Networking is a great way to develop new business contacts and land new projects, but if you approach networking events the wrong way, you’ll leave without any potential new business opportunities – meaning a wasted evening and an admission fee that got you absolutely nothing.
But with the right tactics in mind, you can make yourself stand out – without being salesy – and be the guy or gal that everyone wants to do business with. Here are just a few tactics you can use to boost your elevator pitch before your next networking event.
Niche Down for a Bigger Impact
Ok, so let’s say you’re a web designer. Good for you! There’s just one problem: Nowadays, everyone’s a web designer. Especially if the networking functions you attend are tech industry events.
The problem with branding yourself as “a web designer”? Is that it makes you “just another web designer.”
Instead, really niche down and figure out who your ideal client is, then add that into your elevator pitch.
“I’m a web designer who works in the real estate industry.”
By adding on that extra little bit of information, you’ve made yourself stand out and created an extra “memory hook” to help people remember you.
Start with a Problem Statement
Time for a harsh truth: Nobody really cares who you are.
What they care about…is how you can solve their problems and make their lives easier.
By including a problem statement in your elevator pitch, you demonstrate to the people you meet that (1) you have a solid grasp of the problems your market is facing, and that (2) you have ideas for how to solve those problems, because (3) you’ve encountered and solved those problems before.
And putting this problem statement at the start of your elevator pitch works best because it immediately hooks the people you’re talking to – because you’re talking about them instead of yourself.
(Remember that Toby Keith song, I Wanna Talk About Me? Your prospects are singing that song in their heads 24/7, whether they know it or not.)
So, using our web designer example, the elevator pitch would then become:
“Today’s real estate agents are fighting with more and more competitors to get a smaller and smaller piece of the market. I’m a web designer who specializes in persuasive, personality-based designs that make real estate agents stand out and appeal to niche audiences.”
Work That Quirk: Show Off Your Personality
Are you a quirky person? Do you have a big personality? Or a personality at all?
If so, you can easily make that part of your USP and stand out at networking events by making a 100% unique impression.
See, the people we find most memorable are people who are authentic, people who do things that others don’t, and people who make us feel important.
By showing off your personality at networking events, you’re showing that you care enough about the people you’re talking to that you’re actually letting them get to know the real you and not just some facade. You’re also being highly authentic, which is super compelling, and you’re standing out from the crowd because most of the people who attend networking events are afraid to show some personality.
Who do you think is more memorable and persuasive: The person at the cocktail party who blandly talks about building websites for real estate agents, or the person who can crack jokes about web design that people actually understand while also conveying interesting facts about the real estate field, and who has a truly awesome answer to the question, “how did you get into your field?”
Networking can be an effective way to get new clients or referrals – if you know how to stand out. Try some of these tactics at your next networking event and see how it makes you more interesting and persuasive.
Bland to Brand is written by Mike Straus, a copywriter, journalist, marketing genius, walking pun factory, and longtime coLab community member. Each post is part of a larger series to help YOU and YOUR small business succeed in a landscape that is becoming more and more saturated every day. Like what you’re reading? Find out more about Mike and his work at Brand Gesture.