Joining a networking group and turning up to meetings is only the first step in achieving business growth through networking. You only get out what you put in.
While we’ve written about how to make the most out of business networking in previous articles, we thought we’d take a closer look at one of the most important – and often most daunting – aspects of the experience.
Most networking events feature some form of ‘elevator pitch’, also known as your ’60 seconds’ introduction to who you are and what you do.
While this comes naturally for some people, for others it’s a nerve-wracking and scary prospect – especially in a room full of professional business people. But remember, you’re one of them and you’re good at what you do.
You don’t get long and first impressions count (no pressure!), so your elevator pitch is your chance to market yourself to a captive audience. Even if your services may not automatically apply to those in the room, think of your fellow networkers as your extended sales team.
Fear not, we’re here to help. We’ve put together our top tips for a perfect elevator pitch to help you stand out for all the right reasons.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro and could rattle off your ‘60 seconds’ at the drop of a hat (are you really making the most of that time?), or you can’t think of anything worse and have even avoided networking for this reason, these tips might be useful.
It makes sense to give your elevator pitch some thought beforehand. Think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to stand out from the crowd. You want to sum up who you are and what you do in one or two short sentences. Avoid jargon and focus on what you do to help others, and particularly who you help. So, you might say ‘Are you a small business with not enough time on your hands? I am a virtual assistant who helps time-poor business owners get those laborious admin jobs off their desks’.
Name: When it comes to the pitch itself, start with your name and say it twice, like this:
‘Hi, my name’s Rebecca, Rebecca Jones of More Hours VA Services’.
How you help people: Rather than just giving a list of services, explain who you can help and how, such as in the virtual assistant example above.
What you are looking for: Spell out what type of connection you are looking for as this well help your audience identify whether they can use your services or refer someone who might be able to. So, you might say ‘I’m looking for small businesses who need help with their admin but can’t afford to take on additional members of staff’. Or it could be that each time you target something even more specific to add variety and highlight particular areas of your business. For example, ‘this month I’m looking for businesses who need help with their social media marketing’.
Name: Say your name again and again say it twice. So you might say ‘if you think I can help, please get in touch. That’s Rebecca, Rebecca Jones of More Hours VA Services’.
Slogan: If you have a slogan, end on this. If you don’t then create one! A slogan might be something like ‘giving you the gift of more hours’, or as with FaB Networking ‘helping local businesses connect, sell and save’.
Keeping it fresh: The above guide is all well and good, but if you’re addressing the same audience month in, month out, you’ll want to shake it up a bit. A good way to do that would be to share some real examples of what you do. This could include giving case studies, such as ‘this week I have helped a business establish a Facebook page and schedule a month’s worth of posts’. You could also highlight particular achievements which illustrate the services you provide and even share examples of any business you have received from within the group. If a fellow member has referred a client to you, thank them. If someone has provided you with a service, highlight it. This will serve to not only promote your group, but will also set you apart as a valuable contact who is willing to give as well as receive.
We hope this helps. If you fancy trying out, we’d love to welcome you at one of our networking groups in the Midlands.