Networking regularly can be a great way to raise your personal and business profile, make people aware of the products and services you provide and the benefits they can gain from these. You might get the chance to present to others at an event and this can be a nerve-racking experience if you're not fully prepared. Developing a great "elevator pitch", one that can be delivered to a group so as to create maximum impact in typically around a minute, is key to your success. Below are several steps to help you create an attention grabbing pitch.
Introduce yourself. Briefly explain who you are and what company you represent.
Use a benefit statement or "hook". How does your product or service positively impact on the audience? This could be through increased sales, improved customer service, increased productivity, greater efficiency, strengthening the public perception of the brand etc.
Ask your audience a question. This should be directly related to your benefit statement, encourages people to engage with you more fully and creates a stronger emotional connection. People like to feel they're participating rather just being told something.
Highlight an area where help is required. Using your own personal experience, think of a challenge faced by your customers and describe this to the 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. Sharing some statistical data, showing the tangible results of using your products or services, 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 rather than simply referring them to your website and aim to arrange follow up meetings where possible. Remember though that people don't like to be "sold to" at networking events!
Below is an example elevator pitch which I created for a customer of mine. They’re a Leicestershire based charitable organisation that recruits people from the local business community to help deliver projects aimed at deprived areas in the county.
"Hello, my name is......... and I'm from ............
As an organisation we help businesses to raise their profile, 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. Consumer research has shown too that 88% of us are more likely to buy from businesses that engage in activities that improve society. We persuaded some employees of one local business, (insert company name), to volunteer and they found that through publicising their activity in the media they’ve had more communication with existing and potential customers, which impacted positively on the amount of business they were doing. Staff became more motivated and felt that the company’s reputation had been enhanced through the community work they’d done. Their corporate social responsibility objectives were being met too.
Our (insert project name) encourages 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. Thanks very much for your time."
Remember that “practice makes perfect” so the more you step out of your comfort zone, the better you’ll become at delivering your elevator pitch. Remember too, that you’ll need to adapt it to suit your audience so the content resonates with them. Good luck with your networking events!
If you'd like help to start a new business and to develop your networking skills please do get in touch with us by completing the contact form here. We'd love to talk to you.