One tiny section of my cliff note’s – Career Building
As I talk about in my Motherhood….and so much more page, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a long-standing successful sales career in the IT industry. But career building in sales is an art and it takes diligence. Every organization seems to have different titles for their salespeople – anything from Account Executive, Business Development, Territory Manager to Account Manager or Sales Executive. You get the idea. To me, the title wasn’t the show stopper – it was the pay, the commission opportunity, and responsibilities that went with the position so that I could build my resume in the right direction. So, throughout my career, I’ve networked and met with a lot of people in a position to hire me. But here’s the thing:
You need to come from a position of strength.
And everyone defines that differently. Some feel that being currently employed while shopping for the next step in their career puts them in a position of strength. Sure, it can.
But it’s not the only way.
In this post, I’m going to show you one (of many) different ways to come from a position of strength in today’s job market.
You need what I call the “ILM” file. It’s the evidence every professional should have at their fingertips to help come from a position of strength.
The ILM file. ILM? Wait, what the heck is that? Ha! It’s an acronym I came up with about 20 years ago. It stands for “I LOVE ME”. Yup. I coined that one. Let me explain what it is and how you do it. It’s the art of collecting evidence of your awesomeness. Your uniqueness. Your successes. Whatever makes you stand out.
For salespeople, the obvious accolades are in the form of awards, certificates, trips, etc. But there are a LOT of other pieces of evidence that prove that you are the cat’s meow. (Sorry, I’m a sucker for tacky sayings)
Here are some of the avenues to collect YOUR evidence:
1. Internal company correspondence.
Haven’t you ever received an email from your boss or peer saying “Way to go!”, “Congratulations!” or any sort of email acknowledgement? Perhaps it was for that way you got an appointment with that tough account, or how you managed a call, or how you closed that deal. And usually those emails copy other people – peers and other directors and VPs – in those emails.
And guess what happens next? Usually people copied on this correspondence reply with their own “Hey, great job!”, often with their email signature notating their position within the company. One great move can translate into a ton on emails. ALL those emails are EVIDENCE. Evidence that you are that cat’s meow. (sorry, again – I really like cats.)
What do you do next? You immediately forward these emails to a personal Gmail account and save them in a file called “ILM”. Do NOT let them sit in your company email and think, “I’ll get to it later”. Because you won’t. It takes a second. And you’ll be glad you did. Later, print each email out.
2. Sales tools and management reports
Other evidence can come from reports in whatever tool your company uses to manage the sales process, like Salesforce or NetSuite. Perhaps you ranked high in closing deals one particular quarter. Get that report downloaded and saved. Then again, send it to your Gmail account and print it out. Salesforce and tools like it have tons of ways and reports to show off whatever strength you have – pipeline management, closing, names of “A” accounts that everyone wants that’s sitting in your pipeline. Find a way to take a screen shot or download a file or report for every possible way you can show your strengths at any particular time (when you really rocked it something fierce) at the job. Then email it to that Gmail account and print it out.
3. Partners and Peers
How about those partners you’ve worked with? Have they ever thanked you for the way you trained them so they could close that special account? Have they included you in some sort of positive correspondence? It’s evidence.
Or how about the peer that you were tasked to take under your wing and train or shadow you on the road? They might send you an email talking about it. Or you could send an email to them that will elicit a positive response. That’s evidence that the company thinks highly enough of you to show someone else the ropes.
Forward it all – right away – to that Gmail account of yours to print later.
4. The Diamond – THE CLIENT
Another easier overlooked piece of evidence I rarely see people capturing is that from the actual CLIENT. I think this is as important – in some ways, MORE important – than other evidence. No doubt you’ve created some relationships with some special accounts. Haven’t they ever sent you an email thanking you for something? Going above and beyond or something special you did? It will likely have their email signature with all their information, which can be helpful for your cause. Forward that email to your Gmail and print it out. Solid evidence.
Something I’ve also done that I RARELY see salespeople do. If I’m new to a territory, and I establish a strong and loyal relationship with my client that I’ve just closed, I ask for a FAVOR. Ask if they will be a referral, but don’t stop there.
Ask if they could please write a letter on company letterhead (or an email, if they seem too lazy). You can even offer to write it for them, if they seem to interpret this favor as a huge task. This letter should not only be about referring your company’s products, but strongly highlighting your talents as the company’s representative. Not only will it help you grow your business while you are at your current job, but you can use it for clients during your sales process at your next job to help earn trust. But most importantly, for the sake of this article – you scan it, download it, forward it to your Gmail account and print it out. THIS – from your clients – is STELLAR evidence.
And then this beautiful thing starts to happen…..
As you put your printed copies in page protector 3 ring sheets for your ILM binder, you start to realize that you ARE the cat’s meow. Your confidence starts to soar. You stand a little taller and don’t sell yourself scared.
And you bring that sucker with you to each and every time you meet with a company YOU might be interested in sharing your talents. It’s a position of strength. The resume becomes more of a minor detail when you have a mountain of evidence of your awesomeness from multiple sources over the years.
You now have one (of many) ways to come from a position of strength. You’ve got the evidence.
Get your ILM file together today.
And, please – let me know how it goes. I want to hear from you!