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Do you find benefits to using Twitter?

May 19, 2011

There is still a lot of discussion out there regarding the usefulness of Twitter in the job search process.  I have found some benefit to it and thought I would share my thoughts.

Obviously, one of the ways to utilize Twitter is to “follow” recruiters who might be specializing in the field you wish to pursue.  You can do searches to find those particular resources by researching on the internet.  You may find that many of them already use Twitter for postings.

Tweetmyjob is another good resource for postings.  You can also use hashtags on the particular field you are pursuing to find people who have tweeted that particular subject and then determine if you want to follow them.

I also follow a number of career advice resources like Careerealism who offer advise on the job search process.  There are a number of other job search listings such as cle_joblist (which is more pertinent to the Northeast Ohio area – you might find similar ones for your area), therecruitinguy, and others that offer ideas and postings.

I have used some of the postings to also share on other resources.  For example, if one of people I am following has an interesting article that I think would be of benefit to others, I will post it on my LinkedIn account.  This not only helps my networking community with helpful information, but it also keeps my profile active on LinkedIn – which will help keep me active to recruiters who might be searching for candidates.

I have also found that some of the postings from people I follow on Twitter are beneficial in giving me additional ideas or maybe even to serve as a catalyst for keeping my positive energy flowing.  I am also following people who are experts in my particular field.  I can then get great ideas to help make me more effective in my own job.

I know in some people’s minds the jury is still out on just how useful Twitter can be.  There is no question that some of the postings seem to be somewhat useless.  For me though, I have found enough benefits that I will continue to explore and use this resource.  Have you found any other ways in which Twitter has been a help to you?

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What kinds of Tweets or Postings work best for you?

March 28, 2011

The big movement now in both a job search standpoint as well as increasing your sales or customer base, is to use social media.  I subscribe to a lot of online contacts in the sales and career advice arenas and it seems like everyone has their own ideas on how to use social media to get yourself known to more people.

There are also people who don’t see the value in some of these medias.  I know a few people who have seen little-to no value in Twitter.  I know from my own experience that I follow quite a few people and I get a lot of good information from the tweets.  At the same time, I see a lot of useless tweets.  I really don’t need to know every movement of someone.  Nor do I like it when I see a nice quote from someone with a link, only to find that the link directs me to a website in which I have to sign up in order to access any other content.  For me, that is a quick way either to “unfollow” or to ignore posts from this person that seem to be similar in content.

So, how can you add value to your tweets or postings?  I think the first thing you should decide is “does what I have to share create some benefit to those who would be reading my message?”  “Is my message a positive message or will it bring a positive outcome?”  “Does my message have the ability to enhance someone’s perception on something?”

Customers out there will be more prone to read content that pertains to them.  I realize too that there is some benefit to sending info that may not be an exact match to them.  I have found a few instances where the timing of my message was such that while what I sent was not of immediate interest, the customer suddenly remembered that I have helped in other circumstances and it may be that I can help with another issue.  My point is that getting some kind of message out there is also useful as it will remind people of what services you have to offer.

As a job seeker, you also need to be prudent in your messages.  Tweeting negative ideas or information that reflects poorly on you might be entertaining to your friends but since this is out there for the entire world to see, it might come back to haunt you if an employer is researching you and your background.

My question now is what kinds of tweets have you found useful to increase your sales or to increase your visibility in your job search campaign?   I like a tweet that has an intriguing message and then when I click on a link, it takes me right to the article without any other gimmicks involved to get me signed up.  I also like postings that get right to the point.  Most of us are too busy to read something that goes on and on.  I think it goes back to sales or communications 101 where you have to get your main message out within the first few seconds or you are going to lose your audience.  Twitter is great in that it limits the number of characters.  But what has worked for you to get the visibility that you desire?

Staying optimistic – why this is so important.

February 1, 2011

There is no question that with today’s economy and world events, it can sometimes be a challenge maintaining a positive sunny outlook.  But staying optimistic is exactly what you have to do to survive these tough times.

Why would you want to start your day already down, expecting the worst for the upcoming day?  All this does is sap your energy levels.  If you were to get a call from a prospective employer (or perhaps if you were waiting for word on that next big sale) when you already have low energy levels it will become quite evident to the person who is interacting with you.

Most people do not want to deal with a low energy kind of person.

As it says in the bible, don’t worry about tomorrow for today has enough trouble of its own.  So why not start out your day looking forward to what new challenges and opportunities await?  As most sales people will attest – that “no” from a customer will lead to a “yes” somewhere down the road.  I choose to look with anticipation as to where that “yes” is going to appear.  What tactics and strategies can I employ today that will bring me to that “yes”?   When I do, then where is the next circumstance where I can employ the same or similar tactics?

I guess I try to make each day almost like a game.  What can I do today that will bring about some kind of success?  Sure, not every day will bring all successes.  But isn’t the fun part of life found in trying new things for situations and seeing how they will turn out?

This is how I keep myself motivated each day.  There are days when it is harder to do than others.  But once again I try to employ a different tactic – I “change gears” and see what I can do to keep the outlook on things bright.  Perhaps I go for a walk, or make a phone call to someone.  Or maybe I just change my venue for that day so that I get a different perspective from a different vantage point.

The whole idea is that positive and sunny people can weather the storms each day.  Plus they can attract people to them who want to be like them.  If you are looking for a job – your employer wants that sunny “go getter” person.  If you want that sale, the customer likes working with the person they like to be around.

Stay optimistic.  Look for new things to try.  Things are going to get better.  You just have to keep looking for ways to move forward.

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Keep reaching ahead – challenge yourself!

January 10, 2011

One thing of great value in this ever-changing world is the ability to continue to learn and grow.  Anyone with children can understand this – especially when you look at your child quickly mastering a game system or finishing tasks on the internet.  It is amazing how quickly one can fall behind and not be able to do what others might consider to be the simplest tasks.

During my job search, I learned many new things including how to set up this blog, web site design, marketing myself, using the social media, and the most effective ways of networking.  I remember thinking very early on that I had no desire whatsoever to do a blog or put together a web site.  To me, this was taking me out of my comfort zone BIG TIME because now I would be putting more info about myself out on the web.  Plus, I was already stressed about having to find a job.  Now I was going to have to figure out how to do these things without the support system of a company IT person.

So, I “changed gears” and took a chance.  I may still not be as proficient as other professionals who do this constantly, but in the process I now can say I understand the concepts and can perform them to some extent.

But I did not stop there.  I dove into Twitter and had many questions.  How does it work?  How do you use it to search subjects, get your message out there, find followers or follow someone?  What do all the terms like hashtag and other things mean?  I also found that by using social media like Twitter, the world opened up to me.  Other people were sharing information that became quite useful.

I continue this growth today as an employed individual.  I have been learning about mail merges and how to use it to drum up interest from customers.  I am also using the skills I learned while out of work to apply to my job today.  This is just another reason that it is important to stretch yourself, take chances, and continue to grow.  For those of you who are out of work, try to learn new skills and also do not be afraid to take a job in which you will be challenged to learn new skills.

All of this makes you a sharper and more interesting individual.  Plus you may have some clue as to what your children are discussing.  The interesting and valuable person/employee is the one who continues to reach upward and grow.  Plus, think how satisfying it is to attempt a hard task and to succeed.  Not much different from when I am on a bicycle ride and I know the route is tough or includes tough sections.  While on the trek, I am stretched and may grumble at what I am facing.  At the end though, when I have finished it is the greatest satisfaction in knowing that I made it.  The challenge is what makes life more exciting and interesting.  So go for it – reach ahead and challenge yourself!

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What are you doing to build a customer base?

December 20, 2010

Our economy is still slow to expand after the recent downturn.  Sales people may find that their sales growth is still stagnant.  Now is a great time to take a look at your own strategies and methods to determine if you are differentiating yourself from the competition and in the process, increasing your customer base.

One of the biggest challenges that sales people fight is the urge to go in to sell a specific product without any regard for what the customer really needs.  This is a huge “no, no.”  When you go in with the idea “I need to get my customer to see how fantastic my product is” and remain focused only on this, you are setting yourself up for a huge let-down.

This is really “Sales 101” but so many times it is ignored.  As a customer, I have specific issues that I want to solve.  When I go to a store, most generally I am looking to solve that need.  Time is of the essence and if I get diverted from my goal, this can take me from my goal.  It is frustrating when you discuss a need and the sales person persists in trying to show me something else or discuss something that has nothing to do with my need.

I begin to trust the sales person who asks questions and really digs into my issue.  I feel important when this person repeats back to me what he has heard.  It shows me how concerned he is about me and my issues.  Of course it also helps us both to understand the issue and possibly the steps needed to help solve the issue.  You don’t want a salesperson taking you to the area where they are selling hats because you were talking about a cap (and you meant a cap to place over a device).

Customers will begin to show more loyalty when they have a sales person who responds to things in a timely manner.  I would much rather work with someone who will keep me advised as to the status on things than I would with someone in which my requests seem to have “gone in a black hole” because I never get any feedback as to what is happening with my request.  When I have to make repeated phone calls or emails to get a status, then I am working too hard to get the service I feel I deserve.  I would rather get a “We don’t have an answer yet, but we have not forgotten you” than to hear nothing at all.

We also begin to appreciate a sales person who can come up with creative ways to help solve our problem.  That may mean the sales person is doing things outside the norm (the normal practice at his company) or it may mean the sales person directs us to his competition because the competition can solve my need.  I begin to trust these kinds of sales people because I feel that rather than only looking to make a sale, they are really looking to partner with me and help me with my issue.

As you go into 2011, why not take some time to reflect on some ways in which you can re-direct your focus and in the process increase your customer base?

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Are sales training events worthwhile?

November 22, 2010

I saw a recent article in which the question was asked about whether there was sufficient return on investment for sales training. The author argued that a sales manager worth his pay should possibly be able to train his staff and forgo the costs of arranging for a training seminar.

I can certainly see some of his points. The money that is spent flying in remote sales people, the expense of hotel and food accommodations, the time that takes them off the road, plus the expense of the speaker certainly add up quickly.

When I consider the sales training I have received over the years however, I have found that in most cases my managers combined these meetings with the opportunity to reconnect with your colleagues and in some cases reconnect with the support personnel at the factory. The chance for one on one time with these people helped strengthen relationships which in turn helped bolster the teamwork aspect. Many times there were some great questions and conversations that were shared that were invaluable for everyone involved. While the time in training could be somewhat lengthy, I found that the information that was shared and the chance to reconnect, were very helpful in “re-charging my batteries” with new ideas to try.

The sales training that included factory personnel also gave you the chance to forge a relationship with that person which might result in joint sales calls and support.

Overall expenses need to be considered. Could the same thing be accomplished via a webinar? Could the entire event be scaled down to just address the main objective – in other words, cut out the expensive after work outing? Should your sales manager be able to motivate and train the staff?  These are all things that are considered. But at what point would you find that the on site experience results in greater benefits?

How do you feel about this subject? What kinds of sales training have worked the best for you?

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Networking and You

October 17, 2010

Networking is a key ingredient to building relationships professionally and socially.  Those people who are in transition know that networking is a vital part of the job search process.   People in sales know that networking can help increase their sales.

But how often are you networking strictly for yourself?  Like any good relationship, networking is a two-way street.  You should not be going into a networking event with the idea solely of “what can I get from this.”   The people who are more successful – who really build their network and really build on relationships are the ones who realize that not only are they networking to solve their needs, but they need to also be there to solve others’ needs.

When you are networking, really listen to what the other person is presenting.  Ask questions.  If you have to, take notes.  This is your chance to help someone.  This is not the time to be selfish and tune them out just so you can get what you want.   Whenever possible, offer some ideas to this person.  Then keep their presentation in mind.  You might find that at a later time you can offer them a solution to their need.

In today’s competitive environment, this is hard to do.  Our instinct is to look out for ourselves.  I have heard more than once about a job seeker who reached out to people for advice only to later find out someone else learned of the opportunity and jumped in to grab the opportunity away from this person.  This doesn’t happen often – but when it does, can you imagine how disheartening that is?   At the same time, if everyone went into these events only looking out for themselves, eventually the events are seen as a waste of time.

Some people have some very inventive ways of keeping track of where they have met people and the product or need that the person wanted solved.  These same people can then come back to that person with an opportunity they have found.  I try to pass along leads to people as often as possible.  In some cases, this has resulted in the person finally landing a sale or a job.

I have noticed several people on the job boards who have implored people “Please take a look at these jobs as you may know someone who could benefit from getting this job lead.”   That is really what this posting is about.  Take the time to really listen and find out about people.  Then when the opportunity arises that you can help them, then do it.  You may find the greatest satisfaction in knowing that you helped someone.  You may also find that somewhere down the road someone may return the favor.  But even if that doesn’t happen, if more people were to look for opportunities to build on their relationships rather than only looking to serve their own needs, this world would be a much better place.

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