Ever been speed networking? It’s all the rage these days as networking groups continually seek to differentiate themselves through innovating. And, as I pointed out in my Is Sales a Dirty Word? a few weeks ago, it’s vital you’re ready when prompted for your “pitch.”
They are also, if taken seriously, extremely productive as you could be delivering 15-20 elevator pitches in less then 30-minutes, so Top Tip No.1 is:
- Avoid stuttering like a teenager asking for their first date – Practice your Elevator Pitch well before the event…
- After drafting your Pitch, ask yourself “so what?” This will ensure that you set out tangible benefits – e.g. “We optimise sales processes. (So What?) So that none of your sales leads will fall through the cracks. Our system ensures every lead is assigned to a sales person, leading to more deals and ensuring you optimise your Return on Investment”
- Be comfortable with what benefits you want to include and PRIORITISE them in your flow – the most important benefits at the beginning of your pitch and the less important ones at the end. That way, if you run out of time (which you almost certainly will), it won’t matter too much as you’ll already have delivered the most important information to the person sat opposite you.
- Make sure ALL of your pitch is succinct and relevant – no excess baggage allowed! Company location (not relevant), number of employees (not relevant), how long you’ve worked for them (again, not relevant), how long it took you to get to the event this morning because some clown driving a 250 California insisted on doing 29mph all the way here (again, not relevant). These are mere FACTS, not benefits that you deliver to customers.
- Your Elevator Pitch should be short; how short you ask? No more than 8-10 seconds. Yes, 8-10 seconds. Pique their interest, then quickly follow-up with those benefits from 1 above, succinctly and in prioritised order. A typical Speed networking slot is 1-minute long – that’s a mere 140 words!
- During your Pitch, ask for something very specific like “I’m targeting manufacturing SMEs with maximum 50-people who are having trouble generating sales leads.” That immediately positions exactly what you want and whether the person opposite you qualifies. If they don’t, then ask if they can introduce you to any firms of that size!
- Above all, make sure your pitch is crystal clear. If you mis-quote your offer – like the image I’ve used for this article – you could end up having an altogether different discussion!
The ideal outcome of your Elevator Pitch is when the other person says “that’s really interesting, let’s get together and talk about whether you could do that for us.”
- Prioritise and contextualise your pitch – i.e. benefits 1, 2 and 3
- 1st name, company, what your company BRIEFLY does (10s) – e.g. “Hi, I’m Keith, I run Sales Marvel and I help SMEs win more customers by improving their sales skills.”
- Zero waffle or BS (ask “so what?”)
- The kind of new client you’re looking to do business with
- What benefits (i.e. increased profitability) my company could bring to your company
- Can you cite a BRIEF case study? e.g. “I recently helped XYZ Co. improve their sales skills and as a result, they won 3 new clients last quarter!”
Practice Makes Permanent…
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