In 1988, he trained you to navigate shark-infested waters in the runaway best-seller Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, and Outnegotiate Your Competition.
In 1990, he warned you about the naked man who tried to sell you his shirt: Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt: Do What You Love, Love What You Do, and Deliver More Than You Promise.
By 1993, he was shark-proofing your job search, Sharkproof: Get the Job You Want, Keep the Job You Love... in Today's Frenzied Job Market.
In 1997 he taught you the value of digging your well before you are thirsty: Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You'll Ever Need.
Two years later, he was back on the New York Times best-seller list with Pushing the Envelope All the Way to the Top.
During the last two weeks, Harvey embarked on a multicity tour (riding high in a private jet) to promote his latest book, Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door: Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You (Portfolio Hardcover, 2010).
I recently had a chance to spend an hour with Harvey in his New York hotel suite (St. Regis) to talk about his latest and greatest book. Check out this six-minute video.
While his new book focuses on getting a job in this tough economy, Harvey also offers great advice for keeping the job you have.
More advice from Harvey
On networking: Avoid "working the room." Greeting someone while looking over that person’s shoulder for the next person you'll talk to is no way to build a network, Mackay says.
"I don't all of a sudden come in, shake hands with you, say, 'How do you do?' then let my eyes wander right over your shoulder to meet the next person. Just deep-six it. Scrap it," he says.
Instead, he recommends trading quantity for quality. "When I go into a room, I will have a meaningful conversation and dialogue with just several people during an event.”
On hiring top performers: “Much more scarce than ability is the ability to recognize ability,” he says. “So what can you do if this talent is not hardwired into you? For one thing, I’ve never hired anyone without sending him or her to an industrial psychologist. Say you’re concerned about a candidate’s work ethic. You’re not sure if this person is a hungry fighter. You share those concerns with an industrial psychologist. Then in two to four hours of testing, you can zero in on those areas. And boy, is that exploratory work ever meaningful! I consider it a valuable investment. And remember, you’re not giving the decision over to the industrial psychologist; you’re just using this as another arrow in your quiver when making these critical decisions.”
On sales leadership: “The most important trait in a successful manager is leadership ability. And some people, even if they’re great sales reps, just don’t have that talent for leading. Too many business executives confuse leadership with authority. But leadership doesn’t mean barking orders and yelling at people; it doesn’t mean micromanaging people so that you monitor exactly what minute they walk in the door in the morning and when they walk out in the evening. No, a leader has to provide a vision for where the organization is going and then inspire people to follow, even if that path may not lead to every individual’s personal best interest.”
On the art of helping others: Ask not what your contact can do for you...the contacts you develop should be beneficial to you – and you to them. If you want your contacts to help you, you should do all you can to help them.
Mackay says former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz is a shining example: "Lou Holtz understands networking as well as anyone I've ever met in my whole life," he says. "If there's any kind of chemistry between him and the person he's speaking with, before he says goodbye he'll say, 'What can I do for you? Is there any way I can be of any help to you?' That's from a guy who's as busy as the president. So isn't that a nice touch?"
On cold calling: "My whole philosophy of life," Mackay says, "is that people don't care how much you know about them once they realize how much you care about them."
In other words, strong networking relationships shouldn't be strictly business. "There are no cold calls at Mackay Envelope," Mackay claims. "We don't make cold calls. Before I call on your company, I'll know everything about it: whether it's privately or publicly held, how many factories you have, if you sell overseas, your product line, your strengths and weaknesses. Then I'll do everything to find out about you before I make a call – anything that might be a common denominator between us. That's why there are no cold calls."
A genuine interest in and desire to learn about other people is, in fact, one of your most successful selling tools.
Great quote: Grace Hopper, the first woman admiral in the US Navy, put it best: “You manage things, but you lead people.” That’s a lesson that every sales manager who wants to be successful has to learn. There is a big gap between a sales manager determined to make the numbers and a sales leader committed to making a difference.
Disclosure: Neither I nor Selling Power have a business relationship with Harvey Mackay or his company
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