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SMART Approach

Enda Goodwin

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Field Agent

Field Agent

The conversations you have with your contacts will combine getting your message out with gathering marketplace information. They also allow you to make use of your marketing plan and target list.

Lee Hecht Harrison suggests a particular approach when meeting with your contacts: SMART. This approach is designed for use with your general network contacts. When you are able to talk to people inside your target companies, you want to switch to the SELL approach.

The SMART meeting includes five steps:

  • Summarize your message  – Use your professional objective, positioning statement, and, if necessary, your exit statement.
  • Marketing plan  –  Describe your marketing plan and provide a copy of your target list.
  • Ask questions  – Ask about organizations on your target list and their issues, strengths, problems, and people.
  • Referrals – Always ask for introductions to others who might have more information on the organizations you discussed. And ask for introductions to target company insiders, including hiring managers, when possible.
  • Trade information  – Always try to give your conversational partner useful information. Make the conversation a two-way street whenever possible.

Here's a suggested script using the SMART approach.

Opening (less than a minute)

Kyle Johnson of Sanchez Health Systems suggested I contact you. Kyle and I went to State University together and he suggested you might be someone I could speak to about pharmaceutical and chemical firms in the New Jersey area.

Summarize Your Message (2 minutes)

As a result of the acquisition of Sherman Corporation, my position as an environmental health and safety manager was eliminated. I have particular strengths in management, auditing, remediation and training. I am now looking for a new position in that field or the related areas of compliance auditing or regulatory affairs. I think I am a strong candidate for both management and consulting positions in the field because ...

Marketing Plan (3-4 minutes)

As you can see from my marketing plan, I am conducting my search primarily in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. I consider chemical and pharmaceutical companies with more than 1,000 employees to be my most likely targets. I am also pursuing consulting firms of any size. You'll notice that I have a list of organizations fitting my size and location criteria in each of the three industry categories.

Ask Questions (10-15 minutes)


  • Which of those categories are you most familiar with?
  • Which companies are you familiar with in that category? What do you know about them?
  • Do you know of any that have strong environmental health or safety concerns?
  • Have you ever used an environmental, health and safety consulting firm?
  • Do you know anyone who might have?
  • Can you think of any other organizations that should be on my list?
  • Are you familiar with the __________ industry?
  • What do you know about ...?
  • How would I find out more about that?
  • Do you know who is in charge of that?
  • Do you know someone who might know more?
  • What are the biggest issues they are facing right now?
  • What is your opinion of ...?
  • Can you tell me how that company is structured?

Referrals (3-6 minutes)

You mentioned that you knew a couple of people at Amalgamated Pharmaceuticals and someone at Hazmat 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 environmental health and safety. Would you be willing to introduce me to them?

Trade Information (2-3 minutes)

I'll send you the article we discussed on career management during M&A situations, and I'll get you Sarah's phone number. I think you'll really enjoy hearing what she has to say about your competitors and their sales plans.

Closing (less than a minute)

I really appreciate your offering to introduce me to Gail Whitestone-Smith, Thomas Lee and Gary Jacobs. Would you be willing to e-mail them so they'll be expecting my call? I'll let you know how the meetings go.

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