve heard great things about. They have a good reputation and it’s a short commute. You decide to see if they’re hiring anyone, especially in their marketing department. You call the company and ask for Human Resources. On the other end of the line, you hear “Human Resources. This is Patty.” What do you say?

You’ve been in sales for several years and are tired of it. You’re thinking of a career change and finance sounds pretty interesting. You haven’t the faintest idea what would be involved or the best way to plan a career path, or even what to expect once you get into the profession. How do you find out?

And one more…..

You’ve decided to get a new car. It’s one of those great electric models that aren’t mass produced yet. What’s more, you want a red one! But they sell as fast as they land on the lot. The car guy says the next group could be in anytime in the next two months. Maybe some will be red, maybe not. He takes your name and number, and promises to call you. What do you do?

Probably because you really want that car (forget the car salesman/buyer games) and you want to make sure you get a red one, you call the car guy every week or two saying “Are they in yet? Do you know when they’ll be in?” And the car guy says “No, but I’ll let you know.” But you wonder - what if they come in early? What if he forgets to call you? What if they come in when he’s on vacation? So you just keep calling. And the car guy gets kind of annoyed, but you don’t care. Because you want the car.

Persistent or pushy?

How about example #1 where you never heard from the company? WOuld you say “Oh well. I guess they didn’t want me,” or would you call them up? What if you did call them up, introduced yourself, told them why you were calling and found out the position was put on hold for 2 months? What if you end up talking to the hiring authority and he asks you questions, likes what he hears, and decides to set up an interview appointment while you’re on the phone with him?

On the other hand, what if you got his voice mail? Would you leave a message? How many times would you call before you quit trying? What if you continued to call but it took you five calls to get him on the phone before that happened - instead of being connected to him on the first call? Would you have continued long enough for that to happen?

Persistent or pushy?

In example #2 - skip HR all together. Go to the decision maker - the buyer. Call the hiring authority or whomever you’d likely report to. The smaller the company, the higher you go. And you find out they’re not hiring anyone. Do you hang up the phone and forget about it? Do you take initiative and suggest sending your resume in? Do you follow up with the same person in a month? And then 2 months after that? And every few weeks continually? For months? How many times would you call before you gave up?

Persistent or pushy?

And while you’re working at another job, every so often you call up this same guy, reiterate your interest, bring him up to date on one or two frequent fantastic things you’ve done or comment on something you read recently about the company. And one day, your phone rings. And it’s the guy you’ve spoken with periodically for 9 months. And he says “Our Director of Marketing just quit. I was wondering if you’re interested in coming in to interview?

Now which is it - persistent or pushy?

So you get the idea. Did you ever hear the saying “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”? When you are pro-active and persistent - and professional (as opposed to rude and annoying), people remember you. Why wouldn’t a company phone you back? Don’t you think they’d rather hire someone and not have to run an ad? Not have to search? Know they’re hiring someone who REALLY WANTS TO WORK THERE?

When you’re after that car, you don’t really care what the salesman thinks of you. You want to make sure he knows YOU WANT THAT CAR so he doesn’t forget to call you and you don’t miss it. Why is getting hired any different?

Circumstances can change on a dime. If you don’t make yourself memorable, why would anyone remember you?

But let’s look at example #3, which is a little different. The best place to get information is to go to the source: someone who does what you want to do. Find a society and go to one of their meetings. Learn the name of a few finance guys at nearby companies and ask if you can take them to lunch in exchange for bending their ear and getting some advice on the field, the best course of action, schools, whatever.

Don’t you love to talk about yourself? Don’t you love to tell people what you do and what your job is like? Especially when you’ve a listener who is soaking it all up and asking astute questions?

Sometimes job seekers give up too quickly. They’re easily chased off, hesitant to follow up, reluctant to seek answers and information. Sometimes it’s fear: fear of failure, fear of not being hired, fear of looking and looking and finding nothing, fear of looking stupid, fear of finding out you are mediocre at best because someone ELSE always gets hired…..

Did you ever wonder about something to do with your job hunt and think, “Why don’t I just call them up and find out?” And then after you wondered that…..did you?

If you want to accomplish anything in life, you can’t just sit back and hope it will happen. You’ve got to make it happen. —Chuck Norris

If you want to know your past - look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future - look into your present actions. —Chinese Proverb

Everyone who isn’t a sales person but is hunting for a new job should subscribe to one or two of those newsletters that are specifically for sales people. Art Sobczak’s is a great one: Another one is Shamus Brown’s

As I’m so fond of saying, when you’re hunting for a new job, you’re selling a product and the product is you. So if these newsletters are good for sales people, can you imagine what they can teach someone NOT in sales, who isn’t even familiar with the basic concepts?

Alot of people (like my boyfriend) think sales people are pushy. So they equate sales with pushiness. If someone says no, that’s it. Well maybe, and maybe not. Maybe the prospect doesn’t have an understanding of what’s taking place. Maybe they don’t fully see the advantages yet. Maybe they simply haven’t been shown the advantage of whatever the product is. Maybe the sales person hasn’t uncovered the prospect’s hot button yet (you’ve got to ask questions first).

Look at it from this perspective: what happens when you go to McDonald’s and order a hamburger? They say “Would you like fries with that?” No, thanks. “How about an apple pie? We have a special: buy one, get one free.” Yeah, that sounds good. I would like an apple pie and I’ll take the special. Thanks for asking.

Persistent or pushy?

Asking a professional for his time and advice in exchange for lunch is selling yourself as being worth their time. Asking a company VP if they have a need for someone with your 1-2-3 accomplishments is selling that you are worth hiring. Sending in your resume with a cover letter is selling that you’re worth an interview.

I leave you with some words from Zig Ziglar: “The prospect really does want to say yes, particularly if you are pleasant, professional, and at least reasonably friendly.” The odds are in the professional salesman’s favour, he urges. “So ask for the order, my selling friend. Do it pleasantly and professionally, but ask!” Else, “we miss 100 percent of the sales we don’t ask for.”

- Judi Perkins