Did you ever wonder why most professional marketers can succeed while job seekers seem to struggle to find their next opportunity? Most people would likely agree that a job search is comparable to a marketing job, but more often than not, job seekers don’t treat it that way. The primary difference is the product; the job seeker is selling their skills rather than a physical product or service. Despite this one big difference, the marketing process and a job search are strikingly similar. So why are professional marketers more likely to achieve success more quickly than a job seeker? Consider these seven factors:
1. Professional marketers know their product: Whatever product marketers are selling, they are generally clear about the features and benefits of the product. Great marketers not only understand their product, but also the competition. In contrast, many job seekers don’t really understand their core skills. If they have been in the workplace for some time, they may have experienced a variety of jobs where they acquired different skills. Rather than use this to their advantage by packaging this in a way that makes them a unique commodity, they cloud the issue by not being clear about what they are good at or what they are selling. If you are not clear about your product, then how can you expect a potential employer to figure it out?
2. Professional marketers understand their customers: Even brand new marketers have a good idea of what their customers need and how their product will solve the customer’s problem. This is very basic, but people buy products and services that solve their problems. In the same way, a job seeker must be able to sell their skills as solution to the employer’s problems. Yet too many job seekers simply don’t have a deep enough understanding of the real problems that businesses are grappling with today. The problems often fall into one of several broad categories: How do I grow the business? How do I make the business more profitable and efficient? How do I transform the business into a new way of doing business? If the job seeker can first find out what the problems are for a particular business, then they will be much more successful in presenting their skills as a possible solution to those problems.
3. Professional marketers have a plan: Even if marketers don’t have a formal plan, they generally understand their territory, who they need to call upon, and what they need to do on any particular day. On the other hand, job seekers are often paralyzed with inaction. Research shows that over sixty percent of all job seekers don’t have a plan and just do things at random. If they had a plan, then they would know who they need to call, how many calls per week they need to make, and what they should do when they are lucky enough to connect with the right people.
4. Professional marketers study their craft and have a system: Professional marketers study the art of sales. This does not mean that they study manipulative techniques, but study the art and science of the sales process. The best marketers have a sales system that they use to help their customers. They use the sequence of the sales system to educate their customers about their products and services so that they understand how they can solve their problems. That’s when the customer is ready to buy and that’s how they make their sales. They provide the customers with value. Unlike marketers, most job seekers have never been in a sales job. Although they might be great at some other skills, they don’t really have a deep understanding of the sales process and they don’t have a system.
5. Professional marketers keep score: Professional marketers are usually forced to keep score by their employers, but the best marketers would keep score anyway. They are competitive and like to know how they are doing. In order to keep score, they not only track their sales, but also track key activities along the way: How many daily contacts they make, how many appointments or interviews they keep, and how many presentations they make. They also keep track of their follow up activities. These are also the same kind of statistics that job seekers should keep about their own activities. If they did so, then they would likely find that they are not using all their time wisely. If they fail to do enough of the right things, then it will stretch out the timeline until they get what they are seeking.
6. Professional marketers have a coach: Most marketers have a coach in the form of a marketing director or sales manager. The manager helps them with tough situations, trains them on sales skills, and keeps track of their activities. Job seekers usually operate independently. Some may join a support group and a very lucky few will get outplacement services as part of their severance package; however, on a day to day basis, they are out there by themselves searching for their next big break. A coach would help them keep on track and provide an incentive to maintain discipline about their daily activities in the same way as a good sales manager. If they can not afford a coach, then job seekers should consider an accountability partner as an alternative.
7. Professional marketers are committed: Great marketers have a deep commitment to their company, themselves, and whatever they are selling. If they fail to get an appointment or make a sale, their attitude is that the customer is losing out because they will not get the benefit of their product or service. Rather than get depressed over the rejection, they recommit themselves to understand how they can do better the next time, and they are anxious to get out there to try yet again. Likewise, job seekers must have an unyielding faith in their abilities and skills. They must believe in themselves and communicate that confidence to their potential employers. Those who project an air of confidence without being arrogant will get more offers than those who do not. If you believe, then you can succeed, but you must first believe.
So, if you are currently in the job market, you must be just like a professional marketer to succeed. Know yourself, know your customer, get a plan, and get up every day to do the activities that you need to do to succeed. Have confidence and make it happen, just like a professional marketing person would.