Article, Executives Pitch Your Value Proposition and Win Top Opportunities by Sharon Graham :

Executives: Pitch Your Value Proposition And Win Top Opportunities
Sharon Graham


You’ve just heard about an upcoming opening for a chief executive officer. You know that you are the perfect fit – and you have an “in.” Quickly, you pick up the phone and ask to be brought forward. But, your contact’s next question stops you in your tracks: “I’m glad to present you to the board. Tell me, what distinguishes you from other qualified CEO’s out there?”


At any one time, many senior-level professionals are competing for a single prized job opening. For every quality position advertised, employers are inundated with phone calls and resumes. Instead of just describing your background, you need to sell your qualifications. To stand apart, you must know, and be able to articulate, a message that conveys your distinguishing value.


Marketing yourself is not very different than marketing anything else. You are “the product” and your potential employer is your “target market.” To present yourself as worthy of “purchase” by the employer, you need a powerful “sales pitch” – what marketers call your value proposition.


The first step in creating your unique value proposition is to understand your target market and its buying motivators. An employer opens up positions for many reasons: It might be hoping to find someone who can help a company meet business objectives, attain bottom-line results, and/or create new avenues for growth. So, focus on understanding exactly what your target market wants to achieve. Once you know that, you can highlight qualifications you have that will resolve those needs. Focus on expressing in a clear, concise way the distinct strengths that you bring, which position you ahead of your competition.


Here’s an example of how one CEO used value proposition theory to his advantage.


1. The first thing he did was determine what he could offer a potential employer in return for the compensation he is worth. In this CEO’s case, the employer could benefit financially from him because he has strong relationships with multimillion-dollar customers in the employer’s sector (automotive). He also has a knack for penetrating new markets; he has successfully introduced a number of innovative products.


2. Next, he determined that he could support this statement through his qualifications – more than 10 years of experience in general management and sales leadership within the automotive manufacturing industry combined with a masters of business administration.


3. Finally, he honed in on the qualities that he felt best distinguished him from the rest of his potential competitors. His additional offerings turned out to be his extensive experience in implementing best practices and the fact that he is an industry expert and a keynote speaker on lean manufacturing strategies.


The CEO then incorporated his value proposition into his resume profile: “Dynamic executive with a talent for driving leading-edge innovations to market and developing profitable relationships with multimillion-dollar customers in the automotive sector. Industry expert and keynote speaker on lean manufacturing strategies with a career-long record of implementing best practices to ensure organizational success.”


This CEO integrated his brand message with a clear tagline on all his marketing material: “Automotive manufacturing leader, creating corporate value by driving leading-edge innovations to market.” This tagline appeared on his business card, cover letter, networking letters, presentation, reference page, business case, and thank-you letter.


Develop your value proposition and brand message today by answering these three questions:


1. Exactly how will your employer benefit financially from hiring you?


2. What special experience or credentials do you bring to the table?


3. What additional talents do you offer that distinguish you from the competition?


Once you have answered these questions, you can develop a strong sales pitch to present in networking meetings, in interviews, in presentations – and whenever a career marketing opportunity arises. From the value proposition, you can also extrapolate a strong profile for your resume and create a slogan or tag line. Utilize your value proposition in all your self-marketing media.


To market yourself, you must deliver a consistent brand message. This is accomplished by using your value proposition as the theme throughout your career transition efforts and supporting documents. In this way, you will be able to deliver a compelling message and create a memorable picture that reinforces your value and sets you apart from the competition. In no time, you will have created a powerful personal brand that will serve you well through your job search and into the future.




Sharon Graham is president and principal consultant for Graham Management Group you can reach Sharon by e-mailing