I admire Digital Marketers!!! From their analytical behavioral style to their ability to work “behind the computer” for hours at a time, I often find myself saying, “I really wish I could do that!” And, the reality is that persuaders CAN be analytical but not as easily as AN analytical…and vice versa. Meaning, any of the behavioral styles can “take on” any other behavioral style for a period but we usually all stick to what is natural/instinctual for us.
Although my work as a Coach, Consultant, Trainer, and Speaker centers on people, there are times when I DO have to be in front of the computer for long periods of time. I do not enjoy it as much as interacting with people and I am not as good at it as an analytical but how else would I do my work without powerpoint, PDF training manuals, workbooks, a CRM and so forth. Similarly, any professional who is naturally analytical (including digital marketers) will have to interact with people at some point, especially when it comes to networking and building profitable business or “career-advancing” relationships.
All the while, I have found that most people (EVEN many natural extroverts) have no idea how to start building a business relationship. At the introverted end of the spectrum are the people that are at the event but might as well not be since they are either “net-sitting” or “net-eating” instead of net-WORKING. And, on the extroverted end of the spectrum, you see some people at networking events giving you their unsolicited business card after introducing themselves for one minute with the dreaded (scripted/robotic) “elevator pitch”. These strategies are ineffective because they are not personal and can turn off prospective clients and business connections.
Even though the elevator pitches can seem inauthentic, they are necessary because everyone still asks the question: “What do you do?” We ALL have to be ready to answer that question 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.
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 your job is to listen without feeling the need to jump in and say something about yourself right away. The reason it’s REALLY important to “let them go first” is 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!”
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” or “I’m a digital marketer.” Be more specific on the exact problem that you’re solving with your profession. And if you followed my first step in letting others 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, take some time to come up with as many answers as possible to the following two questions:
Of all the things that people like you do, what are all the things you do better than anyone else that also does them (“sell real estate” “manage assets” “sell insurance” “prosecute bad guys”, etc.)?
Of all the people that do what you do, what are 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 the reasons people will hire, work with, promote, or in some way choose you 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 as 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?” Or, “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 you're follow up personal! I have always been a BIG fan of the handwritten note.
Whether you are extroverted or introverted, we ALL need to be comfortable and productive in networking situations. 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 hear from you!
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