You’ve joined one or more business networking groups, and have been attending for a while. Now what do you say when your turn comes around for your elevator speach? You’ll notice most people say who they are, the name of their business, and what they do. They may talk about the process they go through to help their customers ……BORING! If you’ve been a member of this group for a while, most of the people there already know all that. Besides, getting them to know that isn’t really your goal anyway.
So what IS your goal at a networking meeting? Well, first of all, you should go into the meeting with a goal. So let’s talk about some possible goals:
- Have people want to set up a one to one (121) meeting with you outside of the meeting
- Let people know who is your ideal referral and very specifically what to say to them when they meet them
- Find someone you can help. After all, givers gain, and if you’re looking to sell, you won’t. If you’re looking to help people, they will be glad to assist you with that. They will want to know you better, and if they’re the kind of people you want to meet, they’ll eventually try to figure out a way to return the favor.
Let’s face it, your goal isn’t to meet someone for the first time & get a referral. It just doesn’t work that way. Business networking is all about developing long term relationships with a few of the right people so you can help each other. Hence, I suggest you focus on the first goal I mentioned. Try to get a few people to want to meet with you after the meeting to schedule a 121 in which you can learn more about each other & how you can help each other. For this, the purpose of your elevator speech isn’t to have them think they know about you. Quite the opposite. You want them to be curious & want to know about you. It’s called “tell me more”. So, you could consider saying the type of problems you help people solve, but NOT how you do it. You want them to be left wondering about that & want to meet you.
A great way to tell people what type of problems you solve is to tell them a past success story specifically naming who’s problem you solved. Why? Because if they know that person, they’ll check with them & if they don’t know that person, but would like to, they’ll know you can connect them. Here’s an example: “I help interior designers select art work without wasting their time. Recently xxxx designer called me because she liked one of my fine art photographs, but she needed one similar, but of a different location. She was very happy with the solution I presented her. If you’d like to know how I solved her problem, please see me after the meeting to schedule a 121 & I will be happy to fill you in.
Or, recently I attended a BNI meeting of a chapter where I knew a few of the members. As the members went around the room saying what they do & who they were looking to meet, I took notes about which ones where I knew someone they wanted to meet. When it came around to my turn, I simply said, “I’m David Coblitz. If you want know what I do, you can find out from (then I named the members who knew me), but I have referrals for these people (I listed 8 of them). If you’d like to know more, please see me after the meeting. (Surprise – There was a line at my table of people waiting to see me at the end of the meeting. By the way, it really is very rewarding helping people & I find that it may be a year or two before it comes back around to you, so don’t hold your breath. Just have faith that it may eventually happen, and if it doesn’t. Well, you did a good deed, so be content with that.
Dave Coblitz – The St. Louis Artographer