Lesson 5, Session 2
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Let’s get proactive

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We mentioned earlier that your approach to managing your career should be a continuous activity and that you should be proactively targeting your ideal clients/ employers in order to be in their thoughts should an opportunity arise to engage with you.

However, you don’t want to become a ‘pain in the neck’, do you?  We have all had experience of people contacting you every day trying to sell you something – it doesn’t end well!  As such, we need to avoid this!  However, it is not hard to do with a little thought and planning.  And this is where the CRM tool comes in.

Keep a record of every interaction that you have with the individual – be that in person, on the phone, via email or via social media and don’t make too many contacts until you’ve established a connection.

How to approach someone ‘cold’

There are three lessons when approaching someone ‘cold’;

  • Never attempt to sell them anything – that’s like making a marriage proposal on a first date – weird!
  • Never assume anything – at this stage, you know very little about the actual person, only the stuff that you have collated in your research. 
  • Never get too personal – present yourself as you would at an interview.  Remember first impressions really do count – your initial approach and the way that you conduct it can have a lasting impression

When approaching someone for the first time;

  • Acknowledge something that you have read or seen about them – maybe an article that they have written or been quoted in.  This breaks down the barriers a little by focusing on them and not you
  • Offer an idea – ideally this would link to the item mentioned above and is aimed at initial engagement on an area of common interest.  Be brief and to the point and then ask for their thoughts/ comments – again, this is all; about creating engagement
  • Offer information – by being seen to be open and sharing ideas/ information, the recipient will not feel as threatened as they would with a direct sell type approach.  The information offered should be relevant and of potential interest to them. Don’t only offer information that you have created, direct them to third party materials – this will position you as an authority in the area of focus.
  • Offer introductions – your network is a valuable asset and it may be that you know someone that would be really valuable to the organisation/ hiring manager that you are approaching – again, this will completely change their perception of you – you will now be seen as someone who can add value through the people that you know
  • Don’t be too pushy in asking for meetings/ introductory calls but invite them to set something up by asking them to ‘get back in touch if you would like to discuss the idea further/ access the background on the information in more detail/ arrange a virtual introduction etc. 
  • Connect with them on all relevant social media sites – Twitter and Linkedin as a minimum as these will be the media that they will probably share more posts.  As Facebook tends to be more personal, you may feel that it’s not appropriate to request connecting on that platform – some people have had great success but it’s a personal style thing.
  • Actively engage with them on social media – comment and like their posts – remember every time you comment, they will receive a notification and if you have your social media accounts set up correctly, they will see your ‘elevator’ pitch in your descriptor! 

Once you have initial contact and engagement, again don’t be too pushy – always look to demonstrate how you can add value to them – share insights and look to line up referrals etc.  Over time, start to introduce more information on what you do and how you feel that you can help them with a particular issue/ challenge/ opportunity.  Again, don’t be overtly salesy, but rather offer to discuss their options in greater detail.

Once you can engage with them directly, then you have the perfect platform in which to demonstrate the value that you can offer them.