The concept of “magic at the last three feet” refers to the final phase of the selling process where the seller finally meets potential buyers face-to-face. The selling process could begin anywhere – on social media, an online shop, a phone call, text or instant message. The process comes to fruition within the last three feet of actual contact where real time engagement takes place. This is where warmth and conviviality may lead to actual business. This is where “magic” happens.
Minority businesses come in all shapes and sizes and so do business opportunities. In order to bridge the gap between an effective sales pitch and a specific message tailored to a potentially large contract, the Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council designed a three-part series for minority business enterprises (MBEs) with an annual revenue of $300,000 to $10 million that belong to and serve a variety of industries. The Council invited executives from their member corporations and public agencies to provide direction on how to leverage essential tools for effective business engagement. These tools include a well written capabilities statement and verbal introductory communication, commonly referred to as a sales pitch or elevator pitch. The Council worked with supplier diversity and procurement executives from AT&T, The Boeing Company, City of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Microsoft Corporation, MUFG Union Bank, N.A. and Starbucks Corporation to develop the workshop.
“Preparing for Effective Engagement – Part One” was held on April 27th. The panel of supplier diversity and procurement executives met with fifteen MBEs to present key elements, dos and don’ts and examples of effective capabilities statements. They shared pointers on how to deliver a compelling communication and vital information on how to do business with their respective organizations. One week after the workshop, participating MBEs submitted their capabilities statements to the panel for review.
Last May 18th, the group reconvened for part two. Participating MBEs presented two-minute verbal introductory communications to the panel who then provided both verbal and written feedback. Constructive comments focused on how to further improve capabilities statements reviewed, as well as introductory communications presented. The MBEs left the workshop with concrete direction and valuable experience on how to present their company to varying organizations and industries.
On part three of the series, MBEs will submit their revised capabilities statements for final review. They will present their improved verbal introductory communication to the panel for final feedback. The 2017 Annual Conference will fall on the same day – where the afternoon session will feature one-on-one engagement sessions. Here, series participants may have the opportunity to utilize what they learned for meetings with corporate buyers and decision makers. Procurement agents from the region’s largest corporations and government/public agencies will participate in One-on-One Engagement sessions and will be seeking suppliers qualified for inclusion in their supply chain.
The three-part series is a ground-breaking concept that will be refined and re-introduced during the latter part of the year to a larger number of MBEs, with plans of yearly implementation in Washington, Oregon and potentially other neighboring states.
To learn more, or to participate in the second implementation of the series, contact the Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council at 253-243-6959 or visit the Council website, www.nwmtnmsdc.org.