We have all seen it at networking events, coffee shops and in the office; it’s the “elevator speech.” This make or break few seconds that gives you the opportunity to articulate who you are and what you do to the person you are talking to.
Over the past few years I’ve personally connected with thousands of entrepreneurs, sales professionals and business people online and offline. During this time I have noticed something, very few delivered a compelling speech that left a memorable impression on me. It is mostly about them, what they do, how they do it and how they can sell it to you. It is rare that the conversation tells a story about how they help and add value to others. They all pass out business cards do the 10 second spiel and move to the next person in the room.
Who will be the person you think of when you or someone in your network has a challenge? Would you contact business person “one” who shoved their card in your hand, said a little about them and walked away after learning a little about you? Would you contact business person “two” who shared a great story, ask questions to learn more about you and demonstrated in those few seconds that they are a trusted source?
Here are some tips to creating memorable moments, even when you only have a few seconds of someone’s time.
Identify your key discussion topics: Before connecting, know your audience and tailor your message. Identify what it is about you or your company that adds value to your clients and use it as talking points. Have two or three points that you mention.
For Example, “Hi, my name is Melonie Boone of Boone Management Group. Clients work with us for the in-sourced approach that helps them tackle their most pressing startup, business strategy, people management and talent acquisition challenges. Our clients benefit from an approach that delivers the results that grow their business, save them money and help them mitigate risk.”
This is a short concise message that will peek a person’s interest prompting them to learning more. This will make a more valuable connection.
Network Selectively: In my opinion not all networking is good networking. You have to find where your target is. It may not be a direct prospect it can be strategic partners or referral partners. If you are selling to CEOs and business owners find out where they network. If you want to connect with startups or small businesses you have to be where those people are. If you are looking for attorneys and CPA or beverage distributors, you have to find where they network.
Research the best networking activities based on your goals and then start connecting. This targeted approach to networking will not only get you connected with the right people but it will also save you time and make networking more productive.
Get to Know Who You Are Talking To: Seems like it is a natural instinct to go into a conversation and quickly tell someone as much about you as you can and then wait for them to tell you as much about themselves as they can. This back and forth doesn’t create a deeper connection.
Try starting a conversation with “Hi, I’m__________. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Tell me a little about yourself (or your company)?
Then ask a few clarifying questions. Say a little about yourself. If you find that this is a person that you want to get to know more about, exchange business cards and follow-up with an invite for a call or coffee.
Create Memorable Moments Online too: Let’s not neglect the power of social media. Connecting online is just as important as connecting offline. Using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Quora and other social networks can broaden your reach further, faster. Writing blogs or articles, posting to group discussions; simply joining in the conversation online will get you noticed by the people who want to hear what you have to say. Avoid the hard sell. People want to know how you have helped others in their situation as a testament to how you will be able to help them.
When connecting online or offline remember that the people who need help want to know how you can help them. Telling stories of how you help others will aid in them identifying you as someone who can help them too. A simple memorable moment will keep you top of mind when an opportunity arises. Connect, grow and nurture the relationship to get results.
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