Everyone is always worried about making that good first impression. And while I will always suggest that letting the other person speak first is the best way to do so, it will become your time to speak…hopefully. (Note even though this post focuses more on “getting from your network”, giving to your network is where the endless supply of opportunities lie).
The key takeaway you’ll want to assure all of your networking partners understand is how to recognize a potential client or business partner for you. Using the journalistic method will help you paint a specific picture that your partner can use to match against their mental Rolodex. Regardless of the picture, be sure to take the order and suggested timing into consideration especially if you’re using the introduction with a group who meets frequently.
1. Why- We start with “WHY” because this is where passion lives. It’s hard not to sound fired up about WHAT you do when you’re talking about WHY you do it. Being on fire for what you do is what attracts other people like a moth to a flame. You need to ALWAYS kick off your introduction with passion, baby! Oh, and if you don’t have passion for WHY you do WHAT you do…it may be time to find something else to do.
2. Who- The WHO is just one of the ways you can separate yourself form other folks at the event. Giving people a specific description of WHO you’re looking to meet gets you that much closer to actually meeting them. Here’s a tip: you don’t really provide services for ANYONE or EVERYBODY. Even if you really, honestly believe that to be true, find a niche and use that. The moment people hear anyone or everybody they tune out. And we networkers don’t have time to be tuned out!
3. What- As counter-intuitive as this may seem, you would be wise to spend FAR less time on the WHAT than you think you should. This is especially true if you are ever at an event where there are people with a similar occupation (mortgage person, financial planner, attorney, accountant…you get the picture). You spend less time here because people already assume they know what you’re going to say about your work. So throw them a curve ball and tell them things they couldn’t possibly know…like WHY or for WHOM and HOW. (<<<IMPORTANT:>>> If yours is the only business that does what you do, you will need to spend time talking about the what. If you’re having trouble growing your unique business, we should chat about your messaging).
4. How- Next to WHY, HOW is the most important thing on this list. You can use HOW to establish credibility, further separate yourself from the competition and give people a sense of what is expected when working with you. This section should be twice as long as anything else…meaning it actually gets a full sentence MAYBE two, if you’ve got extra time 😉
5. Where- WHERE is quick. Are you city wide, regional, state-wide, multi-state, national or international? The geography is important, especially when it’s local, because that gives the listener another “keyword” to search in their mental Rolodex.
6. When- This is almost a trick W. 9 times out of 10 the answer is going to be “Whenever they’re ready”. And that is the key to success in business. You have to be ready when they are. Much to every salesperson and sales manager’s chagrin, it rarely works the other way.
The number one rule is BE CONCISE. Don’t make this a 60 second commercial. Heck, don’t even make it a 30 second commercial if you can avoid it. When it comes to introductions, people wanting to learn more about you is better than telling them everything there is to know.
I’m fortunate that I get to do what I love, helping small business owners and people responsible for business development, achieve success in my roles as a speaker and coachsultant (see how I combined my WHY WHO and WHAT in that first sentence). After nearly 20 years of running large business networks and meeting with countless professionals, I’ve observed more good, bad and ugly practices than I can count. My goal is to bring my knowledge and experience to people you feel are the next generation of business superstars.
This gives you what I do, who I do it for and how I do it. It also includes the audience and narrows that search for them one more time in the last sentence. We all know a lot of folks in business…certainly not all of them are in Next Generation Superstars, right? Oh, and that word “Coachsultant”. Think people may hear that and think “hmmm, what is that?”. or “I could use that”. Let’s hope. BTW, take out your stop watch and read that paragraph (minus the editorial). It’s under 25 seconds. When I read it, it’s 20. So it’s clear, concise and perhaps it will get me connected with my next client.
Now, how can I help you??