Posts tagged " sales "

How can I best ace a job interview?

March 5th, 2019 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 7 comments

Hi Rabbi Lapin and Susan Lapin,

I am a great follower of TCT ancient Jewish wisdom. It is a great show and most importantly inspiring for life. I have a quick question.

I have graduated with my MS in mechanical engineering, but still I am facing difficulties in  finding a job. Could you please give some useful tips on how to sell.

All the best for your works. God bless your family,

A. J.

Dear A. J.,

Congratulations on earning your MS in engineering.  Unlike a degree in gender discrimination in Russian literature, your degree is a real accomplishment. But, and it’s a big but, a company is not hiring your degree, it is hiring a complete person who possesses a degree.

Potential employers want to know much more than merely that you can solve differential equations.  They want to know about your integrity, your intelligence, your persistence and grit, your resilience and optimism, and they want to know your loyalty.  A piece of paper proves your degree but these other equally important characteristics can only be sensed by an interview.  Therein lies the importance of the interview and in being really thoroughly prepared for that interview.  It is in the hope of discovering these qualities that your interviewer will ask you many questions that seem to be quite disconnected from engineering.  It is your total demeanor that will offer the interviewer clues to your entire personality.

So we agree, indeed you do have a quick question; unfortunately, we don’t have a quick answer. But we will try to guide you towards a path to the answer.

We aren’t clear whether you are talking of learning how to sell yourself in job interviews or whether you are thinking of entering the profession of sales. Many of the same tips apply to both areas.

Whether you are selling yourself and your skills or a service or product there is one important concept that you need to keep in mind. While obviously, you need and expect the salary, fee or commission to be paid to you, your focus during the interaction needs to be on how you are benefiting the other person. How will this company be better off if they hire you? In what way will your customer’s life improve if they purchase this item from you? Why is it in the person’s best interests to form a relationship with you?

Once you believe in what you are selling you want to set yourself up for success. A vital feature of sales (and job-seeking is a sales job as well) is resilience. You have to be able to bounce back from rejection. After every job you don’t get or sale you don’t make, you should analyze what you could have done better, but then you pick yourself up and make another effort. It is worth doing mock interviews/exchanges with a trusted mentor who will give you feedback on ways you can improve.

Whether you are interviewing for a job or whether you are in a sales meeting with a potential customer, your most important tool is your mouth.  Are you projecting your voice confidently?  Are you articulating your words clearly?  Are you using the best vocabulary?  Do a mock interview with a good friend and video tape your performance. Carefully study it and identify areas needing work.  Our book Thou Shall Prosper addresses the details of how to increase the effectiveness of your communication. 

We urge you to invest sufficient time and energy in research.  So many applicants squander job interviews by failing to know enough about the company with which they are interviewing. Similarly, knowing as much as possible about the sales prospect with whom you’re meeting can spell the difference between success and failure. 

No matter if it is your engineering skills or a kitchen appliance, people are more likely to do business with you if they know you, like you and trust you—or know someone else who does. When we moved to a new city, we didn’t open the yellow pages to look for a doctor —we asked our friends. We do the same thing when we’re in the market for a new refrigerator and, yes, for a new employee.

Be a part of your community and of as many lives as you can.  Don’t forget that most jobs are filled via personal introduction not advertisements.  Most companies prefer to hire friends of existing employees and often reward those employees for suggesting candidates.  Ask trusted relatives and friends how you come across in social interactions and listen non-defensively to their responses. We do have an audio CD that we recommend to you: Prosperity Power: Connect for Success. It is on sale this week and is chock full of recommendations for ways that even introverted and shy people can expand their circle of connection.

Wishing you the best in whatever you pursue,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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Not Such a Bargain?

June 26th, 2014 Posted by Susan's Musings 8 comments

A thin line separates a prudent shopper from a miserly consumer.  I fear that I sometimes straddle this line. Over the past few weeks, a number of events made me re-examine my shopping habits.

My favorite clothing store, Coldwater Creek, announced that it is closing. Considering that my closet is packed with clothing purchased via their physical or online store, this news was most unwelcome. I love their selection, ambience and customer service—and yes, I appreciate their sale prices. Could it be that those very sales helped bring about their demise? Did those regular sales and discounts accustom their customers to wait for the prices to go down and only purchase then?  Had they charged more and had I been willing to pay more, would I still have a store to patronize?

An article I read added another twist to my education. It pointed out that I (and others) benefit from the existence of a local, Sabbath-observant supermarket that carries a plethora of kosher items, many of them specialty ones. Its bakery, meat and fish departments are under Rabbinical supervision, supplying our family with an incredible array of kosher choices.  Often, their prices on standard items are higher than at the regular chain stores. It is tempting to go into that store for specific kosher items while picking up flour, canned goods and other daily fare for less money elsewhere. Yet the store that supplies so many bonuses I appreciate is closed one day a week and on Jewish holidays, meaning that they need to make their profit with fewer hours in which to do so. If I value their being there, shouldn’t I show my gratitude by happily paying a bit more even if I can get those things for a little less elsewhere?

The third prick to my conscience was an offhand comment by one of my daughters. She mentioned that a small, local boutique she frequented had accidentally neglected to apply a discount on one article. She decided not to return and show them their mistake. As she explained it to me, she knows how hard it is to run a business today and she wants them to succeed. She chose not to be persnickety over the few dollars they technically owed her.  

She is right. Intentionally or not, government today makes starting, having and staying in business incredibly difficult. Entrepreneurs face formidable obstacles.  Many people happily pay a little extra in order to ‘buy local,’ indulging their belief that buying locally grown produce is more virtuous than buying superior produce trucked in from another state and sold for less.  Similarly, many people purchase certain expensive cars because they promise to be ‘good for the environment’.  It is not uncommon for us humans to pay for things we consider important.  

The temptation to look online for the lowest possible price is ever-present. While I like getting the most for my money, I benefit from start-ups, from marketplace competition, from innovation and from niche providers. I need to appreciate those things with my money as well as with my words. Being frugal and thrifty is admirable; I needed the reminder not to be tightfisted and cheap.


Do you think of yourself as frugal? Do you ever spend more than you need to and consider it money well-spent?

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