How To Develop And Use Personal Commercials

Jim Morgan, a 31 year old marketing manager from Cleveland Ohio, introduced himself at a meeting of the Irvine California Chamber of Commerce, attended by over a hundred members and guests, using a short personal commercial.  In his personal commercial he indicated that he had expertise in marketing consumer goods, had increased the sales of several product lines over 30 percent, and was relocating to the Irvine area.  Then Jim asked if anyone at the meeting knew of a company with declining sales, or if they were aware of a company planning a new product introduction.  At the end of the meeting Jim had five leads, one of which led a marketing position several weeks later.  Jim Morgan not only knew how to market consumer goods, he knew how to market himself using a personal commercial

At the beginning of outplacement seminars I ask individuals to tell me what they do for a living Most men and women will tell me they are an accountant, or engineer, or operations manager, or human resource manager, etc..  Occasionally they will embellish this with a title like Vice President of Operations, or Chief Financial Officer, or some equally prestigious sounding phrase.  After listing to a dozen responses I’ll turn to the audience and ask a simple question.  Did they tell me what they do, or did they give me a job title?  Everyone immediately recognizes that the responses did not indicate what they did.

When networking for business or career development we need to go beyond the few words that describe our profession or title by developing a personal commercial.  For example, my title is Career Management and Outplacement Consultant.  However, if you ask me what I do, I would respond by saying that “I help executives, technical, and management level men and women find their next position as quickly as possible and then maximize their long term career potential.”  What do you do?  Can you say it quickly and succinctly?  If not you need to develop a personal commercial.

Your Personal Commercial should ideally be 30 seconds, with 45 seconds as the absolute limit.  The following four step model should help you develop one quickly.  To help you I will use my personal commercial as a model.

Step 1.  Your career field and/or title?

My career field/title: Career Management and Outplacement Consultant

Step 2.  In 25 to 30 words describe what you do.

Again, using myself as an example:

I help executives, technical, and management level men and women find their next position as quickly as possible and then maximize their long term career potential.”

Now add another sentence that will communicate a better idea of what you do by giving information about the level, range, or scope of your experience.  It is helpful if you can quantify your experience, as numbers add impact and believability.  Here for example is what I use:

“In that capacity I have worked with recent college graduates to executives earning $350 thousand annually, and companies ranging in size from start-up to Fortune 50.”

Here are some more examples to help you complete step 2 of your Personal Commercial:

“In that capacity I have closed sales from $5 to $5 million.”

“In that capacity I have been in charge of budgets ranging from $200 thousand to $100 million.”

“In that capacity I have been in charge of facilities anywhere from a few thousand square feet to 300,000 square feet.”

Step 3.  Describe exactly what you are looking for.

Many job hunters are not specific enough in describing the type of position they are seeking, usually because they fear missing out on opportunities.  The reality is that people are not likely to offer contacts if they do not know exactly what you want.  If I were looking for a job here is what I might say:

“Currently I’m looking for a position as a senior consultant with a large national outplacement company with offices in Orange County California where I can work with senior executives from Fortune level companies.”

Notice how specific you should be.  Briefly describe the job function and the level of the position you want, and the geographic location.  If you are willing to relocate, say so, “For the right position I am willing to relocate anywhere on the West Coast,” or wherever in the nation or the world you would relocate.

Step 4.  Ask about organizations with problems you can cure.

99.8 percent of the time when a job hunter ask anyone if they know of an opening they get a blank expression followed by the word “no”.  A much more effective approach is to ask about problems you can solve, and to ask using an open ended question.  This is exactly what Jim Morgan did.  He did not ask, “does anyone know of an opening for a marketing manager,” a closed ended question that can be answered yes or no. Instead he used an open ended question focused on problems he could solve.

“Who do you know who may be aware of an Orange County Company experiencing declining sales? or who do you know that may be aware of a company planning a new product introduction?”

Using the four steps and the examples above, write a draft of a personal commercial for yourself.  Once you have created a draft read it into a tape recorder and listen to it and time it.  Revise it as many times as you need to until it is between 30 and 45 seconds and gets your message across.  Then learn it so well that you can go through it confidently in groups like chambers of commerce or professional associations.  Learn it so well that you can drop elements of it into one-on-one conversations.  If you develop, rehearse and use a personal commercial you will be amazed at the contacts you will make.

Published in: on January 5, 2010 at 2:12 am  Leave a Comment  

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