I’m on a mission to make the whole networking thing easier for you, especially if you're an entrepreneur. I’m going to share my experiences that have helped me craft an effective elevator pitch specifically for those quick-fire rounds that are a part of most business networking groups. As we discussed in previous blogs of this series, networking is not just about selling, rather it is about building a relationship and retaining it.
When I started this business, I knew that I needed to be at a networking event to kick-start my exposure in the B2B world and generate leads. I had been to a few physical networking events before, but had not mastered how to network effectively back then. So I was caught off guard slightly when I had to stand up and talk more about my business. But, over time I have learned a few important things on how to make an effective elevator pitch at any networking event. Let me share them with you.
Keep it simple: This is the most important tip that I can give you. I have seen too many people, in niche businesses, who explain what they do, using jargon that is common to their industry. Remember that very few people in the networking event are from your industry, so they will not understand jargon. Stick to explaining what you do in simple, layman terms.
Keep it short: You're not there to keep talking forever, the clock is ticking. Therefore, beating around the bush is extremely unnecessary when you have just a few minutes. If you're using slides, keep them short, engaging, and easy. Remember the key facts and points about your business and mention them.
Prepare in advance: With a constraint on time and difficulty level of your pitch, it is important to practice it in advance. Not only will you be able to craft it to perfection without missing any detail, you will become more confident when you practice. The audience will pay more attention to a pitch when it is presented with confidence and details. Start practicing with a script but don't recite it word-to-word at the event.
Tell them a ‘why’: Your audience would be interested in your offerings only when you explain why it is needed. Be sure to include the pain point or the problem that you are trying to solve in your pitch. This will help the audience remember you as a solution provider of that problem.
Don’t rush through it: Ever received a call from a sales rep who rushes through their sentences? Don’t be that person, no one will listen to you. When creating your pitch, focus on keeping it short but detailed. This way you will not have to cram too much into a short space of time. When speaking, speak at an even pace in a normal voice. This way you will be able to make yourself heard.
Increase the weight: Add things like a strong statistic or a testimonial from a client to give weight to your message. Include those compliments or feedback you've received from your peers. It will make your pitch stronger.
Be goal specific: I've noticed that a big mistake people make is they straight away pitch and sell their offerings in that few seconds window. Tell your audience what your business’s goal is and stick to it from the start to the end of your pitch.
Know your audience: In any situation, it's important to be aware of who you're talking to. That's the same with your pitch. In some situations, you may be networking within your industry, so using jargon can be a wise move because it demonstrates your industry knowledge. In other situations, as I said before, you may have to simplify your pitch for a wider audience.
Call to action: Don't forget to tell your audience a call to action at the end of your pitch. They should be clear with what they have to do with all the information you have shared with them. Depending on what kind of networking event this is, it could just be to contact you or to refer you to their connections.
There you have it! These tips should help you gain confidence about how to pitch your business to anyone. Business networking groups are a great place to build brand awareness about your business. So approach that opportunity with preparation and confidence.