Posts Tagged 'Relationship Marketing'

9 Ideas to Make Sure Your Elevator Pitch Sucks Less

As part of the “Sucking Less at Networking” Series, I’ve decided to take on one of the most annoying aspects of networking…the Elevator Pitch.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an investor looking to place your $$ with the right company or an avid networker who loves them some weekly meetings, we all have the same enemy…those ridiculously boring elevator pitches aka 30/60 second commercials. But Terry, you’re thinking, How can we make this exciting AND brand ourselves?

I’m so glad you thought to ASK (The ASK is my take on what Elevator Pitches could be. Feel free to download this 7 page whitepaper if you want a much deeper dive to taking this part of your game to the next level). Elevator pitches really shouldn’t be about branding. They should be an invite to get people to learn more about the possibilities you represent.

I’ve come up with 9, easy to follow ideas that you can implement easily. Please, feel free to start using them now. Your network and your wallet will thank you.

1. Make it short and sweet

PLEASE, stop making your 30 second commercial a 50 second commercial and your 60 second commercial a Chrysler Super Bowl Ad. We don’t need to know everything about you and your offering. You haven’t earned our attention… yet. If you feel like you’re monologueing, trust me. You are. Less is so much more. Get us to want to hear more, by telling us just the highlights.

Unlike Syndrome, Your Only Super Power is to Bore People. Don't USE IT!

Unlike Syndrome, Your Only Super Power is to Bore People. DON’T USE IT!

2. Talk about WHY and FOR WHOM more than WHAT

We spend sooo much time telling people what we do. That’s a waste of time. 90% of people do something that a LOT of other people do. You don’t need to explain the mortgage business to us. We get it. Tell us WHY you’re in the mortgage business. The WHY is where passion lives. And Passion is engaging. Also, be sure to tell us who you do your work for as that will help us help you.

3. Think about the pitch from the users perspective
So often we only speak of things from our point of view. When it comes to the elevator pitch you need to answer the ever popular question, What’s In It For Me? If you’re not painting a picture your audience can see themselves in, you need to work on your pitch.

4. Don’t Use Buzz Words or Acronyms

Buzz words and Acronyms may be great to impress your colleagues or show that you’re an expert in your field. HOWEVER, to the layman, they either sound like you’re trying to sound smart or worse, make us feel dumb. Neither scenario works in your favor.

5. Have a point

If you’re not going to take the time to read the info in the ASK (and I understand, you’re busy) make sure you get to your point. And so we’re clear, your point should be letting your audience know how they will recognize a good opportunity for you. Remember, short and sweet. Don’t take too long to get to it.

6. Know your audience

This is much easier to do when you meet with the same group every week or you’re going to a “pitch competition” where you can review the judges before hand. If you’re flying blind, do your best to let others speak first. The more you can tailor your message to your audience, the more likely they are to hear you. If you have no choice but to jump without a net, use your time talking about who you want to meet and why you wish to meet them.

7. Sound excited

Similarly to focusing more on the why than the what, sounding excited allows you to transfer that energy to your audience. Any good presentation, regardless of length, is a lot like a sales pitch. You need to get people emotionally involved. Sounding excited does that.

8. Understand your purpose

It’s to begin a conversation with the people who would be most interested in having it. It’s not your opportunity to explain everything. See point 1.

9. Be authentically you

This is last, but so far from least. The most authentic people are often the ones who enjoy life most. They put themselves out there fully and attract the people who are most likely to like them. They also repel the ones who won’t. Think how much energy they save not wasting time on the wrong folks. As an added bonus, it’s way more fun to Be Who You Are.

What would you add to this post?

What did you not like?

How can I be of service in supporting you and your network? Do let me know!

Why I Decided to Write a Book on Business Networking

 

Business Networking Book

cover of my book on networking

 

Few things are as important* AND misunderstood** in the world of business as Networking is. Even the name is confusing. Are we talking about stringing a bunch of computers together? No. We’re not. And while a bunch of computers strung together now support the largest social networks, it’s still really not the same thing. We are talking about Business Networking. Which I would prefer we re-named “Relationship Marketing” or even better, “magNETworking“, but that’s a different rant.

Networking offers businesses the ability to grow. Often times this can happen with little to no investment outside of time (it’s a trap…networking can take up sooooo much of your most valuable commodity if not done properly). And while a lot of people partake in this activity, it dawned on me that very few do it well. I mean really well. Like at the level EVERYONE would be happy to network with them. Why is that?

That’s because we weren’t taught how to network effectively. And more importantly, the skills that really excellent networkers use aren’t mainstream.  So I wrote a book. One that covers the things that anyone who will ever be networking will find of value. In fact it helps you network in situations that aren’t even about networking. Why? Because when done properly, networking can happen anywhere you are whenever you’re there. 

The book is broken down into 5 main sections:

  1. The reasons why networking works…consider this the Universe’s relationship to networking. Yeah, it’s a little LOA, but so is life.
  2. What you need to do before Networking. This really gives you the game plan that helps you spend your time wisely.
  3. What to do at an actual event. Let’s face it, there are a LOT of ways to screw this up. This book helps you not do that.
  4.  How to network online. It’s more about the how and why then what tools you use. The tools may change, the how and why won’t.
  5. What to do after the networking. This is really just about the importance of follow up. It gives plenty of suggestions for how to make sure you stay top of mind.

Each section has anywhere from 12-25 entries and the longest entry is about a page and a half. It’s a quick read and is jammed full of strategies that you can implement and master immediately.  This is also a great gift for anyone starting a business or entering the work force too.

You can pick up your copy of “Be Connected” here on Amazon. I also tend to have a few copies in my car. If we’re at an event together, ask me for one. I’d be happy to sign it for you 😉

On the off chance I need to defend the importance of networking*, here goes: Ask 10 business owners: “what’s the best form of advertising?” and they will ALL tell you “word of mouth”. Not to suggest networking is merely word of mouth, but that is certainly one very positive outcome of it. If I need to sell you on the idea that it’s misunderstood**, well, just go to your local chamber mixer or read through your Facebook timeline only focused on business development looking posts. Good. I feel like we got that out of the way.

 

 

 

10 ways to add value to your network

One of the most valuable lessons I teach when it comes to networking is the idea of “staying visible to your network“. Why? Because if you’re not top of mind with them, when an opportunity comes up to refer you, that referral may go to the person who is.

But it’s not enough to just be visible. I mean, you could be doing bad stuff and still be visible, right? So let’s talk about some ways where you can add value to your network. This will give you the positive JUJU you need to get what you want!!

These are in no particular order and many of them can be as valuable to your spouse, business associates and children as they are to your network.

10. Share an Inspirational quotation- This has become so much easier with status updates on social networks and it’s still very powerful. Pick quotations that are business or personal development related and let ’em fly. Want to take it up a notch? Send them a link to a site full of them or even better, buy them a book.

9. Keep them up to date with events that may be of value- There are soooo many things going on every day that we each miss the stuff that may be important. If you see an event that your colleague is likely to enjoy, make sure to share it with them.

8. Give ’em a pat on the back- This sounds so easy and you know what? IT IS!! And that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen all the time. People LOVE to feel appreciated. The simple act of saying “I appreciate you” goes a long way.

7. Give the opportunity to help someone else- Sometimes someone in your network is going to need help. Perhaps you aren’t the best person to provide it. Maybe you know who is and maybe you don’t. In either scenario, do your best to give your network a chance to help others in your network. This could be as easy as a Facebook post.

6. Share your specific knowledge- You are an expert in what you do. Think about that. Not many people can claim expertise in what you do (at least not people in your network). Share your knowledge. Share it often. You’ll be amazed at how often you hear “Thanks. I was just thinking about that”.

5. Lend them an ear- Sometimes people just need to be heard. We are all so busy that we forget the importance of simply listening to another. Be there when someone in your network needs a friend.

4. Send a link to a relevant article- Like events, important articles are coming at us fast and furious. Make sure your network knows you’re thinking about them by sending them some relevant stuff. You can do this via social media, e-mail, text or you can kick it old school and actually mail them the physical article (I know, I’m crazy).

3. Introduce them to new people they need to know- The better you become at paying attention to the needs of your network, the more likely you are to find people who they need to meet. Don’t hesitate to make introductions that you know will add value to others.

2. Give what you have to give when asked- Many people are waking up to the idea of giving. As such, they are asking their network to give to what they believe in. They may be asking for time, money, connections or shares. Whatever the case, when your network asks for your assistance, give what you can.

1. A referral- Nothing says “I value you being in my network” quite like giving a referral. The more you can give, the more value you create for those around you.

What do you think of this list?
What would you add?

Thanks for taking a look at it.

Five Steps To Build Better Business Relationships Faster

There are so many aspects to building the right business relationships that it makes it hard to know where to start…until you start at the very beginning. This video looks at introductions, handshakes, eye contact and more with the idea of making sure you make the right impressions.

What is a #bustup??

Thank you for you interest in #bustup. Below is a quick write up about the event. We expect 100 people to be there if we are completely unsuccessful. 3000+ people will join us if we knock it out of the park. Obviously if an organization like Ford, GM, BCBS or Quicken Loans said to their employees and partners “we should go do this cuz it’s the right thing to do” even the 3000 # looks low.
What: #BUSTUP
When: June 25, 2011 Starts at 9. The busting will go until 4. The party goes…well this IS Detroit so who knows when that stops
Who: Motor City BlightBusters + Motor City Connect + #backchannel + everyone else we can get
Where: Northwest Detroit near Grand River and Lahser
Why: We will transform the energy in our city
What is a #bustup? You may be familiar with the term “tweetup”- when people on twitter get together in real life to meet. A #bustup is a tweetup with a specific purpose.

For the past 3 years, Motor City Connect (large Detroit based networking group) has partnered with Motor City Blight Busters (23 year old non-profit near Brightmoor) to remove negative energy from Northwest Detroit. We do this typically by knocking down a dilapidated house or 3 and cleaning up the area near Grand River and Lahser. It’s been a wonderful experience and 90% of the people who attend can’t wait to come back.

We managed to capture Stephen Clark’s (news anchor on Channel 7) attention in 2010. He was kind enough to run THIS STORY on the news. This year, he reached out to me and said he would like to bring #backchannel (a group of twitter people who interact with him/newstaff during the news cast) down to join Motor City Connect for a day of Blight Busting. He has also indicated that the station manager is intrigued and would like to support this initiative possibly as part of the Detroit 2020. He also mentioned a couple of really cool things that I won’t type 😉
The more Stephen, John George (Blightbuster’s founder) and I have discussed it, the more we have decided this could be a great party day. Sure there will be work. But why can’t there be fun too?  We can easily setup a stage and bring in music. The acts with whom I have spoken are excited. It is very possible that we will be hosting a screening of the new film short: Lemonade Detroit as well.
Right in the area we will be working is the Artists Village and the historic Redford Theater. I truly believe we can turn this into a festival. It’s fitting because the date we are doing this, June 25, is about the same as the 23rd anniversary of Blight Busters and John George’s birthday.
We want to make this day a community building and community bonding experience. With the help and support of the Detroit area corporations, chambers, artists and citizens we can make that happen. It’s great that we have Channel 7 on board. We are also connected to quite a few of the social media elite in town. Are you interested in making this happen?
We are looking for sponsors to help make this a fun, family friendly event and to start a lasting legacy for our Detroit while raising some some much needed funds for Blightbusters. I would be happy to discuss details on sponsorship with the appropriate parties.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

The relationship marketing era is upon us

“Word of Mouth” advertising is quickly becoming “word of web” marketing. People aren’t using “search” anymore. They are finding things before they know they’re looking for them. And that’s great IF you and your business are well positioned.

To remain relevant (competitive no longer matters) you MUST be a part of the conversation.

Smart marketers know how to attract and more importantly engage THEIR audience. Its no longer about quantity. Its about quality. The right relationship with your consumers allows your message to be amplified far and wide AND FAST!!!

What are you doing to leverage the relationships you have and create the relationships you need?

The 3 R’s have changed for business today

When I was in school we learned about the 3 R’: Reading
Riting
Rithmatic

These R’s were considered the core skills students would learn. They were easy to remember, and the values in the skills were easily understood. In retrospect they could’ve been better understood had they all actually begun with the letter R but this isn’t a spelling test, or a history lesson. This is a lesson in the R’s of modern day business.

While I’m certain reading and writing are still important (my jury has always been out on arithmetic) there are new R’s which require our immediate attention.

These three elements are the core skills, and matters of practice for modern day businesses.

The first R is a driving factor in the happiness of our lives Relationships. Relationships have always been a staple for people, and come in many different types:
Family
Friends
Co-workers
Clients
Business partners
Spiritual connections
Most importantly, the one we have with our self.

Aside from keeping us happy, relationships are the life streams of our business communities, costumers’ connections, and a constant reinforce for our personal brand. We must take great care not only to connect but to also relate to the people around us.

Relationships do not thrive without some neutering and commitment. You must maintain a balance of all aspects of give and take in order for an authentic relationship to be maintained.

Which is why the second R is Recommendations. We’ve always collected letters from satisfied clients, and now more than ever word of mouth is making or breaking brand images. Capitalizing on modern social networking tools allows for constant rapport care, but also an opportunity to mutually recommend peers, professionals, staff, and the like.

Linkedin uses the term up upfront, but don’t count out other venues such as facebook or twitter. A quick positive status update on facebook, or brief thank you tweet on twitter is another trick to represent those who you would recommend.

The third R is brand spanking new: Real-time search. The SEO/SEM strategists have been extolling the virtues of search for a couple of years now, and this business has evolved. It is no longer enough to own page 1 on Google. You need to make your presence known on page one on Twitter, Facebook, and other social sites.

Relationships
Recommendations
Real-Time Search

The modern R’s of business take old school classic spin on the new school technologies. And when you use these 3 R’s well, you get the most important R there is in business:

REFERRALS