Networking is a vital element in any marketing plan. Face-to-face meet and greets are a simple way to make a connection quickly and begin to build rapport… the foundation for any relationship… but it’s not easy for many entrepreneurs.
Some find it difficult to stand up in front of a group of strangers and talk about themselves. I recall one networking group where an individual stood up and said, “We do a lot of things. My Web site is___________. Check it out and see for yourself.” And then he promptly sat down.
Since he was either a) too nervous b) unprepared or c) arrogant, I was left without the slightest inkling of what he does and had no reason to check out his Web site.
I’ve heard others introduce themselves with “I wear several hats” and “it’s hard to explain what we do” so they mumble along leaving everyone confused.
Before attending any networking meeting – or meeting another individual anywhere (your child’s soccer game, your cousin’s wedding, standing in line at the grocery store) be prepared with a short elevator pitch that concisely and memorably introduces who you are and what you do. Spotlight your uniqueness and focus on the benefits you provide.
Ivan Misner, the networking guru behind BNI, suggests you create a one sentence hook that describes the most unusual, interesting, exciting, dramatic, or humorous part of your business. Here’s an example I’ve used in the past:
“I have a greater than 93% success rate of getting my clients free publicity in the news… and I even had Jay Leno’s office call me to book my client on his show after his assistant read one of my media releases.”
Copywriting icon, Bob Bly, suggests you complete these three sentences for your intro:
1. Do you know how…
2. What we do is…
3. So that my customers can…
Here’s a sample intro I could use:
“Do you know how many entrepreneurs hit a blank wall when it comes to writing their bio? What I do is find the interesting snippets of their life and weave them together to create an interesting story so that my customers can connect with their prospects on an emotional level before they’ve even met them.”
Try it out for yourself and test various options. Does your intro sound better as a question or a statement? Either is acceptable as long as it rolls off your tongue with ease. And when you have an enticing opening, people often want to know more.