Elevator Speech Contest Winner Likens Credit Management to a ‘Three-Ring Circus’
A credit manager’s job never ends. In a given day, you may find yourself investigating a potential customer after they have applied for a significant line of credit, while simultaneously trying to resolve an issue with a long time customer’s order. Juggling a variety of different tasks is commonplace for credit managers, so how do you describe your job when people ask what you do for a living?
A clear and concise job description is important because you have a brief period of time to not only garner someone’s interest for a first impression but also their understanding of the role. In a communicative concept known as “the elevator speech,” an individual must describe what they do in approximately 30 seconds, or the time it takes to ride an elevator. Although challenging for many job titles, credit professionals have an extra hurdle to overcome because their jobs often involve working with several parties, including sales, customers and management.
The NACM-National editorial staff is happy to announce Terri Peck, of Dynapac North America, LLC, in Fort Mill, South Carolina, as the winner of NACM’s 2018 annual Elevator Speech Contest, following a thorough review process of several submissions from credit professionals across the country. Peck, Dynapac’s credit and accounts receivable manager, will receive a free registration to NACM’s 123rd annual Credit Congress & Expo in Aurora, Colorado, May 19-22, 2019.
Peck has been with Dynapac for a year and said she was very excited to receive the winning prize so she can return to Credit Congress for the second time. The credit manager attended last year’s conference in Phoenix, where she participated in the numerous educational opportunities and conversed with other credit professionals who “spoke her language.”
The credit professional of 12 years said she chose a circus-themed elevator speech because customers, the sales team and management are the three units that must work together in a coordinated effort to serve the company and its partners.
“I thought about the components of the company and when the primary functions came out to three, the circus came to mind,” said Peck, who is currently working through her Credit Business Associate (CBA) designation with NACM and wants to further her education at this year’s Credit Congress. “I have the opportunity to touch people in all three ‘rings’ and pull them together for our ultimate goal of keeping payments timely, while solving problems for each group.”
Credit management is important because creditors provide guidance and support to sales for the good of the company, Peck noted. When asked if she plans to use her elevator speech next time she is asked about her job, Peck said she is certainty optimistic but is first planning to share her speech with the company’s president.
“It is a nice ‘tool’ to keep on hand for encounters with other business people who may not be familiar with what we do as credit managers,” she said.
Submitted by Terri Peck, Dynapac North America, LLC, in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
“As a credit and accounts receivable manager, I’m the ringmaster in a three-ring circus. Our customers, sales team and management each occupy their own ‘ring.’ As the show is performed, I promote mutual understanding between the players, giving them each the opportunity to excel in their own area of expertise. I maintain relationships and provide the information necessary to generate the sales and cash flow required to ensure continued success and growth. After all, ‘the show must go on!’”
—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate
Sample Elevator Speeches
I work in commercial credit and collections. Many people think that means I'm a bill collector, but really I'm a relationship manager who works to minimize risk and maximize profits. At a conference I once heard the phrase that people pay people before they pay companies, so I do my best to be the person that they want to pay. The most rewarding part of my job is partnering with businesses to make good decisions that benefit us both, which is better for everyone's bottom line. It's not always easy, that's true, but the complex issues can often be the most rewarding.
-Submitted by Brandy Sailers-Dow, CICP, receivables specialist at Hypertherm, Inc.
My job as credit manager is to facilitate growth by SERVING our customers using cutting-edge credit reporting services to maximize their credit line. I am also responsible for maximizing the value of our accounts receivable by minimizing bad debt expense and PROTECTING A/R by maintaining an acceptable level of risk. Lastly, but just as important, I guide my staff in COLLECTING all past dues while preserving exceptional customer relationships. In a nutshell, I am here to serve, protect and collect.
-Submitted by Jim King, CCE, credit manager at the TII Family of Companies
I am responsible for managing our customers during their lifecycle with our organization. I am an advocate for the customer in ensuring our organization meets their needs with excellent customer service and quality products and that we develop a strategic, profitable business relationship that ensures positive growth for us and our customer. I am a sales person; I sell credit offerings to our customers to keep them engaged with us while maintaining expectations that meet our organizational goals. I am an advisor; I advise our sales group/management on credit issues and customer status and I advise our customers on ways to improve their account status.
-Submitted by Sabrina Perez, CBA, CICP, accounting and credit manager at Ametek Programmable Power, Inc.
I'm a corporate credit manager. Basically, I loan money to companies to buy our products. You can equate this to a dealership that provides a loan to buy their cars. I’m like Sherlock Holmes, as I have to use logic and detective work to figure out how to make the sale while protecting the company from an abnormal risk of default. I review a company's trade credit reports and financial statements, and search the web—I even look at Facebook and LinkedIn!—anything that provides me an understanding of the company’s ability to pay us back … and pay us on time. It really is interesting, as we are a large part in helping get the sale completed.
-Submitted by: Mark Cericola, CCE, Corporate Credit Manager for Prysmian Group in Lexington, SC
As a Credit Manager, I increase company revenue while keeping risk low through issuing and monitoring our customer’s credit. Without credit watchdogs such as myself, sales aren’t necessarily sales because it is a gamble on whether you receive payment or not.
My team and I lay the foundation for solid, collectible sales through annual credit reviews and constant monitoring of our customers, which saves money on the back end by avoiding collection efforts and bad debt.
We take pride in taking the bite out of bad debt! I would love to help your company take the bite out of your bad debt!
-Submitted by: Robbin Windham, Credit Manager with BNSF Logistics in Springdale, AR
I work in commercial credit and collections. People often have a stereotype of what my job entails but I’ve found that there are a lot of misperceptions. I’m really a relationship specialist that works with sales people, customers and management to maximize cash flow and minimize risk. Just like our customers expect timely delivery, quality product and excellent service, our company has an expectation of timely payment when we deliver. Our management team expects to grow sales while protecting the company’s assets. Managing these expectations is a critical function of my role; a role which requires a robust skill set that must constantly be maintained and developed through networking and education. The best part though, is being able to find win-win solutions to difficult issues, navigate complex situations and build strong relationships both internally and externally. No two days are ever the same.
-Submitted by: Brandy Dow, CBA, CICP, Senior A/R Specialist at Hyperthem Inc. of Hanover, NH