EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The story goes that my grandmother had a marble statue. When it came time to break up housekeeping she decided that this was something she would sell. She thought it would be a good idea to clean it up a bit, but in the process managed to knock off one of the fingers on the hand of the maiden with the bucket.

When a prospective buyer came to view this rather unusual piece of art, he was taken with it almost immediately. However, as he examined it closely, he discovered “the flaw” and mentioned it to my grandmother, who without missing a beat told him that this was what showed its age. A product benefit was created from a potentially fatal flaw. I can assure you that when showing this statue off to his many friends this now proud buyer pointed out this flaw as proof of the value he received.

The point of the story is that handling customer objections is what all good sales people learn how to do. Some of our very own personal flaws can be turned into product benefits if we only view them through a different lens. If you believe you have a fatal flaw, you will never be successful in selling the product that is you. You have to believe to make others believe.

A few examples will help light the way. I’ll deal with the most obvious one first, that age old issue of being over qualified. (Notice how I fit age and old in this sentence.) To begin with, in The FENG we refer to ourselves as being well qualified or absolutely qualified, not over qualified.

What does over qualified mean to the “purchaser?” Generally it means that they are concerned you will be bored, or that you will be doing something that is beneath your dignity, as if being unemployed and having nothing to do other than write letters and go on interviews is somehow more exciting and better for your ego. Explaining how you are looking forward to being more hands on and how much you missed being removed from the actual work at your prior lofty supervisory levels will go a long way toward addressing this customer objection. Without being defensive, make clear that you are well aware of the compensation level for this job and the work content AND that it is of great interest. You may have to practice being convincing, but you have to be powerfully persuasive or it won’t work.

Let us now assume that the job in question requires an area of expertise that you don’t have such as specific knowledge of SAP or QuickBooks. Point out that although you don’t have specific experience with these programs, you are well aware of the popularity of these programs and the prospect of finally learning and mastering them is what you find attractive about the job.

How about if the job is away from “home,” as in you aren’t “local?” Here you have an opportunity to wax eloquent about the prospect of finally being able to move to a new community with different things to do and a new life style. Don’t complain about your current location but instead discuss the benefits to you and your spouse about the new one. Be sure to do a little research about what they do for “fun” in this new place and comment about it.

Most financial people are well aware of their many flaws. Don’t let your presumed flaws prevent you from finding another job. We can be much too hard on ourselves. This is a competition. Those who present positive attitudes about the applicability of their capabilities are more likely to win the day.

As they say, “one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.”

Regards, Matt

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