I was at a networking event recently where everyone had the opportunity to give their “30 second introduction” as is common at such events! It was unfortunate for one attendee who was the last to speak and was the FOURTH financial planner at the event.
This is challenge for those of you in highly competitive businesses, especially those that are commonly seen at networking events – Insurance Agents, Bankers and so on. In the case of the event I attended those speaking third and fourth sounded very, very similar to those that had gone before. In other words we learned their job label (Financial planner) where their office was based, how long they had been in the business, and what great plans they had and the excellence of the customer service.
How do you stand out from the crowd in such circumstances? Consider the following tips for differentiating yourself from the competition.
1. Consider your ideal client – the one you love to work with. Be as specific as possible and define it as tightly as you can. This becomes the first few words of your introduction. For example:
“I help small business owners with 5-10 employees……”
2. How do you help them? Again, you need to be specific. Ideally, what problems do you solve for them. Think in terms of the issues they are dealing with and how they feel about them. A good place to find this out is your clients themselves – ask them how you helped them, how they felt when they hired you and how they feel now. For example:
“I help small business owners with 5-10 employees who struggle to manage their payroll issues and are worried they have made a mistake every time they submit a return”
3. Elaborate if you have time but focus on THEM – perhaps the biggest mistake is trying to “tell” your prospect too much information in an effort to demonstrate your expertise. You are looking for interest at this stage, not to close a deal. If you have time you can tell a story of a client you helped. Tell the story in 10 seconds or less!
4. Stop talking! – Once you have said what you came to say, stop talking. You will have said enough for your prospect to ask you directly for more information in a one on one interaction, or for prospects to identify themselves to you later in the meeting.
The key means of standing out from your competitors is to make your introduction about THEM and not YOU. People are primarily concerned about themselves and if you are in a profession they have heard from often, they will be familiar with the general message and tend to filter it out. Figuring out the issues they are dealing with will make your message resonate.
- Identify who the message is for and what problem you resolve for them
- Use emotion words (fear, worry, frustration) to explain the issues you work with
- Turn your core competencies into language they haven’t heard before – what about your customer service makes it great?
- Asking your current clients is a great place to start
- It is about THEM and not about YOU