Years ago, I received a phone call/voice message whose ramifications I never really considered until recently. In fact, I almost did not return the call.
Through unforeseen circumstances, I found myself on the job market and was sticking out a lot of feelers to find my next role. My first book had recently been published. I was interviewing with a few places and was into final interview with one organization between another individual and me. During that time, I received a voice message from someone looking to interview me; the organization name was vague and I did not immediately return the call.
I didn’t get the job I was to the final interview for – my background was in telecom and advertising and the role was in financial sales. The chosen candidate had a financial sales background. Initially a little upset, knowing I had to go back to the well, I considered options and gave that voice mail another listen. I did return the call and left a message.
Fortunately for me, the person hiring – the CEO of this small organization – called me back. He was affiliated with a rather large organization as a business partner. We interviewed and then I interviewed with his other business partners in subsequent weeks. I went on to take the role – which went well, until this group was purchased.
That said, during this experience I met a contact who led me to my next role. There, I made a contact who led me to my next role – at Microsoft. And – looking back – if I had never returned that phone call, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Furthermore, he revealed to me that the only reason he called me as opposed to the hundreds of other applicants who did not proceed was because I had done something unique: gotten a sales book published.
You never know what unique attribute you bring to the table will be noticed – so shine. In any way possible. And never fail to respond to every door knock – you never know which opportunity will be life- and career-altering.
Honored to be featured in this article! Here’s my blurb: “To close more sales during the appointment, be personable, do less talking than they do, and aim your focus solely on finding ways to add value – even if you do not see the immediate benefit. Customers become clients and relationships when there is rapport, trust and mutual respect; ask thoughtful questions and be genuine with respectful responses and suggestions. If you come across as sincerely trying to support and service, the temperature will be a lot more ripe for a customer to decide they want to change their way of doing things. Ultimately, you don’t sell them anything; they choose to change their behavior because of recommendations from a trusted source. You can become that trusted source by understanding their process, finding any weaknesses or gaps in it, and showing them that the risk to change is less than the risk of remaining status quo.”
Getting feedback, especially constructive or critical of your efforts, can be hard. Do we react and try to correct what we deem unfair? Do we ignore it completely? Or do we look for pieces of it that we can absolutely apply and use as a growth experience to better our process?
Consider this: Feedback can also be challenging to GIVE – especially brutally truthful feedback. Some enjoy tearing others down, but there are nuggets of wisdom and truth even in the most hateful approach.
Do you wait for feedback to be given to you, or do you proactively solicit it?
In my younger, less effective days, I was less open to feedback. I wanted someone to recognize my efforts and tell me “great job” because I knew I was working hard and results were great. But I was not complete – I had yet to be forced to adapt and evolve and pivot and truly grow. One of my most critical career mindset shifts came when I not only became open to all feedback but I proactively went after it – for a different perspective, a unique approach, and learning from the people that have mastered their craft before me. We’re all a mix of the best practices we pick up around us. Don’t ever be afraid to change and don’t stop looking for ways to improve just because you don’t like the source or nature of feedback.