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Networking Strategy: The Elevator Pitch

What is the most efficient way for business owners to generate sales leads with the minimum expense?  Networking.  Speaking to prospects face-to-face is a great way to create immediate interest, it’s usually 100% free, and it increases your visibility and credibility in a matter of minutes.  So why do 99.9% of all business owners attend networking events without a plan of action?  They don’t have a networking strategy in place.

Most marketers agree that the best networking strategy to use is the elevator pitch.  An elevator pitch is a 10-30 second commercial that highlights the significant benefits your business provides that your competition does not help to separate you from other firms and becomes the basis for all of your marketing activities.  A good elevator pitch will get your prospect’s attention and present them with a call to action or offer.

Let’s take a look at the four steps in the sales process:

Attention

When meeting people at networking events, they typically ask, “What do you do?”  This is the first part of your elevator pitch.  You need to get their attention.  Despite what you may think, people have no interest in you or your business.  They are interested in what you can do for them.  For example, instead of saying, “I own a sporting goods store,” you would say something like, “I help turn people into professional caliber athletes.”  Once you have their attention, you can move to step two.

Offer

Arm yourself with a compelling message and practice delivering it.  Once you have completed your elevator pitch, hand your prospect a business card that repeats your message and includes a compelling offer.  Offers can be free information, discounts, events, etc.  Make sure your offer is clearly stated and easy to complete.

Follow-up

Once a prospect has accepted your call to action, they are ready to buy.  Send follow-up emails that reinforce the benefits of your business and thanking them for responding.  A short time later, send an email that brings the prospect to the offer of the sale.

Close

The last step in the sales process is the close.  This is the step where you offer your prospects the chance to purchase your solution to their problem.  Reinforce your elevator pitch, and offer the sale.  If your elevator pitch is crafted correctly and the follow-up has been done, closing should be relatively easy.

The cheapest and most effective way to generate sales leads is networking.  When attending networking events, it is important that you arm yourself with an elevator pitch.  Your elevator pitch should get the prospect’s attention and provide a clear call to action.  After the event, you can do the necessary follow-up and close the sales.  Don’t be like all the other business owners who attend networking events without a networking strategy.  Create and practice your elevator pitch, and your networking efforts will pay off.

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