How I Turned a “No” to a “Yes”: Getting Hired by Mark Cox

This is perhaps the most interesting story I’ve ever had in the hiring process, and when you read this, I want you to take away the importance of professional persistence:

               I finished University in the spring of 2019. Like many people starting their careers, I was in the conundrum that I needed experience to get experience, so to speak. With a couple summers worth of internship experience and just a piece of paper to my name, it was not going to be easy to stand out.

               In the process of applying to a few jobs, I spoke to my friend Marium who’s the head of marketing at In The Funnel. She mentioned there was an opening for a sales development representative, and if I was interested, she would help setup an interview.

               I was ecstatic to have that opportunity, as I had no other ins with the other companies I was applying to. I then sent in my resume.

               A couple days after I sent in my resume, I got an email from the owner of In The Funnel – Mark Cox. He wanted to setup an introduction phone call at the end of the week. I had this combination of excitement and fear of the unknown going through my head. 

               Eventually, Friday came around, and we had a phone call. We spoke for about 10 minutes, with general questions regarding what I was looking for in this job, and equally, what skillset I could bring into this job. What started out as an anxious call turned into a comfortable conversation over the span of a few minutes. We ended the conversation with Mark telling me he would be in touch.

               The next day, Mark sent me a follow up email to meet me at the In The Funnel office for an in person interview. Suddenly this started to feel very real, and I was absorbing as much as I could on the company as FAST as possible.  

               I then met Mark in person for the interview, and this was a bit more in-depth in nature. We chatted for about 30 minutes about what the specifications would be with my role as SDR, and Mark was vetting me more thoroughly throughout that process. I was not sure how I came across in the interview, and we left it on what appeared to be good terms – with Mark saying he would be in touch to see if I would come in for the final round.

Here is where things took a turn:

               About a week later I got an email from Mark saying;

“thanks for applying Marius, but we have a couple other candidates with sales experience, so, at this time so it would not be fair to put you through the process. Thank you for your interest and we’ll keep you on file for 6 months should anything else come up”.

               Suddenly, these expectations I had built up shattered. That was it. A two-week process over in one email. A sense of panic and dread came over me thinking where I should apply next. Yet, before I thought about that more seriously, I decided to give it one more try with the best sales pitch I could think of in an email…. I thought what the hell, I’ve got nothing to lose.

So I wrote back:

“Hi Mark, completely understand and respect your decision. In the event you’re still interested I’ve prepared a 15-minute pitch as to why I would be ideal in a sales role. I understand you want to go with someone who has more experience, but if you give me 15 minutes, I’m certain I can change your mind. If not, I’ll happily move on”

It took a few minutes, but within the hour Mark responded and decided to give me the chance – he would hear me out in a call.

This was the most amount of pressure I’ve ever had in a call, effectively make or break. If I did not convince him in those 15 minutes there would not be a follow up call. I had researched EVERY SINGLE DATA POINT I could find on In The Funnel, and I had practiced each point by point, trying to sound as composed and comprehensive as possible. Something, anything, to persuade him that I was a good fit.

The day of the call was a roller coaster, I never had that much adrenaline before making any type of call. The fear of rejection or losing my composure in the call was driving me mad, and all I could do was wait until the clock hit 11am.

Then I called him:

               I was unnaturally calm, weirdly calm. It was as if I completely disconnected from the pressure that was bearing down on me for the past few days.

               “Well Mark, I was reading your blog about this, I see you structure workshops that do this” and so forth. I kept going and going with point after point, and eventually Mark stopped me in the middle of my sentence and asked, “alright Marius, what do you want out of this call?”

              For a second I was stunned, I did not expect that question, and in the moment, I had no time to think so I was as direct as I could be:

“I want to know, if you’re still willing to give me the follow up interview”.

               There was a slight pause, and Mark said “Alright Marius, I think you earned the right to have that opportunity”.

               There was a moment of disbelief on my end, did that actually work? Was that really enough to convince him? Eventually we met for the final round where I presented what I could bring to the team.

               About a week later, I got the job.

All this is to say is persistence can pay off, and sometimes “no” might just mean “not right now” or “give me a compelling reason”. 

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By Marius Royal
Sales Development - In The Funnel