EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Very few among us are professional sales folks. It is for this reason that some of the more subtle elements of interviewing can easily go by us. When you decide to make a purchase you often have to justify it to others. When you do, you will find yourself repeating things the salesperson told you about the product.

Much as you may cringe at the thought that you need to have a slogan or theme song, you almost do. The question I would have for you is how can you make yourself memorable? How can you communicate what we could call your sizzle points?

In all of the interviewing that you do, except your interview with the final and ultimate decision maker, you need to be passed along up the line. In order for that to happen those at the bottom of the chain have the need to be able to simply describe you.

One story I heard told many years ago was about a guy who brought a glossy brochure from his last employer with a picture of a helicopter on it. He was referred to as the “helicopter” guy. Not the best title I suppose, but it was a way of uniquely identifying him as he was passed up the line.

One of our alumni members here in Connecticut many years ago referred to himself at our meeting as a “Confidence Man.” His area of expertise is Internal Audit, and he went on to explain that his point of difference was that in his approach to those he was auditing, he was easily able to gain their confidence. It was an easy title to remember AND something interesting and amusing to repeat as he was passed up the line.

One of the points to keep in mind is the need to communicate simple messages. These are your sizzle points. In presenting your paperwork to the next person up the line, have you provided the interviewer with a sufficient number of simple messages that easily explain the essence of who you are? This is the requirement.

It is easy to get into detailed explanations about your background, who you are, and how you go about the magic you do. However, detailed explanations need to be preceded and followed with simple messages. It think I have heard it said: “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.”

If I had to put a handle on you, what would it be?

I have often made the claim that I am compulsively well organized. (I know this comes a shock to all of you.) It is the kind of interesting statement that is easy to remember and has the appropriate impact (I hope) when it is repeated up the line.

Think about your 90-second announcement. What are the words you use to describe yourself to others? Do you provide easy to remember ideas?

I know you think that you are just an ordinary person, but I know that you have your very own unique sizzle points. I just need for you to tell me.

Who knows to whom I will repeat them?

Regards, Matt

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