Have you ever been to a networking event and seen the same people, giving the same dull pitches, not talking to anyone, trying to sell, only ‘talking business’ and generally being bland? Do you see people from the same profession or even business giving virtually the same pitch, time after time? I see this a lot and it troubles me. This post is about putting people and personality before business.
The trouble with pitches
I recently went to a local networking event, which is actually my favourite one. It’s a ladies networking group, which meets on a monthly basis. There’s always a lot of chat, oodles of positivity and a really supportive atmosphere. That’s why I go every month.
However, there’s one thing that really troubles me when I listen to people’s pitches or generally observe them. They’re missing a golden opportunity to stand out and catch the attention of a crowd of 55 potential customers. What a waste!
There were 2 extremes of pitches that grabbed me for different reasons:
The ‘Samey’ Pitch
The first one was actually given by several people from different companies. They were actually all solicitors and they all gave the same pitch. Now, what I know is that they all specialist in different things. They say this every time. I also know where their offices are (I’m sorry, but I don’t care how many or where your offices are – I’m assuming you’ll take me on as a client if you’ve turned up today). Most people aren’t bothered how many offices you have, whether the ‘pitcher’ thinks it’s impressive or not, or whether they’re told to give the same standard pitch (in which case, I feel for them).
The Memorable Pitch
The second example shows how different people from the same organisation can give different pitches and achieve very different results. The first of them to stand up explained what the company was, what they could do for you and to come and talk to her afterwards. Very clear and professional. The second one, however, had a relevant prop (relating to the character adopted by the business), a branded t-shirt and produced a pair of ladies undergarments from a bag. I can’t remember why, but she gave a reason to see her afterwards. She also made us all laugh and received a round of applause. So which had more personality? Yep, the second one, by a mile.
There’s a balance to strike here
Now I’m not saying we should all go round pulling underwear out of our handbags and waving them around (especially not if you’re a man reading this!) What I’m saying is that there will more than likely be a similar business or even someone from the same direct/network marketing business in the room. You may have constraints and rules to abide by, but you also have your own personality.
5 ways to stand out
So here are some ideas to use your personality to stand out from what could be a ‘samey’ group of people:
- Spot the difference – If you work in the same profession as someone else, find out how you differ. Do you offer different services? Do you operate in a different way? Is your approach to client relations different? Observe what they say and do and pick something that makes you different
- Pick a key benefit – Think about who goes to this networking group. What key benefit can you offer them that no one else can? What can you say that will really resonate? What challenges do they face that you can show empathy with?
- Be corporate in a different way – Rather than giving the same pitch as everyone (unless there are strict rules on this), could you wear the corporate colours? Consider doing this every time to stand out. If it’s available, wear the t-shirt! How else can you represent the unique brand?
- Use anecdotes – Consider someone you dealt with recently that matches your audience profile. What approach did you take? Why were they happy with your service? How did you benefit them? What did they say about you? Gather and use testimonials
- Be humorous - Making people laugh isn’t unprofessional. It shows that you are a real person, have personality and would be fun to work with. The above anecdote could be humorous in itself, especially if it resonates with your target audience.
This applies to you as well!
I’ve given the above ideas specifically to those who either stand in a room with several people in their profession or those who work for the same organisation (think Arbonne, Utility Warehouse or Forever Living as examples). Equally, you can think of these suggestions if you have a few competitors in the room, or just to make people remember you and want to talk to you afterwards.
I’ll leave you with this thought, which is advocated by Brad Burton, founder of 4Networking:
Put people before business
I think that says it all, don’t you?
So, how do you make yourself stand out at networking events and in your other marketing activity? How could you inject more personality? What could you do to be memorable for the right reasons? I’d love to hear how you’ve managed it in the comments below.
Until next time…