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  • Transitioning out of the Military? Like it or not, you are now a salesperson. Read a book on sales!

This week's post is by Brian Henry, Senior Vice President - Operations, at Orion Talent.

Over the years, I have talked with many thousands of Veterans getting ready to transition from active duty.  A very small percentage of those people think they are interested in considering sales-related positions.  Yet the reality is that sales can, in fact, be a fantastic starting point for many that have a degree, a good personality, and a drive to compete and succeed.

For those even remotely interested in learning about or considering sales opportunities, I strongly urge you to read a book on sales. When you are transitioning from the military and are interviewing for a new role in an industry in which you have no experience, you need to do as much research and preparation as feasible, in order to determine if you are genuinely interested in that path.  You want to be able to convince a hiring manager that you have actually done your homework and can articulate why you are interested and why you are a fit.

While a sales candidate absolutely must read up on sales and get a solid understanding, I really believe any candidate getting ready to interview should read a book on sales. Like it or not, when you are interviewing, you ARE in sales.  Having a basic understanding of the sales process can help immensely as you prepare to interview.  Any good salesperson knows that they have to uncover the NEED of the customer.  And, only after understanding the need, can they think about offering solutions.

When interviewing, your goal is to uncover the NEED of the customer, the company (broadly) and the hiring manager (specifically).  Figure out what they are looking for in a candidate for the position you are applying.  Once you understand the need, you can then work on how you are going to be able to present yourself and your experience as THE SOLUTION.

If you prepare and then articulate your value well, you should find yourself in a position to close the deal.  Having read a book on sales, you will know that it is important to gain some commitment, close the deal, and get the job (or at least move forward in the process towards getting the job).

So grab a book on sales and read it.  You may realize that sales is for you.  And you may even find that you can use some of the techniques on your unsuspecting children (like using the alternative close to get to a quicker decision…”Do you want cookies or ice cream?”).  Most importantly, you can ensure you have a good understanding of sales and how that directly relates to interviewing successfully.

Visit our Suggested Reading List for great books on sales and interviewing.




Brian Henry served for 11 years as an Infantry Officer in the Marine Corps, during which time he served as a Company Commander, and Battalion Operations Officer and graduated from the Army’s Ranger and Airborne Schools and the Amphibious Warfare School. He joined Orion Talent in 1998 as an Account Executive before becoming an Officer Recruiter.  Brian has served in a number of roles and is currently the Senior Vice President, Operations, where he is responsible for the officer recruiting teams in Orion’s five offices.

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