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Starting Conversations at Networking Events

My Italian college roommate is yelling detailed updates on his life to people’s backs as they scurry around corners.

It took an intervention to get through to him.

Apparently, in Italy, when people ask “What’s Up?” they really want to know.

Not in America.

Here the appropriate response to “What’s Up?” is “What’s Up?”

Equivalent of “Hi.”

Nobody expects the full update.

Not in that context.

Are you giving the full update when asked “What do you do?”

No wonder your prospect’s eyes glaze over.

They aren’t expecting the full update.

Not in that context.

So how can you engage them in a productive business conversation?

1. Grab Their Attention with a Tag Line

2. Engage Them with a Compelling Example of how Easy it is to do Business with You

Here’s an example from a recent client.

We created this 30-Second Elevator Pitch for a business lawyer (we’ve highlighted the 3 Elements of an Effective Elevator Pitch):

[Power Statement] I have a broad practice so let me give you an example. [Compelling Example] I was working with a guy who originally called me to handle a trademark matter which we took care of. As I got to know his business it turned out that his larger issue was that his PhD employees were stealing his ideas and he didn’t have any agreements in place to prevent it. I worked with him to put non-compete and non-disclosure agreements in place to protect his intellectual property and his business. [Call to Action / Tag Line] My name is ________, and I’m a business lawyer who specializes in keeping you out of court.

This is his Formal (30-Second) Elevator Pitch.

Best used when he has 30-60 seconds to introduce himself to a crowd.

It’s too long and detailed for a face-to-face encounter that starts with: “What do you do?”

For that he needs a Conversational Elevator Pitch.

To convert your Formal Elevator Pitch into a Conversational Elevator Pitch:

Turn It Upside Down

Start with your Tag Line.

Then respond to questions with your Compelling Examples.

Here’s one wildly successful scenario:

Prospect (PR): “What do you do?”

Business Lawyer (BL): “I specialize in keeping business people out of court.”

PR: “How do you do that?”

BL: “There are lots of ways. Do you mind if I share a quick example?”

PR: “Go ahead”

BL: “I was working with a client recently who originally…”

PR: “So you can prevent employees from stealing your ideas?”

BL: “Of course. Do you know someone in that type of situation?”

He uses his tag line and detailed example to start a business conversation.

Will you start a conversation with everyone?

Of course not. Welcome to Sales.

Bonus Tip:

If they don’t ask a question, they weren’t interested in your 30-Second Elevator Pitch anyway.

Business Networking is about Starting Conversations.

So here’s the process for starting conversations at business networking events:

1. Use your Tag Line to generate questions related to your business

2. Use your Compelling Examples to engagingly answer those questions

3. Set up appointments to continue the conversation…

You create a Conversational Elevator Pitch by re-combining the elements of your Formal Elevator Pitch.

Want more Examples of a 30-Second Elevator Pitch?

How do you Grab Your Prospect’s Attention?

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