I’m surprised at last Thursday’s webinar by the responses to my question: “What have you learned about the Elevator Pitch?”
The answers are surprising,
Because I had forgotten
How much there was to un-learn about business networking.
The big insight
In each of these cases,
Is that there is an easier, simpler, and faster approach
That yields better results.
As long as you can let go of
The generally accepted way of doing things.
Is it more effective to cram everything into your Elevator Pitch,
Or just talk about one thing?
Is the Elevator Pitch for making sales,
Or developing relationships?
Is the Elevator Pitch only about business,
Or can there be a personal side to it as well?
Do you expect to start conversations with everyone,
Or just with the right people.
Is it better to collect business cards,
Or make a connection?
The answers may not be what you expect.
Here, then, as told by the participants in my webinar series:
5 things I wish I’d known about Elevator Pitches
1. Stay focused on one aspect of the business rather than trying to give a menu of all that I do
It’s so tempting to list every service you offer,
In the fervent hope
That the person standing in front of you
Will want one of them.
This laundry list approach to the Elevator Pitch
Is as popular
As it is ineffective.
It indicates that you’re seeking a sale
Rather than investing in the relationship.
People can’t understand everything you do
At the first meeting, anyway.
So pick just one thing you do exceptionally well
And talk about that.
Being focused draws people in.
They’ll want to get to know you.
And as they get to know you
They’ll become interested
In everything else you do, too.
2. To not focus on the transaction in the immediate future. Building a long-term relationship based on trust takes time…
It’s easy to contact people
When you want them to buy something.
It makes a much bigger impression
When you contact them
To get to know them.
Be careful that your sales efforts
Don’t overshadow your business networking.
There’s nothing wrong with contacting people
To promote an upcoming event or product.
Just don’t confuse that with networking.
In fact, when you’re networking effectively
That gives you a bigger call list
Of warm leads.
People who are excited to hear from you
And know other people you can contact
Who will want what you have to offer.
It does indeed take time to develop that trust.
It’s time very well spent.
3. That the elevator pitch doesn’t have to start with business info, it can start with what’s new in your personal life
The Elevator Pitch is all about making connections.
You might connect over business.
You might connect over hobbies.
You might connect over kids, or vacations, or rhododendrons.
If you’re constantly talking about your business
You’ll sound one-dimensional.
And if you’re never talking about your business
Then you’ll never make any sales.
Strike a balance between getting to know people
Learning about their work
And telling them about yours.
4. Deal with people that want to deal with you
You won’t start a conversation with everyone.
And that’s fine.
It’s even expected.
The goal of business networking is to determine
Who you like talking to.
Regardless of their line of work.
When you like someone
You’ll talk to them
And when you talk to them,
You’ll come up with ideas that will help both of you.
No need to force a conversation.
If the conversation feels at all forced at the event
It won’t get any easier when you follow up.
Network with the people who like talking to you
As much as you like talking to them.
5. Get their business card if you want to follow up. Don’t expect them to call you…
It’s still the most frustrating phrase I hear in all of business networking:
“I gave them your contact information.”
That’s not a professional introduction.
Because they won’t call me.
And it’s not because they aren’t interested in my services.
The card gets lost.
They get busy.
It slips their mind.
They intend to call
And then they don’t.
As Trusted Advisors
It’s our job to follow up.
So when people say they’ll call
Get their contact information anyway
They’ll be pleasantly suprised
That you made the effort to follow up with them…
6. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about your Elevator Pitch?