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Sales 101 for College Grads

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I'm sure by now you have heard the term, "sell yourself," or "everything in life is sales related." This is true. However, sales is not about manipulation. Sales is about telling somebody your point of view and connecting with them on a personal level. Do you remember Jerry McGuire? Well, they had the character which was Jerry's mentor named "The Late, Great Dicky Fox" make a quote which always resonated with me. I am paraphrasing here, but the quote was something to the sort of, "If you don't love everybody, you can't sell anybody." This is one of the best quotes I have ever heard from a movie and before you brush the reference off because it is from a movie think about that an author a.k.a screen-play writer wrote this.

If you're selling yourself in an interview, or you are selling a professor to take that minus away to the right of that letter on your report card or you are in sales, selling is part of life. Selling is trying to connect with the other person. You must get on their level and understand the possibilities of why they would hesitate to do what you are asking. Being able to do this is a huge step.

Tell me which you believe sounds better:

"Professor, I deserve an A not an A-, I worked too hard" or

"Professor, I know you get this all the time and that you may have students who have done a little better, but I believe I may deserve an A not an A-. What would be a good time for us to speak, or would you prefer I write you an email?"

When I was just graduating college, I was afraid of rejection. Somehow, I was able to do very well in sales for my age, but I was sensitive. With anything sales related or just in life, you must be open to rejection. Never let anybody's disagreement with you make you lose focus on your overall goal. For instance, let's say that the particular professor responded with something harsh and uncalled for like:

"I don't think you're that smart."

I'm sure they would not do that, but this is to give you an example. Yes, it may hurt a little bit. Though, think about what type of person would say that to someone. Not somebody whose opinion you should respect. Brush it off. It gets easier with time. I run a company and have clients call in and they don't use my firm all the time. Do I care? No. The reason is that my company has worked hard enough where we have clients calling all day. I've learned to forget about the ones who use other companies and just move on. That's their problem.

Another important aspect about sales is to have a combination of being very nice and approachable, being assertive and asking questions. When speaking to someone, make sure you ask questions to get their point of view. Always do your best to not ask "Yes or No," questions. These put people on the spot and your rejection rate always rises. A "no" can change the entire tone of the conversation. If you get trapped and must ask a "Yes or No," always lead in with, "I'm not sure if I'm correct here, but can you tell me......."

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About Ken Sundheim: 31 year-old business owner of an executive search firm by the name of KAS Placement based in New York City. KAS Placement was started in 2005 from studio apartment by the CEO and now has clients from over 30 countries in 100 different industries . As a business writer, Ken's articles have been syndicated or published in: WSJ.com, Forbes.com, NYTimes.com, USAToday.com, (more...)
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