I recently made a trip back to my Alma mater to conduct some on campus interviews of college seniors. Each person we interviewed had applied for the position of entry level Business Development Representative. We had a lot of great candidates and also a couple of really bad ones. Through the interview process, I started to recognize all of the similarities between a job interview and a cold call. I could easily go through one of the more promising interviews and say why it was good, but instead, I’d rather review one of the ones that didn’t turn out so well.
Sales Prospecting For Minutemen
One of the first rules of prospecting (and sales in general) is to know the company/vertical you are calling into and what specific pains you can solve for your targeted contacts. The same can be said for an interview; an interviewee should know the ins and outs of the company/vertical they are applying to. This student had no idea what we did as a company. Instant red flag and if I was a prospect receiving a call, I would have hung up.
When prospecting, you should personalize your messaging, tailored to the specific company and target contact. Our interviewee ran through his resume hitting what he thought were the highlights, but none of which were applicable to this position for which he was interviewing. This is the equivalent of product dumping. No prospect wants to pick up the phone and listen to you run through your product features and benefits without understanding where it fits within that organization. Once again, as a prospect, I have hung up.
Demonstrating that you can add value and determining if there is a synergy between your product and the target organization are vital steps in the qualification process before pushing for a next step. The interviewee capped off his dreadful appearance by pushing for the salary, commission and benefits he would receive upon starting. Instead of product dumping and asking for budget to be allocated for your software or services, guide the conversation so that the prospect will be asking you for next steps. During the qualification process, if the interviewee had initiated us to want to call him back for a second interview, at that point he could have asked the compensation questions.
Overall, there are a lot of similarities between the two experiences, which makes it easier to identify who has the potential to develop into a successful Business Development Representative. If you can do some research, learn about our company and discuss what value you will add to our organization to make us better, we will ask you for the next step. Tell us something about yourself and previous experiences that makes you a good fit. Earn a follow up interview with a manager! If you can do that, then you can pass leads and become a successful BDR.
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