Elevator Pitch

iStock_000007269826XSmallYour elevator pitch is a twenty-to thirty-second statement that tells networking contacts and company decision makers that you have what it takes to resolve their outstanding problem(s). It’s centered on your branded value proposition, what you offer, what you bring to the table. As such, it’s an extraordinarily valuable networking and selling tool.

It acquired its name from the concept of accidentally meeting a decision maker or valuable networking contact in an elevator, recognizing it as a golden opportunity, introducing yourself, and in about thirty seconds telling him who you are and describing your value proposition. The assumption is that if you have captured the interest of the decision maker or contact, the conversation will continue after you both have left the elevator.

Your elevator pitch will need to be tailored to the individual networking contact or decision maker, recognizing that they all have different needs and varying agendas. If you’re networking socially, you can use your elevator pitch when you hear this request: So, what do you do? Your elevator pitch is a great way to immediately let your contact know what you’re passionate about (your brand), what you do for companies, and how that combination will add to his luster by suggesting a great job candidate (you) for a job opening.

You can also use your elevator pitch when you hear this request: Tell me about yourself.

If you’ve networked your way into your target company, you can use your elevator pitch to expand on your value proposition in detail. And that’s exactly what you want. You want to demonstrate that you have a thorough grasp of the problem(s) facing the company by describing in enough detail how you’ve handled similar problems before and how you’re ready to handle those same kinds of problems starting on day one of a new job.

Here’s an example of an elevator pitch a job candidate made to a contact within his target company who said, “Tell me about yourself.”

“John, thanks for your interest. I’ve had twenty- five years in pivotal roles reducing costs for the three companies I’ve worked for. With my current employer, as vice president of manufacturing, I’ve trimmed the labor force by 23 percent, reduced warranty costs 18 percent, and cut finished goods inventory by a third. I would like to show you specifically how I achieved every one of those cost reductions. Is this a good time?” (That last question in an interview shows you’re ready to close the sale. Don’t leave it up to chance. Try to move directly into describing exactly how you accomplished those cost reductions.)

Of course, that pitch assumes the contact’s or decision maker’s biggest problem is excess costs. If your contact is an experienced quality professional you’ll want to emphasize how you reduced warranty costs, and if the contact is an inventory professional, you’ll want to emphasize inventory control along with measures you installed that resulted in an inventory reduction, and so on. The point is to be ready to tailor your elevator pitch to the individual networking contact or decision maker, recognizing that each may have different needs and varying agendas.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.

*This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

Seven Ways to Keep in Touch with Your Contacts

bigstockphoto_Global_Community_4404997Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone recommends that you build your network before you need it and keep in touch with your network on an ongoing basis. He also recommends that you periodically connect with each of your contacts to keep abreast of their initiatives and to share yours.

To do this efficiently and effortlessly, you want to enter or import your contacts into an electronic database. You’ll need the capability to enter contact information, miscellaneous notes and dates that are important to you, and the names, addresses, phone numbers (including Skype or FaceTime), and email addresses of your contacts.

What follows are a few ideas that may help you stay in touch with your network:

1. Email a newsletter that tells your contacts about your most recent activities. If your contacts don’t hear from you on a regular basis they’ll assume you no longer need their help, or that you’re no longer interested in helping them. Of course, if you have hundreds in your network you might want to consider using an e-news service provider such as Aweber, ConstantContact, MyEmma, or use a similar newsletter distribution program.

2. Invite your contacts to join you on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Between newsletters, use these sites to broadcast a brief, 140-character message regarding your status. Your newsletter will allow you to communicate your thoughts and status in detail and the 140-character postings will allow you to keep people up to date on a more frequent basis – but only if they approve. Get their permission first.

3. Send a link to your contacts when you see their names mentioned on the Internet. This may be an article or press release that quotes or features them. It might be an announcement for awards they received, speaking engagements, tournaments they won, or charitable contributions they made. Whatever the case, show them that you’re genuinely interested in them.

4. Send links to your contacts containing information they would enjoy reading about or information that would be valuable to them. To help you effortlessly find this type of information, set up RSS feeds using a news aggregator application such as Feedly. Then all you need to do is copy and paste the link into an email and send it to your contacts.

5. Send greeting cards for important business and personal dates in their lives. These might be employment anniversaries, graduation dates, special awards, certification achievements, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, children’s birthdays, and so on. For this initiative you can use SendOutCards (US) or JacquieLawson

6. For your contacts who publish blogs, post a few comments on their blogs occasionally. While blogs are a public forum (meaning don’t post personal information), they allow you to show your contacts that you’re thinking of them.

7. Pick up the phone and call your contacts at least every three to four months.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.

 *This article may be republished with written permission.  If you are interested in posting this article on your blog, please email me at Beverly@HarveyCareers.com.  I will respond within 2 business days with my required signature and credits.

 

What is Networking?

iStock_000002118196XSmallNetworking is about building relationships and making connections with people who will lead you to jobs. What makes it especially effective is its quid-pro-quo aspect: it’s about helping others who can also help you. Bear in mind that it’s a process, and not a hit-and-run action.

Networking is based on the tested theory of six degrees of separation which states there’s a chain of no more than six people that links every person on the planet to every other person. The beauty of the technique is that you start with a series of contacts, and that series leads you to other contacts, which lead you to others until you’ve located an executive position. The progress is geometric because every lead can open the door to two or three other leads, and your initial contacts mushroom.

Categorize the people you want to network with according to three lists:

  • People of high influence in your job search
  • People who know you well and have some influence
  • Individuals of influence who may not know you well, but who could be helpful.

Networking Sources

Today, we’re lucky to have so many diverse ways to develop, nurture, and connect with our network. Consider, for example, these online and offline venues:

Online Networking

Career-focused membership websites that offer online member-to-member networking include ExecuNet, RiteSite, 6 Figure Jobs.

Professional and business networking websites that focus on building a network of contacts that lead to business and job opportunities include LinkedIn, Xing, Viadeo.

Online business communities

There are thousands of associations that host online and face-to-face networking events. Weddles Association Directory can help you find one in your industry.

Blogs

There are hundreds of blogs published by CEOs and senior-level management executives. By posting to their blogs, you are able to have a dialog with them and position yourself for one-on-one networking opportunities. For a list of blogs check out TheNewPR/Wiki’s “Who’s blogging/podcasting”.

Harvey Mackay, in his book Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, recommends that to manage your network properly, you should contact each person every three months. He writes: “[Your] network provides a path, a way of getting from point A to point B in the shortest possible time over the least possible distance.” One of his maxims proclaims, “A network is an organized collection of your personal contacts and your personal contacts’ own networks. Networking is finding fast, whom you need, to get what you need, in any given situation, and helping others do the same.”

Bottom line: It’s all about being proactive, making the appropriate connections, and adopting an attitude of give and take.

This brief article is an excerpt from, Landing An Executive Position.