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I Showed My Sister How to Use “How to Use”—and She Got the Job!

interviewMy sister is an elementary school teacher in Portland, and for the last two years, has wanted a change. She recently decided to pick up everything and move to San Antonio (and before you ask, the answer is no, she’s never been there). She applied for three jobs: two teaching positions in the San Antonio School District, and one at an educational services company selling science curriculum to school districts. 

“Would I Be Good in Sales?”

She’s never worked in sales before, so before she applied for the third job, she asked if I thought she’d be good at it. I have seen her exhibit many sales talents over the years, so I thought she’d be great. Then, I checked this blog post and realized she hits every single one of those essential sales talents. She has a high work ethic, excellent persuasion skills (read: she gets to pick the restaurant every single time we go out!), a positive attitude, and a competitive drive. If you think about it, good teachers and good salespeople have a lot in common—if you don’t believe me, you try asking a 13-year-old to do something she doesn’t want to do. 

So after very little hesitation, I told her she’d be great at sales. She asked me what the interview was going to be like, so I sent her some blog posts (and one eBook) with recommended sales interview questions. She practiced her answers and did well on the first round of interviews. 

She did so well, in fact, that she made it to the final round. For that last phase, they wanted a 20-minute sales presentation: PowerPoint, webinar, the whole nine yards. She came back for more advice.

Don’t Sell Anything in Your Sales Presentation

“This is going to sound weird,” I warned her, “because it goes against a lot of common-sense wisdom. Don’t try to sell them anything,” I told her. “Just teach them how to use the curriculum.” 

So, she did. Her presentation introduced the material, then went right into how to use it. She went one step further and decided to target administrators instead of individual teachers, and taught them how to get their teachers on board. 

She blew them away, and less than 24 hours later, she had a job offer from the sales company. After she had accepted the offer, her new boss asked her how she did so well. “It seems like we could all learn from you,” he told her.

She divulged her secret. “Well, my sister works for a company that recommends sales strategies and teaches people how to implement them.” She went on to explain the key strategy she used in her demo: Focusing on how to use the product, not why to buy it.

If you're on the fence about some of the strategies we write about, try some for yourself. You may be amazed at how well they work. If you want to read a great story, check out Howie Gets His Dream Job.

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Topics: Sales, salespeople