How to Sell Yourself in the Job Search: Closing the Sale
Closing marks the final stage of your sales presentation or job interview, but often it is not the last step in the personal selling process. In fact, unless you make the sale or get a job offer on the spot, a well-executed close can help you to keep the lines of communication open with the prospect or candidate.
“Whether in sales or interviewing situations, it is desirable to have agreed-upon next steps at the end of a call or interview,” John Holland, co-founder of the trademarked CustomerCentric Selling training workshops and co-author of a book by the same name, told Rigzone. “After an initial interview, it could be that the candidate will provide two or three references.”
Here are links to additional articles in Rigzone's series on personal selling for the job search:
Show that you’re the solution
Successful sales professionals are accustomed to closing, but individuals outside of sales may find the process daunting. Closing should not be difficult for someone who’s done their homework earlier in the personal selling process, said Mike Smith, Founder of SalesCoaching1.
“Closing is easy if you have done a good job qualifying,” Smith said. “You are looking to show there is fit for what you are offering and their real or perceived needs.”
Smith explained that closing should emphasize solving a problem.
“The product, or you, is not what they buy,” Smith pointed out. “They buy a solution to their problem. Your job is to help them to see that your skill set is the best solution for them. Match the requirement to your experience.”
You can present yourself as the solution by asking a series of prepared questions, Smith continued. He explained that that questions should focus on topics such as:
- the industry
- the company
- the company’s culture
- training and continuing education
- paths to advancement
- other factors not related to pay and benefits.
Once you’ve asked your prepared questions and received responses, Smith recommends asking one more question that can help to keep your job candidacy alive – or at least help you to refine your personal selling approach for future reference.
“You should say, ‘Well, based on what you have seen, is there any reason I could not be hired for this position?’,” Smith said. “Make them tell you. This is your best chance to fix something that might be an obstacle.”
‘Earn The Right’ to Ask If You’re Advancing
To be sure, asking an interviewer if you’re moving to the next stage of the candidate screening process demands some diplomacy on your part, noted Holland. Moreover, he said that you need to be reasonably confident that the interview is going well.
“I believe buyers prefer to buy rather than being sold,” Holland said. “Part of that is not pressuring buyers and by asking questions rather than making statements.”
Holland recalled an instance where he interviewed a candidate who made a poor impression and then asked if he was one of the three finalists for the position. He said it “came across as a poor way to end a mediocre interview.”
“Salespeople are trying to figure out if you are going to buy, but it seems they have to earn the right to ask that question in however way they want to phrase it,” Holland said. “In interviews, the question is ‘are you going to hire me?’ but again you must be careful not to come on too strong.”
Getting a “feel” for the interview will help you to determine how you close it, added Ludovic Vuillier, Executive Director/Sales and Negotiation Consultant with BaersCrest.com.
“If you’re not sure if something is appropriate, best to err on the side of caution since it’s usually better to be more reserved than creating a negative impression,” Vuillier said. “Do interview them also but don’t dominate the interview by not letting them interview you.”
Vuillier pointed out that, in the end, a successfully executed close hinges on tangible and intangible factors.
“Ultimately, try to gauge whether you offer the interviewer – and the company – the right mix of chemistry and qualifications and whether they offer it to you,” Vuillier concluded. “Assuming you have the knowledge and skills required for the job, the one who makes the best impression and creates the best connection with the interviewer is the one who will be offered the job.”
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