...And Network Like a Pro
Rarely do I ever speak with a business owner who likes networking, instead it's more like a thorn in their side they can't get rid of. It's this horrible task they have to do, but dread. Even as they are walking in the door of the event, they are thinking to themselves, "I don't want to be here," or "I can still go home."
Yes, networking can be tough and it can be really uncomfortable, but it's not as bad as you think. If fact, it can even be … dare I say it … fun!
At most networking events, workshops, seminars, and conferences, you'll run into the same types of people:
The person who talks too much. They tell you what seems like every detail of their life story and business history and they seem like they will never stop talking. You dread running into this person and getting stuck in this never-ending, one-sided conversation.
The person who is all over the place. They are an author, speaker, blogger, coach, and service provider of some kind, who wants to tell you about everything they do, while you're just wondering if they are good at anything
The pushy salesperson. They jump right into a fierce sales pitch the minute your conversation starts. They push their business card into your hand, insist you desperately need them, try to get you to commit on the spot, and you're quietly sitting there in fear trying to figure out how to get away. The person who doesn't seem to care. They barely tell you anything about what they do and answer your questions with one word or short answers. They don't seem to care a lot about what they do and they leave you uninspired to ever hire them. ALL of these people have the same problem, and it's probably the same problem you have — it's the reason you don't like networking. They lack brand clarity. They aren't sure what they need or want to communicate, so they get uncomfortable and nervous and default to some bad networking habits that are quietly sabotaging their success.
What You Must Know To Network Like A Pro
There are seven things you must know to network like a professional and clearly communicate your value with others:
1. Ideal Client:
Consumers want to work with specialists — true experts who can knock it out the park doing one thing they do better than anyone else for the niche they specialize in. They do not want to waste their time or their money with a generalist who can deliver okay or mediocre results in a lot of different things for everyone.
Consumers are looking for the expert who is a perfect fit for them, who can deliver exactly what they need and want, and who will provide the most value for their investment. They want to hire, buy from, or learn from an expert who specializes in THEM.
Who do you specialize in serving? What niche market or industry do you know better than your competitors? Who is the perfect client or customer for you? Can you describe them?
2. Your Big Result:
What do you do for your clients and customers? Don’t answer with the “label” for what you do, like graphic designer, professional organizer, virtual assistant, life coach, family therapist, etc. — Labels are boring, common, commoditized ... and labels cause people to stop listening to you. You see, once they know your label, they think they know everything there is to know about you.
Instead, lead with the BIG result. It is critical that you know the BIG result, the accomplishment, or the success your clients and customers achieve — the big solution you deliver. You can then share that with your audience, and when you do, you will grab the attention of your ideal clients who desperately want to achieve the same thing and need your help to do so.
You want them to think, “I want to achieve that too!” or “That’s exactly what I need!”
3. The Benefit Of Achieving The Big Result:
Buying decisions are often made based on emotions and justified with logistics and features. It's important to not just know the big result you create for your clients, but the reason that big result matters.
What will change for your clients or happen for them when they achieve the big result. Will they get to spend more time with their family, take more vacations, or work less? Will their spouse finally be able to quit their job? Will they be able to remodel their house? Will they be able to pay off debt, experience less stress, pay for college, or sleep better? Will their confidence improve, will they feel better about themselves, will they have more energy, will they live longer?
Understanding the emotional driving force behind a buying decisions will help encourage prospects to get off the fence and take action.
4. How You’re Different:
When you’re speaking to others about your business, often you’re not the only person they know who does what you do. In fact, they probably know several others who offer similar services, products, or programs. So why should they choose to hire, buy from, or learn from you? How are you different? What makes you the best choice?
It’s critical that you know how you are different because your value is found in your differentiation. When you aren’t any different than your competitors, you make it difficult for consumers to figure out who they should hire, buy from, or learn from. You make them work to figure it out. The problem is that consumers are lazy. They don’t want to figure it out. They want it to be easy, and the easiest way to tell two things apart is by price — and when you compete on price everyone loses.
Your differentiators — experience, credentials, education, certificates, delivery, speed, etc. — are what create your incomparable value. They are the things that prevent the “commoditized apples to apples price comparison” and allow you to charge higher rates and get them.
5. What You Are Selling
Before you can speak in a compelling way about what you do, you need to be crystal clear on exactly what you do. You need to know exactly what you are selling — what people can hire you for, what they can buy from you, and how they can learn from you if they aren't ready to invest.
6. How Prospects Can Get Started
When you are speaking with a potential lead or client about working with you, it is critical that you remember to make the ask or extend an invitation for them to take the next step — and to do that, you must know what the next step is.
When someone is interested in working with you, what do they need to do first? Do they need to schedule a strategy design or discovery session? Do they need to complete a project inquiry form? Do they need to request a complimentary consultation? Do they need to go to your website or do you have an order form?
7. Why Prospects Say No
Do you know why the prospects who don’t become clients and customers say no or choose not to buy? Are you hearing the same objection or excuse over and over again?
Believe it or not ... this can be a good thing! If you know why your prospects are saying no, you can create a strategy to manage and handle their objections up front and eliminate them before they ever become an issue.
Some of the most common objections are not enough time, too expensive, and too hard. If you’re not sure yet why some say no, start keeping track of what they say during your sales conversations and don’t be afraid to ask them their reason.
Leverage Your Clarity To Powerfully Answer The Question, "What Do You do?"
Networking becomes a piece of cake once you know:
- Ideal client description
- Big Result
- Benefit of Big Result
- How you are different
- Common Objection
- What You Sell
- How to Get Started
In fact, once you know each of these items, you can use my magic sentence formula to craft a brilliant answer to the dreaded question, "What do you do?" so you can have total confidence speaking about your business, sound like a rockstar who's got it all together, and impress those around you, and get your ideal clients to speak up and say "YES!" Here's the formula:
- I help: [ideal client description]
- Do/be/get/achieve/overcome: [big result]
- So they can: [benefit of big result]
- Even if: [common objection]
- I do that through/by/with/in: [share services, products, and programs]
- If you: [invite the action]
- Simply: [tell them exactly what to do]
Here's Why It Works:
- You share your ideal client
- They think, “Oh that’s me/my friend, I better pay attention.”
- You share your big result & the benefit
- They think, “Ooooh I want to achieve that and enjoy that too.”
- You share the emotional benefit of the big result
- They think, "Now that would change everything."
- You share your differentiator
- They think, “The other person I was talking to didn’t say that.”
- You squash their objection
- They think, “Cool! There’s no reason not to take action.”
- You share exactly what you are selling
- They think, "Good, they do what I need and can help."
- Then, just as they are wondering, "Hmmm, what's next?"
- You invite them to take action and share exactly how they can get started.
The Formula In Action
The great thing about this formula is that it can be used in all different situations. It's a great elevator pitch. It's a great answer to that question about what you do. It's even great to use on print marketing materials, in a social media profile bio, and on your website, where you want to quickly communicate important information about your business.
Here is a sample of my "Magic Sentence" — so you can see how it's used and have a sample to model (not copy, as that's not nice):
"I help successful business owners whose brand and website represent where they have been, not where they are going, transform that old, boring business presence into a powerful, profitable platform, so they can enjoy more leads, more opportunities, and more income without working more hours, even if they think it’s impossible. I do that through speaking, consulting, and highly personalised, quality, done-for-you services. If you are ready to step up your game and take your brand to the next level, simply visit http://www.bourncreative.com/project-inquiry to get started."
A few things to remember:
Try crafting your version and say it out loud several times in front of a mirror. Practice it. If you get tripped up for stumble a bit, make some edits. Then try it out in person and make some more tweaks if you need to.
You probably won't create the most perfect, this-is-it, magic sentence this first time. I tried out several different versions before I found one that I stuck with for a long time, and even then, I usually edit it and adjust it as time goes by.
The more you practice it, the better you'll get. Remember, it's not about memorizing and reciting a speech. It's about getting comfortable with the language you use to talk about your business. When you know what you want to say inside and out, you tell people what you do in a natural, conversational way — without sounding like a robot! Eventually it will just roll off the tip of your tongue.
Now What About You?
Write down my step-by-step formula and create your own magic sentence (or two) and share it with us below. Or if you have questions or feedback we'd love to hear form you too!