Networking, whether face to face or virtual, is a great way to grow your connections, raise the profile of your business, make people aware of the benefits of working with you and generating sales enquiries and referrals. You might be given the opportunity to talk to the audience at an event and this can be a nerve-wracking experience if you're not fully prepared. Developing a great "elevator pitch", one that can be delivered to a person or group so as to create maximum impact in 30-60 seconds, is key to your success. Below are several steps to help you formulate an attention grabbing pitch.
Research your audience. Wherever possible, try to obtain details of those participating in the event. Organisers sometimes circulate this information beforehand or it may be found on their website. Your elevator pitch needs to be tailored to your audience, be relevant and resonate with them. Through research, you might identify that amongst the participants, there are businesses that display all the characteristics of your ideal customer with specific challenges, issues or pain points that you're familiar with.
Introduce yourself. Briefly explain who you are, what company you represent, what it is that you do and the types of business that you typically work with.
Use a benefit statement or "hook". How does your product or service positively impact on your audience? This could be through increased sales, improved productivity, better customer service, strengthening the public perception of their brand etc.
Ask your audience a question. This should be directly related to your benefit statement and encourages people to engage with you more fully. People like to feel that they're participating in a conversation rather than just being told something.
Highlight an area where help is required. Drawing on your experience and with the research that you've done on your audience in mind, highlight a challenge faced by your customers and describe this to your audience.
Solve the problem. Explain how you're able to help your customers achieve their business objectives by solving the problem. Evidence suggests that telling a story, using a real-life scenario, is more compelling than just explaining what it is that you do. Social proof is a powerful influencing tool and we're all more likely to make a decision and take action based on the positive experience of others. Sharing some statistical data, showing the tangible results of using your product or service, will also add more weight to your pitch.
Have a call to action. How can your audience find out more? Encourage them to come and see you afterwards for a face to face conversation or to arrange a follow up video call, rather than simply directing them to your website. Remember though that people don't like being "sold to" at networking events.
Below is an example elevator pitch I created for a customer of mine.
"Hello, my name is ........., I'm from ......... We're a charitable organisation working with businesses in the Leicestershire area. We help businesses to raise their profile both locally and nationally, benefit from positive publicity and help them win more new customers.
How important is your company profile to you?
We've found that businesses are continually looking for ways to raise their profile. Those that get involved in the community improve their ability to win and retain customers, are better able to motivate and develop their staff, improve their business reputation and meet their corporate social responsibility objectives. Did you know that 88% of consumers say that they're more likely to buy from businesses that engage in activities to improve society?
Our projects encourage businesses to volunteer their time, their skills, fundraise and make donations to help voluntary groups who work in deprived areas with children living in poverty. These groups focus their efforts on three main areas which are health, education and parental support.
So, if you'd like to learn how to raise your profile and support good causes, please come and talk to me afterwards.
Thank you for your time."
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