Elevator Pitch Tactics for Supply Chain Professionals
From your local coffee shop to a work happy hour to meeting your significant other’s friends for the first time, a typical first question in the US is: “So what do you do for a living?”
In the early 2000s, responding with “I work in Supply Chain” gave most people the “deer in the headlights” look. Many people knew the term but had little idea of the meaning.
Today, while the supply chain discipline is more widely known, it’s still important to quickly and effectively articulate what you do and the value you bring to your organization in simple and succinct terms.
It’s a good idea to have a quick 30-second elevator pitch prepared for ANYONE you meet, as you never who you encounter and how they could not only help you in your career but perhaps use your company’s services.
When developing your elevator pitch, be sure to keep these elements in mind:
- Clear- Especially in the supply chain world, be sure to use language that everyone understands. The more you break it down into layman’s terms, the better.
- Quick– Keep it short, as many people lose attention after 30 seconds.
- Engaging– Use attention-grabbing words that not only illuminates what you do but keeps the listener interested.
- Targeted– Be sure to have an outcome in mind. Are you trying to make a sale? Gain a prospect? Market yourself? You may have to tweak your pitch depending on the outcome.
Here some best practices and elevator pitch tactics to keep in mind:
Write Out What You Do
A great place to start is to just write what you do. Try to do this several different ways, and avoid editing at this point. The goal is to get as many variations of what you do down as possible.
A framework of a good elevator pitch can be used in a variety of situations – then modified for the specific situation; i.e. as a personal branding or corporate branding tool that can be used either in a business or social setting. What will be the purpose(s) of your pitch? Do you imagine you’ll be using one mostly for marketing yourself? Making a sale? Searching for a job? If you don’t know where to start, a good framework is below:
My name is (Name, Title, Company). I help (Target Audience) with (Unique Value Proposition/ Action Statement).
It’s important to note as well (depending on the goal) that you use terms which everyone can understand. In the supply chain discipline, there are many phrases or abbreviations that only fellow supply chain professionals would know, so you’ll want to customize your basic pitch framework for the audience.
Give Yourself Time to Reflect
What you might have now looks more like a group of thoughts than an elevator pitch. So it’s important to take a step back after developing your initial ideas before finalizing your pitch. A set of fresh eyes can make a difference. Elevator pitch tactics are wise to let it sit overnight if possible and take another look at it later.
Put Pieces Together
Read through what you’ve written. Highlight the top phrases and statements which compel you. What are the most powerful statements? Now you can combine the best pieces together. Now try to keep it to fewer than 50 words (typically less than 30 seconds) and don’t forget that there will be a few variations depending on the pitch purpose.
We’ll include a few variations of a supply chain recruiter’s elevator pitches with different deliverables depending on the audience/ goals:
- To Employers: “My name is John Smith. I’m an executive recruiter at SCM Talent Group and we specialize in partnering with companies seeking to build and optimize their supply chain organizations with top leadership talent.”
- Informal, asked what I do for a living: “I’m an Executive Recruiter at SCM Talent Group. I match top supply chain talent with leading organizations/ companies across the country.”
- To Job Seekers: “My name is John Smith. I’m an executive recruiter at SCM Talent Group and we specialize in helping professionals advance their supply chain careers.”
- To Supply Chain Professionals: “My name is John Smith. I’m an executive recruiter at SCM Talent Group and we specialize in finding our clients top talent to transform their supply chain organization.”
Be sure to support how what you do impacts your customer or client. As you can see, depending on whom the recruiter is engaging, the pitch changes slightly to compel or relate to that individual.
Record Yourself Reading the Pitch
Using your phone or a web service like Online Voice Recorder, record your new pitch(es). You can hear how it sounds, how long it takes you to deliver, etc. This will help you to know what adjustments to make. Keep in mind adjustments can also be in the delivery (intonation, pauses, non-verbal cues…).
Practicing your pitch on “safe” audiences such as close coworkers or friends or relatives can be useful. Often times they can see or hear nuances which you may not. A pitch can evolve over time as well. As your situation changes and your experience grows, so does how you present yourself.
Make Final Edits
Cut as many unnecessary words as possible. The goal is 30 seconds maximum. Get your point across with a clear call to action/ deliverable at the end. Be clear, to the point, engaging, and targeted. Remember Mark Twain: “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” This applies to verbal communications as well. You’ll want to practice until you can commit to memory and comes naturally.
Don’t Stop Improving!
Continually improve; listen for more creative or attention-grabbing phrases that might make your elevator pitch more clear and impactful. You, your business, and your goals likely will change over time.
If you’re looking for more advice specific for supply chain professionals, reach out to us! Whether you are in procurement, manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, planning, or even support functions such as HR or finance, we are the leading source for supply chain career advice!