YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH:
This is the start of the relationship and the first impression. A good elevator pitch will be short, sweet, and to the point. They call it an elevator pitch because it shouldn’t take that long to explain what you do. It should be simple enough that a child can understand it, and short enough to finish before you reach your floor destination in the elevator. They keys basic to the pitch are WHO you are, WHY you are like them (this may change depending on your audience), WHAT you can do for them, and HOW they can take action.
Me, me, me is dull, dull, dull.
Make it all about the person you are talking to. Try to keep your networking conversations focused on the other person and what their needs are. The first thing you want to get correct is their NAME! Repeat it to them. Ask them if you are pronouncing it correctly. Then casually use it woven into the conversation.
When they present your business card, stop the conversation, read the card, comment on the card, then place it face up on the table in front of you (if sitting), or if standing into a “special place” (maybe a small hand bag, Louis Viton if you have it, sparkle your bling) to honor the card. DO NOT take the card without reading it and stuff it into your back pocket right next to your butt out of sight. That sends the message “I am already finished with you, now let’s talk about me.” When asking them a question, open the question with their name to make it personal. When answering a question, end with their name on the down beat to solidify the statement and affirm that this was an answer that was specifically catered to their needs.
Be the one asking questions to control the conversation.
The person asking the questions controls the direction of the conversation. You do not need to be in interrogation mode, but ask open-ended questions. Such as “How is your business related to the rental market?” They may want to tell you a lifelong story, but if you are asking for specific details you can save time. They may want to give you their entire sales pitch and try to close a sale on the spot first time meeting you.
This is not your goal. Be gracious, respectful of their time, then move on to the next contact. Control the questions in the discussion. Key them pertaining to your goals and objectives, but spin it to be helping them. It is a craft and an art that takes practice. If the person in front of you says something of interest to you, you can always ask them to find out more about it. One way to do this is to ask then “Tell me more about X. How does that work?”, then continue to listen.
Be a better listener than they are.
If they are getting long-winded. Do not interrupt. Be patient. When you think they are done silently count to three before you start to speak. They may be coming up for air to finish what they are saying so give them the opportunity. You will be amazed at their reaction to you for being a good listener. Think about it. You may be the only one in the room listening while everyone else is trying to out talk their competition to close a sale. It will be a breath of fresh air in the room for people networking with you and people will remember you and like you.
It is common to be listening to someone and get to the point you are just looking at them waiting for them to stop so you can say what you have been thinking about saying while they are still talking. This means you have stopped listening. Stop the urge to do this. The moment you do you have disconnected and are no longer listening you are not present in the conversation. Fight this urge and stay focused. Again, “me, me, me is dull, dull, dull.” Be present when you are networking face to face.
Be gracious and manage your time well.
You have made the connection. You understand what they bring to the table and how you are either a business match, or not; and you have limited time to meet as many people in the room as possible. When you have reached a point where you are satisfied that you know and understand what the other person brings, do this. Acknowledge them and thank them for their time. Repeat back to them in summary what they do. Then end the conversation again thanking them for their time, then, if there is a reason to, briefly set the expectation of the next interaction will be. It may be a REALTOR with a listing you want to see, or it may be “Thank you for your time and see you at the next meeting.” After you have set the action steps to take next politely tell them you want to meet as many people as you can in the limited time for this meeting. Move on to your next conversation. Rinse, and repeat.
The biggest mistake people make when networking is letting the lead go stale. The way you build trustworthy relationships – is to be worthy of trust.
The three rules of getting people to business with you are:
- People first, need to like you. People like to business with people they like. No one wants to hire someone combative, disrespectful, or they don’t trust.
- Do what you say you are going to do. If you say you will call, then call. If you say you will be there, be there. If you say you will follow up, then follow up.
- Do not be a pain in the butt. No one like to deal with a pain in the butt. Even worse, bad news travels faster than good news. Being a pain will precede your reputation and damage your business before it even gets started.
Lastly, try to be the resource in the room everyone wants to be on the inside circle of. If you have successfully built your network with solid reliable contacts, then you have a lot to offer other businesses looking to tap into your network to help them be more successful. Always remember to try to add value to the conversation, and have fun networking.
Do you have any other ideas on this topic you could share to help our online community? Please chime in to share a comment or review. All feedback is welcomed!
Belaire Property Management
Regional Property Manager
(978) 448-0669 office
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