The Interview: Pull Marketing in Your Job Search

Ford R. Myers and guest Susan R. Fletcher discuss how “Pull Marketing” helps you achieve your career potential.

SUSAN:
Can you explain the concept of pull marketing and how it’s different from the traditional ways of marketing yourself in the job search today, such as sending out resumes or contacting employers?

FORD:
Sure. Pull marketing is the exact opposite of push marketing. The traditional model is to push yourself out there – contacting employers, scheduling networking meetings, sending out resumes, going to job fairs. It’s very assertive.

The pull marketing concept is about drawing employers and recruiters to you through marketing methods, establishing your brand, building your credibility and visibility, and making it so that employers and recruiters really want to get in touch with you. Essentially, you’re presold because by the time they contact you, they want to talk to you and might want to bring you in for an interview.

SUSAN:
Wow! That’s a really different concept. Most of us are taught that we have to push, push, push to get a job. Isn’t that the case?

FORD:
Yes, that’s what we’re taught – but it’s actually not the case. I have found that the more you push and the more aggressive you are, the more that recruiters and employers back away from you. So by getting them to come to you, drawing them to you, it’s much, much more effective.

SUSAN:
You mentioned that there are only two ways to get a job – either go knocking with what you call push marketing, or have people come asking, which you say is pull marketing. How do you go about coaching your clients to have them embrace this idea of pull marketing?

FORD:
That’s a good question. The way I get the clients to buy into this idea is that I simply show them the results. I tell them stories about other clients who have embraced this model and the amazing results that they’ve been able to produce. It’s just so much more effective and efficient when it’s done correctly. So, the clients do need some coaching on how to do it right and what steps to take, but once we get that done, it’s amazing the kind of results that they can produce.

SUSAN:
Is pull marketing something new that’s just recently being done, or have we been doing this all along and not known it?

FORD:
I think some people, intuitively, might have been doing pull marketing. They might not have had a name for it. They might not have really known what they were doing strategically. But I coined this phrase and I formalized it in recent years, and I’ve been teaching it to clients ever since.

SUSAN:
I liked your statement that you wrote, “Nobody likes to be sold, but everybody likes to buy.” I can attest to that. I love to buy. But how does a job seeker resist the urge to sell? If I really need a job, I’m going to push myself.

FORD:
I know, I know. It’s true, but I have found that if you give a client a lot of help and support, if you hold them accountable, if you talk to them about patience and discipline, putting in a lot of the work up-front so they get better results later – then they learn to trust the process with the discipline and patience that I mentioned. Then they actually seem to embrace pull marketing, and they do very well with it most of the time.

SUSAN:
So what you’re saying is that with pull marketing, you want your candidates to be more visible and credible so that they attract the employers and recruiters to them.

FORD:
Right.

SUSAN:
How can they become more visible and credible?

FORD:
As I said before, you’re sort of presold. By the time the employer or the recruiter finds you, you’re already in. They already like you. They really want to talk to you and get to know you as a candidate. They even consider you “a real find!”

The methods to do this include such things as building your visibility and being very active on social media; writing articles and posting them wherever possible online or in print; giving talks or speeches in your niche; and joining professional organizations and becoming a leader in those groups to become highly visible and credible among the members.

SUSAN:
These are things you can start doing tomorrow just by getting out there and maybe pushing the boundaries, right?

FORD:
I think it’s true. And I think anybody can do this. This is not just for senior-level executives. It’s not just for well-known authors and experts in their fields. It’s for anybody who can embrace this pull marketing model. They can go far with this!

SUSAN:
You also mentioned one of the key critical behaviors that I found interesting, was “stop acting like an applicant and start acting like an expert.”

FORD:
Right. Think about an applicant. An applicant is someone who is applying for jobs. They’re desperate for a new opportunity. They’re nervous. They’re under pressure. It’s all about them. I need a job. I need a salary. You know what? The employers don’t care. What the employers care about is “what are you going to do for me, starting today?” Employers care about the employer’s needs, not the applicant’s needs. So, nobody likes an applicant. It’s just another resume on a stack of resumes.

However, if you can establish yourself as an expert and thought leader in your niche, then the interviewer, the employer or the recruiter gets interested because they see you now as a potential solution provider. Someone who can help them with their business problems and needs. Someone who they can get on board to provide value and bring a lot more to the company’s success. So, if you focus on your needs as an applicant, you won’t go very far, in my opinion. Focus on the employer’s needs and build that expert status. Build that credibility. That’s the way to get yourself into the pull marketing zone.

SUSAN:
You mentioned about being a problem solver. All employers are looking for someone to solve a problem. You mentioned the advice of “stop being a job seeker and be a problem solver.” How can we uncover some of these problems?

FORD:
As I said before, you want to be a solution provider or as you say, a problem solver. Absolutely right. How do you do that? Well, you first have to understand your audience. Understand your client. In this case, your client essentially is the employer. So, come at it more like a consultant, an expert, a thought leader. Ask probing questions about the employer’s needs, problems and challenges. Get under their skin a little bit. Get to their pain point. Get to understand how you can provide the most value. Solutions, helping, being of service. This is the right mindset for the candidate, instead of acting like a desperate applicant.

SUSAN:
So, it’s changing that whole thought mode to “I’m going to be a solution provider for you.” That’s a great point. You also mention social media. I’m pretty good at social media, but I’m not up there with the millennials. What advice would you give to help me attract more employers and increase my visibility if I’m not that great with social media. What could I do on a regular basis to really boost my visibility and pull people in?

FORD:
It’s all about engagement. When you’re on social media, it’s not just about creating a pretty profile and then leaving it there for the next year. You want to engage. You want to be actively involved in online conversation with people. In the professional world, LinkedIn is the 800 pound gorilla. You’ve got to be tuned-in to LinkedIn if you’re managing your career or looking for a new opportunity. It’s basically all about LinkedIn at this point. So, on LinkedIn, one way to engage is to write articles or posts and put them up on your feed or in your LinkedIn groups.

You can also be interacting with others, responding or commenting or liking their posts. You can also get very involved in posting things such as slide presentations, articles or videos on your own LinkedIn profile. There are so many ways to be actively engaged on LinkedIn. The goal here, again, is to show yourself as a thought leader, as a person who’s engaged in your own market, your own niche.

Put your ideas out there. Post your articles. Comment on other people’s posts and they can then begin to see that you have a voice in your marketplace. You’re someone they need to pay attention to. You’re building credibility slowly, building your visibility, and that will matter in the long run.

SUSAN:
Great. That will “pull” them, so to speak.

FORD:
Exactly.

SUSAN:
One question I have. Say I’m a job seeker. I’m on LinkedIn. In my headline, should I put “currently looking for positions” or should I put “expert?” Which is preferred to let people know you want an opportunity or that you’re an expert? What advice do you give?

FORD:There is some debate about this, but I have really come to the conclusion that it’s not a good idea to put right in the top of your LinkedIn profile “looking for a new job” or “currently in transition.” I don’t think that’s a good idea because think about it – experts, thought leaders – they’re not looking for a new job. Employers are trying to get them to work for them. They’re being recruited constantly.

If you’re an expert with high credibility and visibility, you don’t want to advertise the fact that you’re out of work and looking for a job. Instead, just promote your expertise. If you’re an expert in operations or technology implementation or whatever it may be, put that right under your name in your LinkedIn profile. Don’t say, “Looking for new opportunity.”

SUSAN:
When I think of Pull Marketing, one thing that goes through my mind is, people want what they can’t have. So is Pull Marketing kind of like having a little mystique and making them come to you? Is that along the same lines?

FORD:
I think there’s a little bit of that; certainly they’re intrigued. There’s something about you, or what you’ve said, or what you’ve posted, that has captured their attention, they want to learn more. So there’s a little bit of that intrigue or mystique, yes.

SUSAN:
Please give an example of a client who you’ve worked with who implemented this strategy – what they started with, and how they used pull marketing to help them in their career.

FORD:
Actually, I can give you two quick examples. I had one client who really embraced the idea of posting articles. I had to help him get into the mode of writing articles, and I helped him with the editing. But, at the end of the day, he wound-up with three or four great articles – really good, concise business articles related to his niche.

He posted one article and he got pretty good attention, pretty good response online, mainly on LinkedIn. Then he posted a second article, and he got an avalanche of responses. I mean, thousands of responses, it was really quite amazing. And so now he was engaging with hundreds of people, back and forth. It took a lot of his time, but it yielded connections with many interested employers and recruiters. He was getting appointments, he was getting requests to come in for interviews all over, and it was amazing how it opened floodgates of opportunities for him. The other person I wanted to mention, was a woman who joined two or three professional organizations. She became President of two of them – not right away, but after about six months. So there she was at the front of the room, introducing speakers, on their newsletter, on their website. She was perceived as an expert in her business community. She also now had an army of advocates, because whenever a job opportunity came down the pike, 30, 40, 100 people would say, “Oh, you should talk to so and so. She’s the one you want to talk to!” She had a lot of different opportunities coming her way, by virtue of using the pull marketing methods.

Both of these clients experienced first-hand what I had told them – that it’s much better to have employers and recruiters chasing after you, rather than you always having to chase employers and recruiters!

SUSAN:
I’m sure these two clients built a lot of confidence too, which made them more marketable in the job search.

FORD:
Absolutely right.

SUSAN:
Great information. Thank you.

FORD:
And thank you!

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, television and radio networks. He has also conducted presentations at many companies, associations and universities. Learn more at www.CareerPotential.com or contact Ford directly at 1-800-972-6588.

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