As you know, this month I’m talking all about relationships. ALL forms…from friendships,?romantic, and one of my favorites: ?business?relationships. Most?people have no idea how to start building a business relationship. This is why you see so many people attend a standard networking event,?passing?out their card after introducing themselves for one minute with?the dreaded “elevator pitch”. This strategy is not only ineffective, it’s not personal and can turn off your prospective clients and business connections.
Even though?the?elevator pitches can seem inauthentic, they are necessary because everyone still asks “What do you do?”
So,?I’ve come up with some strategies on how to have an elevator speech, be authentic and have?the “what do you do?”?question be a gateway for building positive business relationships. ?What do you think of these?
1. Let others share first- The first thing I recommend doing is to ask others to share their story. You’ve heard this before, right? ?Ask THEM?questions that you would need to answer in order to find out if there is a good fit for working together. People love talking about themselves, so let others speak and listen without feeling the need to jump in and say something about yourself right away.
You’ve heard all that before, I know. ?But HERE’s why its REALLY important to “let them go first”…because then you’ll know how to “edit” your elevator pitch on the spot based on who they are and what you’ve “diagnosed” about them. ?In other words, I don’t have one elevator pitch…I have many…and many more are thought up ON THE SPOT when I listen to what someone else is all about, I am able to craft an elevator pitch that “speaks to THEIR listening!” ?Wanna know how?
2. Solve a problem-?When it is time for you to speak, make sure you share a problem that you’re able to solve. Don’t just say something generic like “I sell homes” or “I work in finance”. Be more specific on the exact problem that you’re solving with your profession. And if you followed my first step on letting other’s speak first, then you can customize your reply.
3. Discuss your competitive advantage– If you are unsure of how to start talking about your competitive advantage, I wrote a post in the past that will help. Check it out, Competitive Advantage answers TWO questions.
- the things you do BETTER than anyone else that also does them (“sell real estate” “manage assets” “sell insurance” “prosecute bad guys”, etc.) AND/OR
- the things you do that NOBODY ELSE DOES!
I personally offer 2 complimentary coaching sessions as one of my competitive advantages and I have several others. ?The point here is that you’ll need to be aware of ALL of yours and mention the right ones at the right time…with the right person!
4. Listen for how YOU can help THEM- And I don’t mean by selling them what you sell. ?Listen with a purpose of knowing what they do and what opportunities or challenges they are facing right now IN CASE you know of someone that they should know…or a book they should read…or an article they should read…or a strategy they should consider. ?The person that is TRULY out to help other people will ALWAYS be on the fast track to building a great relationship! ?I believe it was Zig Ziglar who said we can have EVERYTHING we want if we just focus on helping others get what THEY want! ?I believe this fully…how can I help?
5. Take the next step- Think of it like a first date. After the end of the night, both parties may be wondering who should contact the other person first. “Should I text a thank you so he/she knows I’m interested?”, “Should I set up another date right away or does that make me seem too eager?” ?”Do I wait three days?” ?You get the idea.
When meeting someone for the first time in a business setting, always take the initiative to follow up first. Do this beyond the generic “Nice to meet you email”. You can send them a post you wrote that relates to a challenge they shared, you can invite them to an upcoming event they may find interesting, or set up a time to connect again over lunch. Make your follow up personal! ?I have always been a BIG fan of the handwritten note.
Those are just a few of my tips on building business relationships…there’s always a lot more to say on these subjects. ?What are YOUR favorite strategies for professional networking and relationship building? ?I’d love to see your comments.