Ever walk out of a networking event feeling that nothing came out of it for you?
That you didn’t meet anyone who could help your business?
That could be the problem: your attitude about what constitutes a successful event.
Effective networking is NOT about leaving a room with a handful of business cards from people who can help you. It’s about finding those connections you can craft on behalf of others you know or meet at the many business events you attend, week after week.
Effective networking is the face-to-face embodiment of your company’s marketing effort. It’s your opportunity to:
• Convey the benefit others will enjoy when they choose to do business with you.
• Expand your network of resources on behalf of others you know.
• Add value to those you’re meeting for the first time.
None of these has to do with selling your product as soon as you shake hands, but it’s ‘step 1’ in building the relationship that could easily lead to that in the future.
As in all of marketing, successful networking is about the ability to convey value and benefit to the person you’re speaking to. (And don’t you forget it: marketing, including networking, is always about the other person). It may sound strange yet, by offering to assist others with your connections and expertise, you often end up assisting yourself with the credibility and value conferred upon you by your benefits-driven attitude.
How do you weave profitable relationships when you’re at your next networking event?
One of the first ways you can generate interest in the services you offer is with a well-crafted elevator speech – that 30-second commercial that would so impress Bill Gates if he got on the elevator with you that he’d say: ‘call my office for an appointment to talk tomorrow!’
With just 30 seconds to get it right, it takes practice, simplicity and jargon-free speech to convey the punch that will cause the other party to say: ‘tell me more!’
And yet, even with a right-on the-money elevator pitch, you may miss the mark with the stranger standing in front of you. How do you avoid this? Always ask them to tell you about their business first! By hearing about the other person’s business, the challenges and opportunities confronting them right now, you’re in a far better position to ensure that what you say will have meaning for them. Of course – this only works if you’re truly in a position to offer some value to them.
That old phrase “Truth in Advertising” works here, as it will throughout your marketing efforts. Now, go stand in front of a mirror and practice applying this 3 and 1/2 step formula to your pitch:
• Benefit +
• Target audience +
• How you get it done +
• The hook (this is the 1/2 step for a gold star!)
What’s my elevator pitch? “I help small business owners find free time to enjoy their lives and get away from their business, worry free, because they know the enterprise is running well and profitably without them. My clients learn how to maximize a wealth of underused assets they have in their business right now; give me 1/2 hour and I’ll show you how, too!”
What’s yours? Share it in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.
About Guest Blogger Andrea Feinberg: Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst and Certified Strategic Business Leadership Coach, Andrea Feinberg, M.B.A., is a small business marketing coach. If you’re a small business owner, she helps you make more money by day and sleep better at night by maximizing the untapped potential you have in your business right now. You may reach her at 631.642.7434 or visit her online at http://www.morefreetimezone.com