Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Elevator speech

I know the words above or the oft used alternative of “elevator pitch” has some people cringing already. They know few people want to listen to a speech that they didn’t ask to listen to and no one wants to be pitched to, unless they are standing at home plate. Others cringe at the mere thought of having to give a “speech” even if it is short with a limited audience.
When you look at what an elevator speech is designed to do, perhaps it should be called an introduction. Regardless of what it is called, the idea is to give an introduction to you, your product and/or your service in such a way as to generate interest in the other party.

How do you get the desired response of “I’d like to hear more,” “how do you do that,” “when can we discuss this in more depth,” “that’s exciting,” and ultimately “how can you help me?”

Start with what excites you about a person that is introducing themselves or their product or service. Is it their credentials? I doubt it. Is it their awards? Probably not. Is it their long or short history? Short is better than long in this case, but it still is not exciting. The thing that is going to be exciting to anyone and everyone is how the person makes your life better.  

Next, when you are crafting your introduction, get to the point immediately. Background information can come later, but if you haven’t gotten to the point you may have lost their attention (or they got off the elevator) and the point will be missed. This is not the time to do a set up for the point.

There is an old rule of thumb for putting a speech together: tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and tell them what you have told them. The repetition allows the message to be understood more completely and in today’s instant gratification and short attention span world, it means you get the message to them before losing their attention.

For the intro or elevator speech it looks like this; Tell them what you are going to tell them - I’m ___________. I or my product or service (create, enhance, solve… ) _______________ by __________________. If appropriate and time permits tell them (a story of where you or your product or service created, enhanced or solved…) ____________________________ and tell them what you told them.______________________________

So it comes out like this: I’m John McClung. I help companies increase their revenues by strategically changing their offerings, marketing and sales. (If I have to stop right here, I’ve made the essential point and if they want to increase revenues, they are ready for more) By changing the offerings of a wholesale distributor I was able to increase direct revenues by approximately $24,000,000. Changing the marketing for a builder led to more than doubling their revenues and developing a local sales training program for a national real estate company resulted in record setting sales growth in a down market. I’d love to talk with you about how we could increase you revenues.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

All Star Support

Who is your "All Star" support group?

We all have one wether by design or default. They are the people we listen to on a regular basis. The real question is: Are you listening to the right people for the situation? Do you spend time only listening to the people that support your personal point of view? There is an old saying "misery loves company," so are you picking the folks that will commiserate with you? If we don't pick our "All Star" Support group, it's easy to fall into the traps like those above.

Everyone has different needs, but here is how I selected mine:
My wife is impacted and will impact any decision that I make about the future. Choose your spouse or significant other or chances are the changes won't work.
A great, but not close friend, because they support my success but are not mired down by the excuses that come with my personal life.
A great friend that is close, because they understand what fits me sometimes better than I do. It's important that this person be able to give you their complete honest opinion.
The job club or group is being counted as one in my "All Star" panel as they hold me accountable and bring an understanding of the task at hand.
A professional career counselor offers guidance and has been through this before with others.

In other words my "All Star" support group is supportive with no acceptance of excuses, and an understanding of the various pieces of my task and how they fit together.

What's your support group look like? Are they "All Stars?" Did you assemble the group for this purpose or was it by default?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The smallest details make the difference

How much better do you have to be than other high level competitors, to be the best? In 2008 it was proven that 1/100 of a second or less was all it took to be the best in the highest level of competition.

Currently when you are hunting for a job, you are in an intense competition. You are in a competition where you don’t get to judge yourself against your competitors. Most off the time, if you don’t get the job, you won’t be able to find out why you lost the competition. However all competitions, including this one have one thing in common; the winner will have at a minimum a SLIGHT EDGE over the loser(s).

The slight edge that matters is the one that is being measured. In job hunting that could be anything. Do you exhibit a slight edge over your biggest competitors? Do you project confidence? Do you project professionalism? Are you clear about your strengths? Do you look better, dress better, groom better? Is your resume the best it can be? Is it printed on appropriate paper and in a style that is suitable for the job? Do you practice key answers so that they flow out automatically and increase your confidence? How do you distinguish yourself from your competition?

At the end of the day, if a person talks to you and 3 of other job hunters, are they going to remember you? Will they think you had the slight edge? Will you fade into obscurity at the end of the day?

In 2008 Michael Phelps won a number of medals in swimming. Some say he is the greatest swimmer of all time. He has won more gold medals than any other Olympian. One of his most memorable races was the 100 meter butterfly which he won by 1/100th of a second. Do you remember the name of the swimmer that was 1/100th of a second behind?

Monday, August 22, 2011


There are certain words that say a lot and nothing at all. We’ll look at “incredible” and what I mean by that in a second. There are also words that mean nothing and say a lot, just by the fact that we use them. 
An example of this second category is “fine.” I use the word fine even though I know that it is generally worthless. Someone greets you with “how are you?” Thinking, maybe knowing, that they really are just saying “hello,” you answer “fine” and ask the same question to them. They may say something like “fine” or maybe they say “good” meaning “Thank God this conversation is over” or “I really don’t have time to talk to you right now.”
Even if you really don’t have time to talk, everyone understands the meaning and well, those messages are sort of draining, depressing - they’re NEGATIVE. You’ve given of negative energy and what do you get back in return, more negative energy. In other words a drain on you.
It could be that you were just trying to keep a stiff upper lip, as in; “My day is terrible, but I don’t want to burden you with it.” You still get more negative energy, so now your day is worse.
Want to change the cycle? Substitute the word “fine” with “incredible.” Unless you are just the most boring person having the most boring day, which would be incredible unto itself, there is something incredible about your day. In other words you can say it because it is not a lie. You and your day may be incredibly good, incredibly bad or maybe just incredibly normal, but there is something incredible going on.
John Lennon sang “the more love you give, the more love you get.” Love is energy that we manifest and I would argue that almost any other energy we share works the same way. Haters, doom and gloomers and nay-sayers beware!
The thing is that these days, people that harness energy recognize that polarizing the energy makes things work better. Yet there are still things that work quite well regardless of polarity. That’s incredible. No really, “Incredible” could be positive, it could be negative, it works well with either polarity and the result is it come back as POSITIVE ENERGY.
On what may have been the worst day in my life, time will tell, I was asked no less than 5 times traditional variants of “how are you” and responded with “INCREDIBLE.” By the end of the day the positive energy that came back was so great that I’m not sure it wasn’t the best day of my life. Now that really is incredible.
So the next time someone asks you “How’s your day” or any variant, answer with the best smile you can muster INCREDIBLE! It will make your day better.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

You're in business now!

Hi welcome to the BUSINESS OF ME. I’m not here to talk about myself, and I’m not doing this to talk about the “me” generation. This is not about me getting a job or some journey that I want to document in a journal publicly. I’m not a journal type of guy, so there would be huge gaps.

This IS about you. This IS about the fact that each person looking for a job/career IS in business for themselves, and for each of you, that IS THE BUSINESS OF ME. See many of us put the customer and the business first. Well, that’s what you need to demand of you.

The first step is to understand that you are in business now. You need to tape a note on the mirror and look at it each morning that says “I’m in the business of me.”  OK, you can substitute your name for “me.”

So what does every business have? It has a boss. You ARE that boss. It normally has functional jobs such as marketing, where they figure out where the customers are, and how to get them to recognize their brand, it has a sales job that follows up the marketing group and directly talks to the customer, there is administrative and HR folks that make sure that everything is tracked and documented, and there is the product.

  •           You are the President
  •      You are the Director of Marketing
  •      You are the Sales Force
  •      You are the Admin
  •      You are the HR department and ultimately

So each morning when you look in the mirror, you need to know that you are in business. It is THE BUSINESS OF ME.

This blog will discuss topics related to marketing functions, selling skills, motivating the sales force, packaging the product and protecting the business. I really appreciate comments, because that’s how I learn. If you think you have an idea for a post, let me know. Better yet if you want to post, contact me and let’s get you credited.

Getting people in the right seat on the right bus is good for us all. When you are in the right seat on the right bus, you are happier, more productive and resources (you) are being used efficiently. I’m convinced this is the way things such as the economy, government, businesses and our lives will improve. It’s all up to the Business of Me, starting with the face that looks back at you in the mirror.

It’s a blessing

I don’t know what set of circumstances led you to be where you are in life. I don’t know wether you are unemployed, underemployed or wrongly employed. Unless you are just an interested bystander, you like me are looking for another job or better yet a new career. That’s a blessing.
Let me explain. Regardless of what category you fit in, you have an opportunity to move forward. Life is not judged by the results we get, it’s judged by how we react to those results. You can mourn for what you have lost, but if you stay mired in it, it’s still lost. So have your little pity party. It’s OK. You deserve it.                                        Now that that is over, it’s time to realize that you have an opportunity. 
See this as the blessing that it is and realize that if you were not at this point, right now, you wouldn’t be having the chance to find the perfect job.  
My friend and a person that I am glad to call a mentor, Dave Carpenter, pointed this out to me recently. He told me a story of a fabulously successful, by most standards, business person that resigned his job. When queried about where he was going, he said he didn’t know. His boss, certain that this meant he was going to a competitor pressed for more info. The boss, a successful, by most standards, head of a very prestigious company was finally convinced that the resignation was not for another job, but to avoid “selling his soul” to the job he had. A strange thing happened. The boss broke down crying. The boss had sold his soul to the job. This successful, by many standards, head of this wonderful company didn’t feel there were alternatives. 
We have those alternatives and that truly is a “blessing.”