By MARVIN WALBERG, Scripps Howard News Service

You've heard this many times in this column

"Job searching is selling --

YOU are the product, and

YOU are the salesperson!"

In tough times, sales managers have meetings and you often hear the following:

Make more sales calls -- make more presentations!

Work harder and longer!

Sell harder and close faster!

Offer incentives to buy now!

Now, you're the salesperson and you are also the product, and I am your sales manager. Come to my meeting and I'll ask you the following questions:

How well do you know your product? You must be thoroughly knowledgeable of your product's attributes and accomplishments. If you don't know your product, you can't sell it to an employer (customer).

Do you believe in your product, 100%? If you don't believe you can do what you say you can do, or accomplish what you have accomplished, you can't expect an employer (customer) to buy it.

Do you know your customer and what your customer needs? Or, are you just asking for jobs from employers who advertise. I don't care if your customer is advertising or not, if you can do what an employer needs to have done, you need to make a sales presentation. You need to select potential customers based on what your product can do for them, not on whether they have posted or advertised a job opening.

Now, I'll make the demands that other sales managers make....make more calls -- make more presentations -- work harder and longer -- sell harder and close faster -- and some times offer incentives to hire now. Incentives could affect money, benefits, or title, with the idea in mind to get the job, deliver the productivity, and earn the money, benefits, or title you deserve. But, you have to get the job first -- close the sale first.

Then the next thing I would talk about in my sales meeting is something I talked about a couple of weeks ago. Don't procrastinate! Do what has to be done today.

Don't assume! I don't care what "they" said, or what you "heard". It is meaningless unless you heard it said from the hiring authority. Do your work and get your results -- don't allow yourself to lose out because a "friend" told you something they heard from someone who wasn't willing to do the work!

(Marvin Walberg is a job search coach. Contact him at mwalberg(at)bellsouth.net, marvinwalberg.blogspot.com, or PO Box 43056, Birmingham, AL 35243.)

Copyright (c) 2009 Scripps Howard News Service