It is often said that, “networking is an essential part of building wealth.”
Successful people can attest to this fact. We have established that building positive relationships can increase your business exponentially.
Networking is fundamental to finding, creating and sustaining relationships. Yet this is where the fear starts to set in because you don’t know what to say, or worst yet, you don’t know how to say it.
I’m sure we have all met someone and asked them: “So, what do you do?” To our dismay, they subsequently go off on a 10 minute diatribe about looking for motivation to complete a book they have been working on for the last 6 years and had to start over because their cat thought the papers in the middle of the floor were a great place to use the bathroom.
You may have never heard that exact story, but you have heard stories like it that made you wish you could get your time back.
When you are networking or meeting someone new for the first time, make your first impression a great one. Don’t give people an obvious excuse to move on. Create an elevator pitch. Use this short summary to quickly and concisely describe yourself and your business.
So, here are four tips to consider before you put the finishing touches on your elevator pitch. Bonus: you can avoid telling the infamous cat story and begin networking like a pro!
What is your goal?
Why have you decided to attend a specific networking event? Are you planning on pitching a new business idea to potential donors, looking for a co-founder, or building relationships in hopes of new leads? Iron out your objective and craft your elevator pitch around what you are looking to accomplish.
What is your one thing?
Now that you know what you would like to get out of the meeting or event, what do you want people to take away from meeting you? I’ve seen individuals make this mistake time and time again. They start telling us about themselves, and then the business, then the new product they are working on, then the new book they are writing. What is your one thing?
What are you trying to communicate? If people only remember one thing from speaking with you, what do you want that to be? Hone in on that one thing! If you want to inform people about your business, here is a good example: My company equips and challenges individuals to become the best version of themselves, through coaching, a weekly podcast, workshops, and online courses.
What is your USP?
What makes you, your company, your idea, or your product, unique? Make sure to communicate your USP after you express your one thing. Here is a good example: Before I coach a client I have them take a personality test and because of this 98% of my clients inform me that we create action steps that are challenging, but align with their personality and this increases their goal completion rate.
Ask an open ended question.
Networking should be used to build your sales funnel, so asking a great open ended question to begin qualifying that new person is ideal. There is tremendous value in asking open ended questions. “An open-ended question is designed to encourage a full, meaningful answer using the subject’s own knowledge and/or feelings. It is the opposite of a closed-ended question, which encourages a short or single-word answer” (MediaCollege.com).
According to Pew Research, “Researchers will sometimes conduct a pilot study using open-ended questions to discover which answers are most common. They will then develop closed-ended questions that include the most common responses as answer choices. In this way, the questions may better reflect what the public is thinking or how they view a particular issue.” Here is a good example: Why do you think it’s important to set goals?
Considering these tips will help you craft a killer elevator pitch. So, take those sweaty hands out of your pockets and start talking.
This is just another step in becoming the best version of you.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Koy McDermott is an entrepreneurial leadership coach and founder of Leaders Inspire Leaders, LLC. His company aims to empower individuals to uncover their purpose and live a more fulfilling life. During his bi-weekly podcast Leaders Inspire Leaders, which can be found on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and SoundCloud, those willing to become the best version of themselves will find tools to intentionally move toward their goals. Connect with @leadersinspire on Twitter.
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