Ah the temp circuit. I’d been on it for about 8 months when I decided I needed a change. Something permanent. Something where I couldn’t turn up, having got up early, dressed smartly, got an expensive train and arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed only to be told “sorry, we don’t need you today and you won’t get paid”.

I’d had a fair few jobs of the typical temp nature. Some admin type stuff, some in nice companies, some in terrible places, and a lot of call centre work. Call centre work’s great for temps to make a bob or two particularly if they do a bonus scheme and you’re prepared to work hard for it.

It can be rubbish though. As a temp you generally get given the worst stuff. I particularly hated calling people at home. Ok, no-one wants to be disturbed at home but the way people reacted you would have thought I was calling to tell them I’d stolen their dog, rather than just trying to earn a meager living.

The business to business stuff I did, however, was different. Chatting to buyers at companies, IT people, Marketing Directors etc, about their business and how they could improve was quite rewarding. I even didn’t mind so much when I got the rude people who told you “not a chance”. It only made me more determined.

So I thought I was probably quite suited to a salesman’s life, so while I was still temping I started chatting to recruitment agencies and searching for sales jobs in Manchester, my hometown. My call centre work had given me great experience in the initial cold calling stage and working to targets, but I realised I had a lot to learn.

Working permanently for a company selling on their behalf means building up a pipeline, and it often means face to face meetings, presentations and sometimes even after-care, account management and upselling. I’d just been making calls, offering something and getting them to say yes or no, then and there.

So I practiced. I got friends, recruitment agencies, anyone who’d listen to watch me do presentations and give me advice about face to face communication. I looked at online resources and even paid for a half day training session in closing deals. Not only did this improve my skills, it should employers I was serious about being the best salesperson possible.

Most importantly, I prepared my case for why I believed I could do this. I had examples which I could back up, I had references, I had answers prepared to counter any objection. So I could close those interviews, and change my temporary work life for permanent, opportunity filled employment.

By Tobias

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