In my last post, I suggested a 5-step SMART approach to conversations with your general networking contacts. Here’s a sample fictionalized script taken from a real-world client situation, to help you flesh out your own dialogues.
In your Opening, introduce yourself and mention who referred you.
Jane Bremer of Fairfield Health Systems suggested I contact you. Jane and I attended the University of Minnesota together, and she suggested you might be someone I could speak to about medical device firms in the Minneapolis – St. Paul metro area.
Summarize your message (2 minutes)
Use your professional goal, positioning statement and, if necessary, your exit statement.
Post acquisition of the Dryden Corporation, my position as Regulatory Affairs / Quality Assurance Manager was eliminated. I have specific strengths in compliance, protocol and risk management. I’m now looking for a new position in related areas within the medical device industry. I think I’m a strong candidate in either in-house management or consulting positions because …
Marketing plan (3-4 minutes)
Talk about your marketing plan and provide a copy of your target list.
As you can see from my marketing plan, I’m conducting my search in the Minnesota Twin Cities area. I think medical device companies of more than 500 employees to be likely targets for an in-house position. I would consider any size company as an entrepreneurial consultant, including startups. I’ll also pursue consulting firms of any size. You’ll see that my plan outlines a list of organizations fitting my size and geographic criteria in each of the three categories.
Ask questions (10-15 minutes)
Ask about organizations on your target list and their concerns, problems, strengths, successes and people, etc.
- Which of these three categories are you familiar with?
- Which companies or firms are you familiar with in that category? What do you know about them?
- Do you know of any that have regulatory affairs or quality concerns?
- Have you ever used a regulatory or quality management consulting firm?
- Do you know anyone who might have?
- Are you familiar with the _____ industry?
- Can you think of any other organizations I should have on my list?
- What do you know about ….?
- How would I find out more about that?
- Do you know who’s in charge of that?
- Do you know someone who might know more?
- What is your opinion of …?
- What are the biggest issues they are facing right now? What have their recent successes been, to your knowledge?
Referrals (3-6 minutes)
Ask for introductions to others who might have more information on the organizations you discussed. When possible, ask for introductions to target company insiders, including hiring managers.
You said that you knew a couple of people at Siemens Medical and someone at Parker Consulting. These are exactly the kind of people I want to talk to. I want to find out more about who is doing what in medical device regulatory affairs and quality assurance. Would you be willing to introduce me to them?
Trade information (2-3 minutes)
Always try to give your conversational collaborator useful information. Make the conversation a two-way street whenever possible.
I’ll send you the link to that blog post we discussed on change leadership during merger situations, and I’ll send you Patrick’s phone number and email. I think you’ll appreciate hearing what he has to say about your major account’s latest “want” list.
In your CLOSING, you can say something like this:
I so appreciate your taking time with me today; and your willingness to introduce me to Garth Brownfield, Mary Stuart and Paul Stout. Would you be willing to email them so they’ll be expecting my call? I’ll let you know how the meetings go. Thanks again!
Your conversations with general contacts can open many doors to opportunities. Using this method should help keep you on track to move forward and give back. A win-win!