by Ron Stein
Updated 7 yearss ago
"It’s great to meet you," the smiling stranger says to you at a networking event. As she shakes your hand she says, "Tell me about what you do."
Yikes! Now what?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a single introduction at a networking event or during a phone call was all it took to acquire customers? Well, you can come close by knowing how to grab the attention of people you meet for the first time.
But, an introduction is not a sales pitch. That’s why I don’t like "elevator pitch."
The goal of networking is not to gather sales leads, but to engage in a conversation that starts a solid business relationship. The only purpose of a short introduction is to only create awareness, stimulate engagement, and get to a next step -- for the other person to learn more about how your business can help them.
You only have seconds to get people to care about you and your business. It’s really no different when people land on your website or read one of your brochures or emails.
The best introductions are natural, repeatable, and targeted. Make every word count and give your audience something that will stick with them.
The old, boring and self-centered elevator pitch is dead. Here’s how to create an effective introduction that’ll start a business conversation -- and what to avoid.
Don’t make it all about you. This may sound odd since you’re introducing yourself and obviously have to mention your company. But, it’s not about you, your company, or offering. Do it in a way that’s important to your ideal prospect.
Selling is a sales killer. People tune out when others they’ve just met are too pushy. No one wants to buy your product or service. Instead, they want to know about how you can help them. Plus, you’ll come across as more authentic and as an expert.
Describe outcomes, not your function. Saying that you’re a lawyer, sales manger, or computer repair shop owner allows others to define you based on their past experiences and preconceived ideas. Speak to the unique results you provide by starting with a short statement designed to peak curiosity.
Communicate the key problems you uniquely solve. It’s really important to stress your differences and what separates you from the competition. But, not as a feature of your product or service. Highlight the problems your ideal prospects have that you solve much better than your competition.
Keep it short. When you try to stuff a lot into your introduction your message will get muddled. And you’ll lose the attention of your audience. Develop two versions of your message -- one of fewer than 100 words or about 30 seconds long and one of 50 words or about 15 seconds.
Have a call-to-action. Finish strong. Let people know what the next step is. Invite them to learn more or even ask if they know others who need your product or service.
Here’s an example.
Before: "My name is Frank. I’m the owner of Tax Solutions and I’m a tax accountant. I’ve been practicing for ten years and can help anyone fight the taxman. Please call me if I can help you." Yawn!
After: "My name is Frank and I work with small business owners to help them eliminate the confusion and stress of Uncle Sam putting his hand in their pockets as the owner of Tax Solutions. The result is they keep more of their hard-earned money. I recently helped a new client reduce their tax liability by 30% with a simple adjustment in the way they recorded their expenses. I’d enjoy sending you an article I recently wrote that will help you evaluate your situation and gives pointers on how to maximize your tax advantage."
The way the above introduction is structured allows for natural pauses where the other person can ask questions such as, "Really, how do you do that?” Now, you have a conversation going!
Be clear. Be memorable. And be crystal clear as to what sandbox you play in.
Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He works with small business owners, helping them to energize their marketing and sell more of their products and services. Ron has developed his own highly successful 7-step approach to winning new customers as a result of his experience as a small business owner, corporate CEO, marketing and business development executive, salesman, and mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.