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Archive for August, 2006


I’ve said it before, desperation is a tough sell. I received an email last night from a company that I have not contacted directly. I used their free service one time 3 months ago.

Now the desperate-sounding rep sent me an email pushing for business. See if you can spot his approach (I removed some names):

We are currently at the end of another month and I promised to catch up with you to let you know about Month End incentives, pricing discounts and free services.
Forget what you know about company’s pricing as it stands now. We have lowered all prices on all services and even lowered minimum commits for smaller businesses.
Tell me your thoughts on pricing and I will do my best to accommodate you!!!
If this isn’t the month or quarter for these type projects….Please send me some feedback. That way.. neither of us waist time.

Spelling errors aside, I think he may be trying to sell on price. Subtle like a sledgehammer, isn’t he?

This is a well-known company and I sense either this rep is in serious trouble with his quota or the company is about to collapse. I’m guessing the former is accurate.

When Photoshop is a Verb

At the risk of piling on about Katie Couric’s doctored photo in the news, I thought I would reference a prescient post regarding Work & Health. If you look at the article’s stats, perhaps Katie’s new anchor position is getting to her. Personally, I thought she looked great in the first picture.

I’d write more but I am off to photoshop my own image before uploading it to this site.

Fuzzy Phrases

I came across an interesting article on fuzzy phrases in this week’s newsletter from Sales Vault and it is well worth the time to read.

The author’s definition of a fuzzy phrase is something that really says nothing. You feel like you might have heard something of substance, but after analysis (usually after the call is over) you realize they just said nothing. They are his pet peeve as I am sure they are for all sales people. His suggestion is to ask for clarification.

When you hear any statement that is vague or wishy-washy, ask for clarification. If it’s something that needs to be done or discussed, I’ll always say, OK, let’s do it now.

What prompted this article was the author using a fuzzy phrase on a salesperson when the salesperson was trying to sell him some software. The salesperson accepted this fuzzy phrase – “I’ll give it some consideration and we can talk again.” The author provides some examples of clarifying questions that the sales person could have used in that situation:

  • Great! Which aspects will you weigh most heavily?
  • That’s good to hear. What are you going to be looking at?
  • Super. Where do you stand right now regarding moving forward with it?

Any of these questions would have elicited a substantiative answer as opposed to ending the call in a haze regarding what the next step the salesperson should take. Some of you may think that these questions may be too pushy. The author says these questions are definitive and get to the real answers. They may get you further with the prospect or you may find out the prospect has no further interest in your solution. Either way, you learn something of substance.

Radio Shack’s Junk Mail

Ok, maybe electronic communication has gone too far. I posted some Termination Tips a week ago that apparently were not read by Radio Shack’s upper management team. Before that, I posted about Text Message Terminations – an employee was fired through her cell phone text messaging. Granted, it was from a body piercing shop, but the approach was still laughable.

Now Radio Shack has decided to enter this infamous club by using email to terminate employees. This is no joke:

Employees at the Fort Worth headquarters received an e-mail Tuesday morning telling them they were being dismissed immediately.”The work force reduction notification is currently in progress,” the notice stated. “Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated.”

What more can you add to this train wreck?
I’ll go with this – Voltaire once said “Common sense is not so common.”

Open for Comments

After input from one of our readers (thank you Amitai), we have opened up our comments section so you no longer need to register to post a comment.

Due to the high volume of daily spam we receive, we will have to continue to hold comments in moderation for the time being. We will approve the comments as we check to make sure they are not automated posts.

At any rate, I hope the open comments section makes it easier to share your thoughts on The Hire Sense. Blog

We have just been added to the Blog directory which is a great resource for finding high-quality recruiting blogs. Thanks to Jason for adding us to the directory and I am sure our blogroll will be growing in the next few weeks!

The Impending Entrepreneur Wave

A good sign from an article – Three Out of Four Teens Want to Start a Business. I suspect there is a dream factor to being young and having your work career completely in front of you. Nonetheless, I am all for the youths of this country aspiring to create new careers for themselves.

Two interesting points from the article:

  • Of more than 1,400 teens surveyed across the nation earlier this year, nearly 71% said they would like to run a business someday, up from 64% in 2004
  • Surprisingly, very few said the desire to own a business is driven by a lack of meaningful employment elsewhere. Instead, nearly half said they are motivated by having a great idea and wanting to “see it in action,” according to the survey.

Blogs & Recruiting

Blogs Could Become Newest Recruiting Tool from the SHRM website (membership required):

Blogs offer businesses an excellent and interactive communication tool. For example Microsoft has close to 3,000 blogs posted by the company’s employees. Blogs can give an insiders view of a company’s work environment to potential job candidates. This is extremely important with the younger generations (ed.-see our article), it is as important to understand the culture as it is the responsibilities of the position. For this reason companies that don’t have employee blogs could find themselves at a competitive disadvantage in recruiting.

Honeywell Corp. is a good example of a company that uses blogs as a recruiting device. The company launched blogs of three employees who began working for Honeywell last year after earning their masters degrees in business administration. All three of the bloggers participate in Honeywell’s Pathways Leadership Development Program. The intention of the blogs is to show the career opportunities and growth potential that Honeywell offers to students who have earned a masters degree. The idea of using the blogs has tremendous potential that could give Honeywell an edge in recruiting the best and the brightest from masters degree programs, according to Adam Forbes, global university relations manager for Honeywell. Right now, its just too early to tell exactly what the ultimate effect of blogs will be and how many employers will create recruiting blogs.

Blogging certainly isn’t for every company. The corporate culture must be conducive to allowing open communication from their employees to the outside world. The article also states that the companies that seem to be doing it right have found that the best bloggers choose themselves, instead of the company choosing them.

Creating compelling and engaging blogs seems to work best with a certain type of personality and clearly an ability to write good copy (don’t overlook this fact). That last point may explain why there are so many marketing blogs! Anyway, the people who do it well while making their companies look good in the process are easily identified through their blogging.

One last point from our experience – it takes a commitment to posting on a regular basis. There is no quicker way to terminate traffic to your blog than to simply not post for an extended period of time. There are many blogs that piqued my interest and I started reading them but soon unsubscribed from my RSS feed since they rarely posted new content.

Hail Rhymes With Sale

This may only interest me, but I read an employment ad for a Hail Restoration Salesperson this morning. We had a tremendous hail storm roll through here last week – softball-sized hail did some extensive damage. I have already received 5-6 mailers/brochures from roofing companies in the past 5 days.

Now I read this ad and it states:

This could be the opportunity of a lifetime, with six-figure income potential easily within reach.

Maybe it is that big of an opportunity, but I am skeptical. What does this salesperson do in the middle of our extended Minnesota winter? I would recommend this position be on a contract only. The steady decline in new home construction leads me to believe this position is a short-term opportunity only.

Managing Other Communication Styles posted this article last week – Adapting Your Management Style. There isn’t a lot of meat in this thing but it does address an important principle:

Moniot helped the manager better understand different personality styles and then devised an innovative visual cue of a color-coded piece of paper, correlated with their assessed personality style, that was taped to the top of each worker’s computer monitor. This served as a reminder of each staff member’s communication needs as the manager entered their workspace.

I suspect . . . no, I guarantee this manager has a High D style. The High D has long been cherished for management because of their appearance to upper management. The High D style as defined in the article:

His natural style — numbers-driven and results-focused — worked well up the management chain, but some subordinates disliked his direct, just-the-facts demeanor and felt he didn’t care about them as people.

This style is the most dangerous for management and for sales. There are mitigating factors that need to be measured before placing a High D in a sales or management role.

One other point – people tend not to change their style. They can adapt their style for short periods of time with some being able to adapt it for 3 to 6 months. However, under the stresses of time, work and objectives, people will always revert to their natural style. This fact is the reason why hiring people based on their style is high risk. The candidate may simply be adapting their style in the interview process and even through the first 90 day probationary period. Yet at some point, you will see their true colors revealed and it often times is less than desirable for their role.

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