Finding the Sales Management Job of Your Dreams

By Lain Chroust Ehmann

Unemployment is no laughing matter, but Jacques Werth says he just has to wonder when he hears about salespeople who have been out of work for six months or a year. Why his amazement? “Because their job is to sell,” says consultant Werth, author of High Probability Selling (Abba Publishing, 1997). Everyone who can prospect and sell should be able to get five or six job offers in two months using the skills they should already have, he says. If salespeople just viewed themselves as an asset to be sold, says Werth, their perspective on their job hunt would shift dramatically.

Werth’s first piece of advice is to forget about networking. “For most people networking is just a pleasant way of pretending you’re working,” he says. Instead you need to go straight to the potential buyer, just as you would with a product or service for the company you represent.

Werth’s approach is simple. Use infoUSA ( or another online list broker to get a list of 200 or so companies you’d consider working for by industry, geography or size. Then pick up the phone and begin cold calling. Talk to the manager of the position you’re angling for – the CEO if you’re looking for a VP-level spot – and pitch your services. Create a pitch that takes about 30 seconds. Sell yourself, with the goal of getting a meeting with the hiring manager.

If the contact asks you for your resume, tell them you’ll bring it with you to your meeting. If they try to pass you off to personnel, tell them not to bother. “Putting a resume in the mail is always the kiss of death. If you have to convince them, they don’t have enough need for your services,” he says.

You should be able to complete about 15 calls an hour and get through your list in a couple of weeks, says Werth. While most of the contacts on your list will decline, “a small percentage of them are going to say yes to a meeting,” he says. Then you can get in front of them and wow them with your skills and abilities.

Werth says the beauty of this approach is that it’s extremely direct and hard-hitting. Very rarely do salespeople use this strategy. When they do they’re usually the best of the best. “It’s so simple,” he says. “You’ve got the capability of finding a job very quickly. And not just any job – the job you want. Just focus on the fact that you’ve got a sales job to do right now” – and you’re the product.

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