Nerd Journey 005: Sales Skills for IT and Questionable LinkedIn Advice

Welcome to episode 5 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss sales skills which IT Operations people can use to advance their careers and have the first appearance of “Questionable LinkedIn Advice”.

Original recording date: 2018-01-03

We’re going to be at VMworld US next week; Get in touch with us if you’d like a career coaching session at the show. We’ll try to schedule as many as we can fit in, depending on everyone’s availability. Just be ready to bring us a resume, your goals, and some time to chat. If you’re interested in being an anonymous guest, let us know that too, but it’s not a requirement.

Topics

3:35 – How to Improve Your Sales Skills, Even if You Are not a Salesperson

  • Important points
    • Know the customer / audience
      • This requires getting outside your own bubble to understand other people and departments.
      • Ask questions.
      • Understand the priorities and concerns.
      • Choose the best communication method for the audience.
      • Listen to how John got experience here.
    • Practice
      • Enjoy story time with Nick.
      • Practice pitching an idea, and get feedback from your audience (i.e. a manager).
    • Understand the path forward
      • Path to close
        • What are the things that must be done for my idea / project to be approved and funded?
          • This includes approval people and spending limits, which may extend further than just your boss.
          • Adapt the pitch as needed for the next approval in the chain.
          • As John mentions, the path to close can differ based on company size and budget structure.
          • Numbers need the right context for your audience.
    • Don’t tense up
      • This is why you practice.
      • People are bad at things on their first attempt.  Take the beginner mindset.
      • Practice doing what you need to do and relaxing.
    • Don’t talk too much
      • Beware of weak words.
      • Ask questions instead of filling silence.
    • Don’t let early failure be the end of the conversation.
      • Understand what no means.
      • Ask for a follow up conversation down the road.

35:20 – Questionable LinkedIn Advice

  • Discussions based on this article – https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2018/01/03/three-things-you-must-do-on-linkedin-every-day/
  • Do John and Nick get on LinkedIn every day?
  • Article recommends…
    • Update your status daily
      • LinkedIn isn’t Facebook.  Share things appropriate for the platform.
  • Accept connection requests
    • Beware of social engineering attempts.
    • Knowing someone personally may be a poor metric for accepting a connection.
    • Do you accept connection requests from recruiters?
    • What does John want to see before accepting a connection request?
    • Cold calling and connecting on LinkedIn afterward is the new trend.
  • Acknowledge connections
    • When is LinkedIn the best medium to acknowledge a promotion, birthday, etc.?
      • Listen to the John White methodology on this.
  • Closing thoughts on this one
    • Sharing updates to be top of mind for opportunities is ok if you have quality updates.
    • Set aside a time to accept connection requests daily.

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