Why Not Ask The Experts? They Are All Around You!

March 29th, 2013
Speaking of asking an expert, sign up for Tuesday’s call with Nick Corcodilos, of Ask The Headhunter. Free and awesome.

About seven years ago I was fortunate to have lunch with a recently laid-off marketing manager.  He had been involved in the growth of a large and successful local company.

At the time I had priced the premium level of JibberJobber at $6.95 a month.  It just felt right.

My uncle, a senior level executive, said I should charge $20 or $30 a month, because it was just that valuable.

At lunch, the marketing manager asked me how I came to the $6.95 decision.  I’m not sure what I said, but I’m sure it was as elusive as “it just felt right.”

I really didn’t know what I was doing with pricing back then.

He went on to tell me that his company did some in-depth studies and found that from the $5 to the $10 price point was NO DIFFERENT to consumers.

In other words, I could charge $5 or $6 or $10 and it wouldn’t have a negative impact on how many people purchased.

He said this was true at every price bracket, so $5 = $10, $15 = $20, $25 = $30.  A consumer would say something like “oh, it is less than $30.”

I do that… when buying something my brain says “oh, this is less than $10,” whether it is $6.95 or $9.95.

The bottom line is that you can leave money on the table, and after our conversation I decided to listen to the expert and change the price to $9.95.

Here is my point: I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t expert in it, I wasn’t even smart enough to read a bunch of books and figure this out. But I found and talked with and listened to an expert, and I was able to make decisions based on what he had learned.

I’m guessing you are questioning or struggling with something.  Whether it has to do with interviewing, networking, job search, healthy eating, marital relationships, exercise… or a host of other things, why not find the expert?

Sometimes you will have to pay them.  Sometimes the answer you need will be on their blog or in a book they wrote.  But it’s always better to find the person with the best right answer rather than struggle with bad or lack of information.

I do have to say, though, don’t ask an expert out for lunch just to pick their brain.  This is offensive, and you’ll be one more leech in their inbox.

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Network Better: Have Something To Talk About

March 28th, 2013

I regularly consult with small business owners (aka solopreneurs) about how to network and market.

Those two are almost one-in-the-same, aren’t they?

On a recent call I was talking to a solopreneur about doing webinars or teleseminars.

You can get a lot accomplished with a teleseminar, but what if no one comes?

Same question with a book… what if you write a book and no one buys it?

My answer: IT IS OKAY.

Perhaps the purpose of the teleseminar, webinar or book is NOT to get it in front of people, have people buy it, or even come (to the webinar or teleseminar) or read it (the book).

Let me give you an example: When I go somewhere to speak I might speak in front of 100 people.

That isn’t very many people!  I don’t want to get on a plane, take about a week from my schedule (a trip can take a week… 2 travel days, the day of the presentation, the prep before and the catchup after) to get in front of 100 people – especially if I do that for FREE! (I usually waive my fee to job clubs)

No money (or, the opportunity to make a sale, but I’m usually not even going to break even), all that time, for only 100 people?

That’s not entirely why I do it.

Would I do it if it were 10 people?  I did that before (even though I was told there would be 100 people there).

Where is the value?

Here’s the value… and this is important for you as a solopreneur to know, and it is important for you as a job seeker to know:

The value is in the pre- and post- marketing.

The group who has 100 people coming… they might have an email list of about 4,000 – 10,000 people.

I want (them) to TALK ABOUT me, my message, and my trip.  I want them to email their group twice before I come, and twice after I’ve left.

In each email message I want a link to JibberJobber (the best and most important career management and job search organizer out there) and my LinkedIn book (linking to Amazon and/or my LinkedIn blog).

I know have given this job club organizer something to say, about me, to his/her audience.

And in addition to the 100 people who actually come, I’ll get four touch-points to the 4,000 people on the list.  That will result in:

  • book sales,
  • JibberJobber signups,
  • more evangelists talking about me,
  • curiosity and branding.

Is THAT worth it?

Shooting an email out to 4,000 people randomly is not a big deal. It would likely have a negative impact.

But for the TRUSTED organizer to shoot the email out, and have them say something like “ JibberJobber is the best and most important career management and job search organizer out there,” is really, really, really valuable.

My point is, I’ve given them something to talk about.

What can YOU give your network to talk about?

What I’ve learned is it can’t be one single thing or event.

Think of something you can do monthly, or every other month, that they can say “oh, that sounds cool.  And I’ll tell my friends about it…”

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Points of Failure in your Job Search

March 27th, 2013

Last week a JibberJobber user told us some of his email2log emails where NOT becoming Log Entries.  We paused everything and looked for the bug.

I hated this bug. This is one of the main reasons people upgrade, and I want people to feel confident using JibberJobber.  If the trust level goes down, people use it less, and don’t want to upgrade.

I loathed this bug. So we stopped other stuff to look for what we knew would be an elusive, or what I used to call a “ghost” bug.

When something happens like this we typically ask the user a number of questions to understand exactly what they did when the error occurred.  This includes what browser are you on (most problems are with Internet Explorer users.  There’s a reason tech savvy people call Internet Explorer -> Internet EXPLODER), Mac or PC, etc. We’re trying to figure out where the root problem is.

It could be anywhere from your seat (that is, YOU (aka, user error)) to your mouse configuration to your internet speed or connection to your OS or browser.  It could have to do with the points of the internet between you and the server and back to you.  It could have to do with our server, whether the hardware or the system load or, what we can easiest find and fix, software logic on our end.

There are easily a dozen potential points of failure… finding the culprit is part of a process that can be tedious, especially if we focus too much time in the wrong place.

Think about this in your job search.  Think about you (unemployed) and getting a job (the end result).  Where are the “points of failure?”

You could have the most amazing background, resume, and even interviewing skills, but if you have bed head, wrinkled clothes and bad breath you might not have any luck getting jobs or introductions to network contacts.

You could pay thousands of dollars for a great resume but be a complete jerk who no one wants to be around, work with or talk to.

Or, you could be the most amazing person around with a horrid resume because you refuse to pay a few hundred dollars for a resume expert (aka, your personal marketing expert) to make your resume match your awesomeness.

See the different points of failure in your job search?

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Identify the points of failure in your job search. I listed a half dozen above.  If you are in a job club you can probably sit with your peers and list 100 points of failure in a job search.
  2. Make sure you are not focusing on the wrong one(s). You can spend weeks and months focusing on the wrong issue.  You might think throwing money at one point of failure will make up for deficiency in another.  If you can’t identify the point of failure that you need to work on (I’m talking about root issues, not symptoms) you will always be stuck, and get frustrated that what you are focusing on is not altering the results!

Here’s an example of job seekers focusing on the wrong thing.  As I travel and speak at job clubs across the U.S., I find lots of people who are completely hung up about age discrimination.  They are focusing on this barrier that they have little control over, and blaming their failed job search on age discrimination.

At the same time they are ignoring other things that are more likely their real point of failure.

I know age discrimination is a problem – I’ve written about it regularly.  I talk about it regularly.  But you need to step back and see if there are other problems that you need to address, and that you have influence over.

There are old people getting good jobs, right?  Maybe your problem has more to do with a different point of failure than something easy to blame (as real and as frustrating as it is).

In closing, I’m embarrassed to say that we even had this issue with my favorite JibberJobber feature.  It has really been bugging me since we found out about it. But late last night when my developer reported that he found and fixed it (and, he fixed the root issue by writing a filter to NOT let anything go to the spam box anymore), I slept really, really good last night!

What point of failure are you not figuring out?

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Why Introductions are SO Powerful

March 26th, 2013

On Friday we talked about Wayne’s dilemma of having a system and process but not getting results.

There were amazing, awesome comments helping him.

Yesterday we talked about what I would do to get informational interviews.  Wayne had some good thoughts in the comments.

As I was reading the comments, and writing a response to his comment, I thought about the power of introductions, and why they are so powerful.  Other comments on Friday alluded to this, but let me take a swing at it.

Introductions are so powerful because an introduction is accompanied by the trust the other parties have.

In other words, if YOU ask me for an introduction to someone, that someone will TRUST me and my relationship with them, and you benefit from that.

I want to write about eight more paragraphs, but think about that last line.  Actually, let me write it again:

In other words, if YOU ask me for an introduction to someone, that someone will TRUST me and my relationship with them, and you benefit from that.

YOU become the beneficiary of the relationship, and my branding, that I’ve nurtured over time.

What do you think?

If I’m right, does that encourage you to ask for more introductions?

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How to Ask For An Informational Interview

March 25th, 2013

This is a follow-up post to Friday’s Help: How can this job seeker get results from his phone calls and emails?

There are awesome, excellent comments in that post from job seekers and career experts.  A lot of the comments have the same theme.

Take some time and read through Wayne’s process and then read through the comments, suggestions and advice.  Wayne is a smart guy and the fact that he’s got this process (a) documented and (b) that he does it is pretty amazing.  The comments are all very, very good.

So, instead of me telling you what the others have already said in their comments, let me tell you how I ask for an informational interview.  I’ll give you two options to choose from.

I think the main thing to understand, and you get this from the comments on Friday’s post, is that you are a peer/colleague to the person you are contacting, not a needy, whiny, begging job seeker.  You bring value to the table and are not desperately hoping there’s a job offer to be had before your 20 minutes are up.  Important question: what is the objective of an informational interview?

With that in mind, here is what I most often do:

OPTION 1:

Subject: Call this week? (or, Follow-up from Friday)

Body: Hi Wayne, how’s it going?  I found you on LinkedIn and was hoping we could get on a call in the next week or two.  I’d specifically like to talk about what you think about how Obamacare is going to impact our industry.  I am hearing conflicting opinions and would love to know what you think, based on your experience and current role.

Can we get on a 20 minute call this week or next week?  Let me know if there is a time that works best for you.

(email signature – even if you have to take some stuff out or change it so it’s on-brand for this message)

Now, understand, I’m pretty casual.  If you want to beat this up in the comments, go for it.  Tell me what to do better.  Of course, understand that the example above is hypothetical (I’m not really asking anyone about Obamacare in the industry). I like how SHORT Option I is.

Here’s another style that I really like.

OPTION II:

Subject: Call on Wednesday?  (something VERY specific, and the intent is that this Subject isn’t going to cause you to delete it simply by reading the subject)

Body: Wayne, I found your LinkedIn profile while doing research in our industry. Yours kept coming up in my searches. (put this email into context… where did you find this person… which might be something like “I met you at…” or “I saw you at the ___ event….”)

I would like to get your opinion on how Obamacare is going to affect our industry. I see you have experience in a few different companies over the last 15 years in this industry and as the VP of Whatever Company, I’m guessing this has been a hot topic.   (please let the person know you aren’t going to waste 20 minutes of his life dabbling on about garbage.  Yes, I have had this happen multiple times :( If you can specify what you might talk about that let’s them know this is a purposeful conversation)

Can we get on a 20 minute call in the next week or two?  I have some very specific questions, and am happy to share what I’ve learned from other executives in the industry on how they are going to handle the 50-person issue. (ASK FOR IT! And notice, I snuck in some value add for the person… I don’t think it’s necessary but as an executive or strategist I always like hearing about what others in the industry are doing right or wrong.)

I look forward to hearing from you,

Email Signature(same comments as in Option I)

What is the purpose of this call?

Is it to ask for a job?

Is it to let the person know you are ready for a transition?

NO!  The purpose is to start a professional relationship.

Some coaches will tell you that you need to have a different type of conversation, but I think you need to establish a relationship with the person first.  Once they begin to “know and trust” you, then you can have other conversations, but don’t start off needy.

Start off as a peer and colleague.  Start off as someone who has something to GIVE.  Start off as someone who they WANT to have a relationship with.

There will be a “right time” to say “you know, I’m looking at a change… who should I talk to.”  It might be at the end of the first conversation, it might not be.  But if you have a 20 minute conversation (aka, informational interview) and you don’t have a stronger relationship with that person, you’ve wasted 20 minutes.

And, you might end up on some people’s black lists.  In other words, they might think “that person is needy and wounded… I just don’t have time to help and give and save… ”

What do you think?

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Help: How can this job seeker get results from his phone calls and emails?

March 22nd, 2013

I recently got an email from Wayne, who is doing a lot of right things, but perplexed that his outbound communication attempts aren’t getting the results he wants.

What would you recommend?  Leave your advice in the comments below.  I’ll answer with my ideas on Monday’s blog post:

I have a question about not getting a return phone call from a potential  networking contact after 5 or 6 tries. The following is my approach:

1.  I make a call during off hours (to ensure voicemail) letting the individual know about my purpose (evaluating some career options) and I wish to expand my network with other experienced professionals through a brief meeting. I also mention that they should expect a follow-up letter in the mail.

2.  The letter (see below) goes out 2 days before the call via normal mail, with the intent that it arrive not more than 2 days after my initial voicemail call.

3.  I then begin following up the letter and initial call with other calls (almost always getting voicemails) asking them if they have received the letter and would it be possible to spend a few minutes with them. If it is a VM, I leave my name and number and ask them to call back.

4.  A couple of times when I have received a call back, people pay no attention to the networking aspect and probe me on what I am looking for re employment

5.  After 5 or 6 tries using this method, I switch to something else (e-mail if possible)

I can only assume that something is either wrong in this process or I am missing something because activity (meetings) have been painfully slow to come my way.

Here’s the letter he sends (see #2, above).  This is with a nice letterhead with all the contact info:

Dear

My name is Wayne ———- and I left you a telephone message recently with respect to connecting with you on a professional level. I am an executive in the ————— business, formerly with —————-, and I am evaluating career opportunities.

I am seeking to expand my network and I would like an opportunity to meet with you in order for you to get to know me.

I am not expecting you to know of a job available for me although that would be nice. Rather, it is to ask you, professional to professional, if you would be willing to look over a list of target companies when we meet and perhaps share some of your knowledge base on a few of them.

My tactic is to connect with professionals in the industry with the goal of becoming “top of mind”, partly in the event you may require industry information from me , but also to seek out the right ————- professionals to network with. As a result of these, and other initiatives, should a career opportunity open up in the future within our industry, my expectation is that I will be thought of first.

I would very much prefer to meet with you in person for 20 or 30 minutes within the next few weeks. May I suggest the following dates and times for a face to face meeting but please suggest alternate dates if they are not suitable to your schedule: ….. ( dates and times)

Sincerely,

Alright smart people, what do you think?  What would you tell Wayne?

And Wayne, thank you for letting me share this with the world. I hope the answers in the comments will be helpful to you and many others!

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Must Read: That Other Black Hole – Job Seeker Amnesia (Tom Bolt: HR and Recruiter Expert)

March 21st, 2013

I was going to say “go read this post” but as I read through it I found there were too many gems that I didn’t want you to miss.

So really, go read this blog post from Tom Bolt, an HR and recruiting expert : That Other Black Hole – Job Seeker Amnesia

Here are the things I LOVED from this post:

Tom starts off empathizing with the job seeker who gets a call and isn’t ready for the call.  He says that when asked about a particular job you have applied for, and it doesn’t go as you probably planned.  He says:

“How do I know this happens? It’s because I’ve been that voice on the other end of the line. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened while calling a job seeker and the conversation went strangely silent.

How about you?  Have you gone strangely silent yet?  It’s embarrassing.

He then talks about the irony that if a recruiter doesn’t remember you (even if you are absolutely not a fit for the job), the recruiter is considered thoughtless, lazy and stupid. And he says:

“When the shoe is on the other foot and the recruiter is sucked into the job seekers’ bottomless void of amnesia, is it really so different?

Read that again.  You have probably bashed that stupid, inconsiderate and rude recruiter (or you’ve heard others bash).  Don’t you think that recruiters think of you, the unprepared, the forgetful, the unorganized, as thoughtless, lazy or stupid?  Or perhaps uninterested, aloof or simply not the right person for the job?

Recruiters are looking for people they can confidently present to their client (the hiring manager).  If you are any of those things the recruiter isn’t going to CONFIDENTLY present you!

Tom goes on to say:

“…it is absolutely imperative that you keep detailed records of all of your contacts, applications, leads, conversations and anything else that could keep you on track.”

ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE.  Seriously.  I’ve thought that since I started JibberJobber.  Some people, rookies, beginners, think they can remember this stuff.  I tell you, as your job search goes on longer and longer, you can’t remember it.

ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE.

He continues:

JibberJobber is an excellent online contact manager designed specifically for the job seeker and leaves little to be added other than entering your data every day of your search.”

And, with our Email2Log feature we make it easier to enter data every day. You simply send an email to your contacts and blind copy JibberJobber and that’s it!  It is SIMPLE to update your data every day.

He says:

“Really, the reason for keeping records is not just to prevent embarrassment.”

You’ll need to read his post to learn why… and what his “finally” advice is.

Great post, and thank you to Tom Bolt for the props about JibberJobber!

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How To: Finding New Contacts After Using Email2Log

March 20th, 2013

Lately I’ve been adding new Contacts to JibberJobber via email.  It’s one of the coolest features we have.  I simply find someone I want to put in my system, send them an email, bcc my ultra-secretive email address, and if the person isn’t in my database it will be added (along with the email contents, as the first Log Entry).

If you don’t know what I’m talking about (a) you are missing out and (b) you need to watch the video on this post (Email2Log – here is Part 3 where I talk about how to do this).

Anyway, back to how I find that person.  I’ll email them but I keep their LinkedIn Profile up so I can grab their picture, title, location, etc.  When I create the Contact record using Email2Log I am only adding the first name, last name and email address.

Normally my Contacts List Panel is ordered so I see the most recent Contacts I’ve entered at the top of the list.  But sometimes it is not ordered like that… and sometimes I feel it takes to long to come up and then reorder, or clear a filtered search or something like that (yes, I’m that impatient).

I have found a better place to find the new Contact.

Instead of going to the Contact List Panel I mouse over Reports and then click on the Log Entries and Action Items Report.

Anytime you use Email2Log you are creating a Log Entry, so it will show up in that report (which is a List Panel).

I have this report ordered so that I see the latest Log Entries or Action Items at the top.  I simply come to this report and look to see if the email is on the top.  I am showing the Contacts column (if you don’t see it, click on the manage columns icon and add it), and I simply click on the person’s name and it takes me to their Detail Page.

The Email2Log is on a 5 minute cycle, so it might take a few minutes before it shows up, but this is my fastest way to getting to that newly created Contact record so I can put more details on the record. For some reason I like doing it this way rather than going through the Contact List Panel.

Cool, huh?

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Know and Trust and… EASY?

March 19th, 2013

A few years ago at a National Speakers Association chapter meeting a speaker was telling us that we have to be EASY to work with.

Clients don’t want long, complex contracts.  They don’t want to go through a tough process. They simply want you speaking at their event, and they want it to be easy to get that set up.

I’ve tried to take that to everything I do.  Recently we’ve been “cleaning up” things in JibberJobber, and making it easy to understand or do certain things.

My question to you is, are you EASY to work with?

As a job seeker, is it easy for me to understand what you do?  If you have jargon or cliche in your branding statements they may sound cool or cute, but I bet it’s not easy for everyone to grasp what you do.

Is it easy for me to talk to others about you?  I have to (1) understand what you do, AND (2) have the right language so I can easily talk about you.  I can’t evangelize for you if I don’t have the right language.  Have you given me the right language?

People would ask me how they could describe JibberJobber, which was really hard for me to narrow down.  All the things I could say, all the things I thought I should say… all those things were TOO MUCH.

Job seekers have the same problem.  They could and think they should say a lot of things.  But it’s too much.  Make it EASY for people to get and talk about you.

Is it easy to set up an appointment with you?  I HATE it when people say “click here to find an opening on my calendar.”  One time I found that convenient, the rest of the time I found it horribly inconvenient.

Is it easy to talk to you?  Do you dominate the conversation, or spend 90% of your time on tangents and stuff that is disrespectful of my time?

Is it easy to recommend you to my contact you want to meet?  Or am I worried that you might tarnish my reputation or image?

Is it easy to be excited about what you do?  If you aren’t excited, or if I don’t get the vision of what you do (not the technical stuff you do, but WHY you do it and how you change the world) I might find it hard to be excited about you.

Get the drift?

I’m working on being easier because I need to influence people (to buy my stuff, or promote my stuff).

You need to be easier because you need to influence people (to talk to/about you, interview you, recommend you, hire you).

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Can I TRUST You? (I am your interviewer, new contact, old friend, etc.)

March 18th, 2013

I think LinkedIn has made the phrase “know and trust” more popular than it already was.

I want to talk about TRUST.

I was reading an article titled Google Keep’s Already Shaky Ground because I like to learn from (a) what Google is doing, and (b) what people think about it.

I was struck by this line:

And yet, Google thinks users will now trust our notes to its cloud, after previous shutdowns of similar services like Google Notebook or Google Bookmarks Lists?

The message the author is saying is: why would trust Google with my valuable thoughts and notes and clips in their new service, supposedly like Evernote, when I’ve trusted them before and THEY FAILED ME?

In other words people are saying: I TRUSTED Google before, but when they announced they were shutting down services I used I lost some trust.  And now they want me to trust them with other stuff?  How long will it last?

Let’s bring this to YOU.  As a job seeker, business owner, networker… do you have integrity?

If you say something, do people trust you?

If you promise something, or endorse something, or introduce me to someone, can I TRUST you?

If you are having problems networking, and you are doing the mechanics the right way, and your heart is in it (so, I’m assuming you are doing all the right things), maybe your problem is TRUST.

EITHER you haven’t established a relationship of trust with your connections, OR you’ve done something (or someone has said something) to chip away at that trust.

If I can trust you I’ll help you.

If I can’t trust you then I won’t help you.

BUILD TRUST.

How do you do this?

By having genuine, authentic relationships.  But don’t go and say you are genuine and authentic… that makes a skeptic like me tend to not believe you.

Build trust by being a good person.

Do what you say you will.

Go the extra mile.

All those cliche things.  But if you do them, and it becomes you, it’s not cliche.  It is integrity.

And I LOVE working with people who have integrity.  I’ll help them as much as I can.

And you will too.

Do people trust you?

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