1.) Understand what your service offering is and play to your strengths. Don’t oversell your skills and experience as you will be found out which will damage your reputation. You need to be 100% certain that you can provide a service that delivers the objectives. Ensure you are an expert in your service offering and portray yourself as a consummate professional. By virtue of the confidence and understanding you demonstrate, your potential customer will have confidence in you to deliver also.
2.) Develop a ‘two part’ sales pitch that you will use at client meetings to sell your service. The first part of your sales pitch should be generic and succinctly explain what you offer. This should be easy to understand and explained within a couple of sentences. The second part of your sales pitch is unique to the organisation you are meeting with and covers what you can do for them specifically, how you can make their organisation better, and what qualifies you to transform their business or deliver the necessary change. Think of the money the organisation will pay you as an investment they are making in you. Then think about what the organisation will get by way of return on that investment. If you can quantity this by saying “I will deliver an eight-fold return on your investment and this is how I will do it…” this will get their attention. If you have not yet worked as an interim manager, use an example of what you’ve done for a previous employer to justify and qualify what you are saying is true. Suggest they take references to verify this. Get both parts of your ‘two part’ sales pitch right and it’s very compelling and will give you a great chance of winning the work.
3.) Change your mindset. When you meet an organisation to discuss an interim assignment or business issue, don’t consider it an interview. Think of yourself as a business entity attending a business meeting and not an employee attending an interview. Your mindset should be one where you view it as a peer to peer meeting where you are pitching rather than interviewing. You are a potential supplier to that organisation and will be invoicing them accordingly. Describe your sales pitch as mentioned above and talk them through it. Whoever you are talking to, do so with credibility and speak to them as a peer, an equal. This is not an interview where the hiring manager holds all the aces, as you will describe what you can do, how you will do it and what the outcomes will be. The aim is to come away from the meeting having convinced the other party you are a professional interim practitioner who can deliver for their organisation.
4.) Understand the jargon and language that is prevalent in your industry or sector. Professionals are expected to converse in a certain way, it demonstrates knowledge and credibility. Do not over do it and transcend into waffle.
5.) Show evidence that you are legitimate. Just because you haven’t completed an interim assignment yet, you can still produce supporting evidence. Evidence to support your claims includes: Testimonials from past employers (these are quite easily collected through LinkedIn for example), and, Examples of work (anonymised if necessary) completed in the past. Also, References - It is important to remember that although you know what you can do, a potential client will view you as a risk until you are able to build trust. Therefore, produce examples of what you do and how you do it, to reassure and help build trust. Grow trust further by explaining that you provide after-sales support once you exit the organisation. Most assignments involve delivering change or transformation and having been the one who’s delivered this, you’ll understand how it should play out for the business. It is therefore important to inform the client that you’ll remain ‘on hand’ to offer post-assignment advice if circumstances change or the expected outcomes venture off-track. You never know, maintaining the relationship could even lead to further assignments with the organisation.
6.) Think about your routes to market. How are you going to gain work. Have a plan and implement it. Your mindset should be that as an interim manager you are running a small business and your knowledge and experience is the output that you need to sell in sufficient volume for the business to thrive. Like any business you need a sales plan. Start by thinking about your own Network. This could be a likely source for your first interim assignment. Speak with contacts at companies you have worked before as these people know you, your track-record and understand what you can do. In searching for work apply the characteristics and mindset of a good sales person such as, confidence, resilience, empathy, and the ability to listen. Evaluate your network, expand your network by speaking with the right people and grow and nurture your network by keeping in touch. Other routes to market include service providers and intermediaries, who will introduce you to companies actively seeking to engage interim managers.
7.) Prepare and plan fanatically for all client meetings. Once you have identified a suitable assignment, gather as much relevant information as possible. You should never attend a meeting before firstly obtaining and dissecting the assignment brief. Whether you are attending a client meeting through your own endeavours or via an intermediary, conduct the necessary research in order to develop an assignment template that will cover all the crucial elements of the assignment in a logical format. This document should cover the following information: a.) Details of the assignment/requirements, b.) Explanation of why the Interim Manager is required, c.) Introduction to the client including, background, products, culture, financial data, size, markets, customers etc, d.) Fundamentals of the assignment (start date / rate / location / length of engagement etc). Supplement your research by evaluating and honing your ‘pitch’ to ensure you leave the meeting confident the client understands what you do, how you do it, and what outcomes and legacy you will leave once the assignment is complete.
8.) Work out your value. Before attending a meeting where you will discuss a potential interim assignment, think about your value. As a rookie interim looking for your first assignment you can apply a simple formula. If you are going to be providing a service that is similar to the role you performed in your last permanent position, take your annual Salary, divide it by 250 and times the answer by 1.66. This will give you a ‘ball park’ day rate. For example, if your salary was £80,000 pa, divide by 250 = £320, times by 1.66 = £531. You could therefore set your ‘ball park’ day rate as £500 to £550 per day.
9.) Think about whether you can afford to work as an interim manager and be prepared to earn less than you would in permanent employment for the first couple of years. The Institute of Interim Management suggest that for your initial 12 months as an interim manager you should assume that you will be ‘on assignment’ for 6 months in total. Using the example above, that’s £531 a day, 21 work days per month, for a six month duration, this equals £66,906. Although this looks like a hefty drop from £80,000 in employment, working through a Limited company as an interim manager will lessen your tax burden as you can pay yourself a dividend out of company profits. However, this needs to be balanced against the need to appoint an Accountant and other benefits you will lose such as sick pay, pension and private healthcare.
10.) Pay off your mortgage before becoming an interim manager. The gaps between assignments are much easier to endure when the roof over your head is secure!
Wednesday Sep 18, 2019