To be truly effective at strategic networking you need to start with the ability to answer the questions “what do you do?” in a memorable way. But, how you handle those next 15-60 seconds could be the difference between a casual encounter and a potential business building opportunity.
So, what do you say when…
… someone asks “what do you do?”? It sounds like a simple question, but how you handle the next 15-60 seconds could be the difference between a casual encounter and a potential business building opportunity.
Most people refer to this as an “elevator pitch”, however I take a different approach and propose that you develop an elevator “promise”. A “pitch” is something you throw AT someone, a “promise” is something you do FOR someone. Having an effective elevator promise is one of the most frequently overlooked marketing opportunities. The average person only has the attention span of about 25 seconds, so if you aren’t prepared with a well crafted, easy to understand and intriguing yet personal message, you could lose potential revenue.
What exactly is an “Elevator Promise”?
Simply put it is:
– A confidently delivered, concise 30-60 second, easy-to-understand description about your company and your product or service
– Describes a challenge or problem your product or service solves
– Attention grabbing
– A powerful first impression
– A conversation starter
– Carefully planned and well-rehearsed
– A narrowly focused mini sales and marketing message
– A memorable way for others to share what you do with others
– Crafted with the person you are talking to in mind
– Personal and not pushy
Why should you have a well written and rehearsed “Elevator Promise”? So you have the best possible first impression when you meet someone. As you are growing your business and networking with other people it is important to be able to clearly articulate what you do in a compelling and memorable way.
The following is a step-by-step guide to developing your exclusive promise. Be specific and increase your chances of leaving a memorable and lasting first impression which is an important step, no critical step in cultivating business relationships.
1. Know who you want to talk to. – Who is your target audience?
2. Know what you are trying to accomplish. – Are you trying to meet prospects, make a sale, earn a referral, network, or inform?
3. Generate some ideas and describe what you do. Allow yourself 15 minutes to write down what you do in 10-20 different ways. Show how you are different and how you are better than your competitors. What kind of company are you? What do your customers like about what you do?
4. Now write some action statements. – Jot down at least 15-20. These are declarations or questions designed to prompt some action linked with your goal. For example BD-PRo provides small companies with the marketing and strategic networking tools and resources needed to perform marketing and networking activities on a budget.
5. Review and edit what you wrote. – Pull out the phrases that best highlight what you do from your list and be sure to address why anyone would care. How do you help solve problems?
6. Draft up a few versions of your promise. – Demonstrate what you do and why people should want to do business with you. Clarify and emphasize what makes you different and your competitive advantages. Rearrange words and phrases until it sounds just right. Also keep it concise, no more than 45-60 seconds and about 150-225 words.
7. Practice your promise. Rehearse many times… in front of the mirror… to your family… your friends… your dog… Be natural – This should just slide off your tongue smoothly.
8. Use the feedback you get wisely and finalize your promise. – You might think it sounds great, but if others do not think it does, don’t use it!
9. One last thing… Be prepared for the next time your meet someone. Be confident, genuine and passionate in delivering your promise and people will more likely remember you.
10. One more last thing, when someone does ask you to “tell me more” be ready to tell a story that demonstrates your solutions and how it helped solve a problem and further clarify what you do. A story will help to paint the picture of how you help others solve problems. And remember, it does not have to be delivered in an elevator!!
11. Finally… and this is it… to end your elevator promise, ask for something. This is called a call-to-action and can be anything such as asking for a business card, proposing a meeting, setting up a time for a further call, or anything that provides a reason for further follow-up which is critical in building meaningful and profitable business relationships.
Some dos and don’ts include:
– Do be able to BRIEFLY describe your product or service in less than 30-60 seconds.
– Do be clear about who your target market is and how you are able to address specific interests and concerns of this audience.
– Don’t sell. Networking is a time to build meaningful relationships.
– Do describe how you are different and better and what makes your product/service/company unique?
– Do be energetic, enthusiastic, and passionate without being over the top.
– Don’t overcomplicate your promise. Keep it clear and easy to understand
– Do be relevant to the person you are talking to.
– Don’t talk too much, listen to what the other person has to say.
– Do be genuine.
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