Market Yourself In One Minute
Meeting new business contacts, expanding personal networks, promoting a reliable, trustworthy "Brand You" are the basics of business. By the way, even if our job title doesn’t explicitly mention "sales and marketing" we are all in sales and marketing. In modern commerce, even professionals in non-traditional sales roles like accountants, lawyers, dentists, engineers, architects, analysts, consultants all need to pitch their expertise to get new clients. We try to influence a decision – buy my widget, fund this project, open a new market or even where shall we go for lunch, are all sales and marketing efforts to get others to follow our ideas.
First impressions are so critical. When I ask my participants during sales training, how long does it take to form an impression of someone, the range of answers is usually between 2 and 5 seconds. Think about that - we are so quick to judgment, we are shockers! An opinion is formed immediately and it takes quite a bit of effort to unwind a negative first impression.
Given our first interactions with strangers are so important, are we getting the best result for ourselves and organisation? Can we succinctly explain what we do, in a clear, informative, impressive and memorable manner? Based on my experience and observations, there is room for improvement.
An excellent formula is called the Wow & How. When we meet someone for the first time, after examining their business card, we should get the ball rolling and ask them about their business. Why don’t we rush in and start impressing them with our information? We know that people love to talk about themselves, so don’t deny the potential client that chance. We also learn more by listening than speaking and so having them lead off is a win-win.
Hearing what they do also assists us in considering how we explain what we do. We can emphasise certain aspects that we believe would appeal to them, based on what they have just told us about what they are doing. Listening to them speak, we can gauge their personality type. We can then adjust our communication style to best suit their preference for interaction.
If we notice, for example, that they are a very detail oriented person, we might add in more concrete detail than normal to explain what it is we do. If you are speaking with an accountant, three decimal places when quoting numbers is always appreciated! The opposite tack is best applied to big picture people -don’t kill them with the micro detail If they are fast paced, speak faster and with more energy than normal. If they are very calm and considered, drop your voice and energy to mirror them. We like people who are like us.
When it is our turn to explain what we do, we use a three step approach. We start with a proposition that they can easily agree with. For example, "You know how companies often really struggle with training their staff. They get really frustrated that the training doesn’t produce the results they require" . The listener by this time is nodding and voicing their agreement, because they can mentally picture the problem. We then add, "Well we fix that completely". Their immediate mental reaction is "Wow, sounds amazing" . Then the skepticism kicks in and they ask us, "Alright, so How do you do that?".
This allows us to now lead with our differentiable advantage in the market. This answer is more What than How. We do this because we want to explain the precise How, in their office rather than in a noisy, crowded networking event. The explanation is under a minute, so each word is vital. The delivery must be practised and perfected beforehand. At the next business soirée roll out the Wow & How formula, delivered in the potential client’s preferred communication style and see the results. Remember first impressions count, so let’s not leave that creation process to random chance.