In my experience, reference checking is one of the best ways to determine a good fit for a potential employee or vendor. Unfortunately, when I have been asked to provide references as a potential employee or vendor, few have followed up to talk with the reference. Of the references who were interviewed, the conversations tended to be short. In some cases, the reference checker might have already made their decision and is just going through the motions. In other cases, the reference checker might be inexperienced at asking great questions.
In February I received this email below from my friend John Gilroy. I forwarded it to my team as an example of great email follow up. Whether you are in sales, are applying for a job, or just want to keep up your business network John offers a great template for email follow up.
This article is for project managers, people managers, free-lancers, software developers, consultants or anybody else that sells but does not have sales listed on their business cards. The selling or people management part of your job is least likely to be automated or outsourced to lower cost labor. With this in mind, below are my 6 tips for non-sales professionals.
The 7 levels of why is a technique that I originally believed I developed based on my own experimentation. In my experience, three levels of questions rarely get to the real cause of an issue. While I thought I learned this technique of questioning based on experience, I am an avid reader, and I am confident I originally learned this concept from a book or possibly several.
Asking questions builds more credibility than presenting facts or making statements. How would you feel if your doctor started the conversation with your nose is red you look like you have an headache. I am going to give you this shot A gooddoctor will start the conversation with diagnostic questions such as what brought you into the office or on a scale of 1-10 can you rate your pain? In the same way a great consultant or sales person builds credibility and later a relationship by asking great questions
Recently, I commented on a LinkedIn pulse article by my friend Shane Zide. My comment was as follows "Shane, I am a huge fan of the channel and partnerships that allow companies to deliver a complete solution to the customer problem. For the majority of my career, I have heavily leveraged the channel. Early in a company’s history I recommend a heavy focus on direct sales as the focus will be on selling to technology enthusiasts and early adopters."