Why Typical Networking Doesn’t Work: Tory’s Script for YOUR Success
I wish I had a dollar every time someone told me that networking just doesn’t work. I hear it from jobseekers who show up at events and leave empty-handed. I hear it even more often from small business owners who aren’t generating bites, let alone sales, from their extensive networking efforts.
Last week while speaking in Pittsburgh, I met a woman who’s an accomplished golf instructor, but she doesn’t have nearly enough customers to sustain her. A common problem for solopreneurs.
“I network every week, sometimes every day, but nothing works,” she told me. I probed to figure out what exactly that looks like—where is she going and what specifically does she say? She explained that she typically attends speed-networking events where she has 30 seconds to pitch her services.
I asked her to give me the precise pitch she uses when addressing a luncheon with 50 women small business owners.
“Hi, my name is Jan Jones and I’m a golf instructor. I’ve been teaching golf lessons for more than 20 years and I was trained by the top pros on the best courses in the world. I offer hourly lessons, half-day programs, and a full 18-hole special package. I would love to help you develop an interest in this wonderful sport. Thanks very much for your time.”
Not too shabby, right?
Wait! Before you answer, consider this: I asked why she thought all 50 of those women were in the room? “Obviously to get business,” she said. RIGHT! They’re all looking to make money, which is the most important thing to know as you deliver your 30 seconds.
I told her to rethink every word. In an instant, I offered my suggested revision:
“Hi, I’m Jan Jones. Did you know that millions of dollars in business deals happen on the golf course? If you’re not on the green, you’re missing your share of that green. As a seasoned golf instructor, I get women quickly up to par to swing a club with confidence. That leads to successful connections for you. So let’s talk golf to grow your bottom line now.”
Both scripts are 67 words, but there’s a BIG difference, eh? One is all about YOU and your credentials and services; the other is all about THEM and their top goal of generating new business. Which do you think gets better results?
Let me go a step further. That same golf instructor who is seeking businesswomen as clients could alter her pitch when talking to other potential target markets: single women looking to date and women who are focused on fitness.
Instead of talking about golf leading to business connections, she’d tweak her focus to the interests of her audience. To the singles, she’d tout how many guys on Match.com say they love golf. Or she could reveal an impressive statistic about the salaries or net worth of men who play golf being higher than those who don’t. (Don’t kill me: I proudly married for love, not money, but every girl has different motivations!)
When talking to a fitness group, her pitch would focus on how many calories are burned while hitting balls or playing a round of golf—and how much more fun it is to take up golf than to hit the gym for grueling workouts.
You get the idea. Talk is a cheap way to generate business RIGHT NOW, as long as your words are properly positioned for your target audience.
This is something everyone can implement immediately whether building a business or looking for a job.
And if you need help with YOUR pitch—or any aspect of your new or existing small business success—join me at any of the three-day conferences on the Spark & Hustle National Tour. We’ll give you the tools (and talk) you need to build your bottom line. Email me at email@example.com for a special discount code to register today.
If YOU have specific tips and tricks that work wonders when pitching YOUR business or background when networking, please share it here.
I love this and it makes perfect sense. Wow. I’m ready to switch up the way I promote my services. I’ve been completely focused on ME. Now I get that I need to work on THEM. Thank you, thank you, thank you
In any type of networking opportunity, and even in job interviews, it is essential that your audience knows that you are able to apply your skills/expertise to their needs. Simply reiterating your past experiences and listing what you can offer does not engage the audience as much.
Your post on networking inspired me to submit a recent article of mine. If it hadn’t been for social networking, my business would not have grown exponentially. I would love to hear comments from other female, aspiring entrepreneurs!
What N-E-T-W-O-R-K-I-N-G really means to reach potential employers
Just stumbled upon a book on networking called The Frog and Prince: Networking for business and life by Rezac and Donahue; the book’s title and content gave me pause.
N= never leave home
This is SO vital for job seekers. Time and time again, when I have asked clients/job seekers about their weekly job search activity, invariably, they rely exclusively on electronic means to apply for jobs. STOP relying on this ineffective strategy. You MUST connect with people to get you closer to your goal (following up with a contact, getting an interview, etc). Sure, it is so convenient to stay in your comfort zone and not leave your domestic zone. At the very least, arrange at least one job search activity daily that involves contact with others.
T=travel in pairs
Especially for those who are shy, introverted, disconnected, etc. When networking, call up a friend or acquaintance who may be experiencing job loss (perhaps someone you met recently at an event, volunteering or job club). Find an “accountability partner,” as social media/career expert Keith Keller mentions in one of his podcasts (careersuccessradio.org). Your confidence will see a boost straight away! And never forget that potential employers are evaluating the company you keep, so if you are connected with others online, make sure that their reputation is intact and credible. Potential employers are increasingly evaluating the company you keep, on and off line!
W=working the pond
Push the envelope. If you have trouble with working your contact, ask your trusted contacts how THEY got their job or started their business. I GUARANTEE it was not as a result of inactivity. This means activity related to selling yourself as a product and making a transition from job seeker to SOLUTION BUILDER. The difference is immense. Go on community websites to check out events (remember, weak links are invaluable in gathering contacts) or go online to a site like http://www.meetup.com/
to connect with others in your industry. Created a linkedin.com (75 million users and growing), and check out groups and comment on forum links to gain knowledge. You will generate valuable information that will propel your job search. The social media web site http://www.facebook.com/ is useful for connecting with people you have not connected with. There is a feature on Facebook which allows you to connect with likeminded people who share your interests, expertise, etc.
O=opportunity is everywhere
See the latter point when I mentioned “weak links.” The people you would LEAST expect may be the quintessential missing piece of the puzzle. Opportunity is omnipresent: from hockey rinks, to soccer fields, to volunteering, to temporary employment. Don’t leave a stone unturned. Focus on connections that will help you achieve your goal (ie gainful employment, self-employment, etc).
Keep your momentum going. Going from unemployment to employment may not happen overnight, but it is essential to track your successes and milestones. In other words, create a tracking system to focus on what is going WELL in your job search, not what is implicity unsuccessful (i.e. an exclusively electronic job search).
K=keep it going
Successful people in history have invested in activity have witnessed success after a series of setbacks, failures, etc. Similar to the last point, evaluate what needs to be improved in your job search. Refocus and then charge on! Take risks. The reality of risks gets you closer to success. To find out the value of risks, check out my article,” Taking risks: what the ancient Romans can teach us” on http://www.careerealism.com/ or http://www.secretsofthejobhunt.com/
Melissa Martin, bilingual career specialist and ebook author, How to use social media in your job search
Your post was great – I really like the practical tips that are there. So often people get confused and scared of the networking process because they don’t know what to say or do. This will be very helpful with a current client that I am working with.