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Know Your Buyer

Buyers are motivated when they hear a message that matches what they need. Here's some insight on how to do that for each role you pursue.

If you talk to anyone who works at a start-up, you will find that the sole focus is on finding and convincing client to buy.
 
The successful start-ups are the ones who identify the client’s need, what gets them to act and how to tell them.   Often the same product can be used by different types of clients, so it’s important to understand each client’s need.
 
Take the mobile phone: Adults talk. Teens text. If you listen to the ads, same device, very different messages about what the mobile phone does for each group.
 
Take the CFO position: No two companies define the role exactly the same (different boards, CEO, philosophy, etc.). This is true for all positions: Same skill set, just applied differently for each company.
 
Going back to the ads, same phone, presented with a different message to the each audience served.
When we deliver our ad, better known as our resume or pitch, it’s where most of us miss the opportunity to match it to the buyer, better known as the hiring manager. 
 
I used the same resume for every CFO role I applied to until I realized that someone else was translating how my accomplishments and experiences would fit their company needs. That’s a big stretch and it just was not happening. I had to do it myself.
 
What I also realized is that the best person does not always get the job. It’s often the person who can best tell their story who gets the job. I know this can sound like a parlor trick, but it’s because the company can clearly see how that person fits because they took the time to make it clear on how they addressed both the needs and fit how they do business.  
 
GOOD IDEA: Create different resumes for different roles.
 
IMPLEMENTATION ROADBLOCK FOR GOOD IDEA: Too many edits.  A common risk of continuous rewrites is that new ideas get edited in after each application. The result is your resume loses clarity. The alternative of writing a new resume or pitch for each role is that you may not have enough time.
 
SOLUTION FOR ROADBLOCK FOR GOOD IDEA: Make a resume that fits the type of company/role you seek – this gives you a great starting point for each role, so it’s easier to customize – because you will have many of the important aspects (cultural fit, experience, etc.). 
 
I have four resumes: Mid-size private (CFO), Family-owned (CFO), Large global public firm (Divisional VP) and start-up firm (CFO). For example, my start-up firm resume emphasizes my fundraising skills.
 
To customize your resume, start by writing the company needs that the role will help address. Next, write down the duties of the role. Lastly, write down what skills needed to perform those duties. You can do this in less than a page, but it is your guide on how to alter your resume or pitch.
 
FINAL TEST BEFORE YOU DELIVER: The best lesson I received in marketing was “Your clients don’t buy your products; they buy what your products do for them”. Once you finish customizing your resume for a role – ask yourself if your resume or pitch makes that statement true.
 
Good luck today.
 
Mark