Recently, a colleague and I attended an off-line face-to-face networking event. We were both excited to meet the lone accountant in the group. We have been on the hunt for an accounting firm to partner with and had yet to find a good fit.
The conversation with the accountant started out enthusiastically as she shared her “elevator pitch” (aka the 10-word introduction that states who you work with and what you do in general terms). My colleague posed a question. Simple. Direct. It really only needed a ten word response at most.
My colleague inadvertently unleashed a lengthy narration of the inner working of the accountants firm. Frankly, it sounded like she was reciting her web site – THE ENTIRE THING!
Apparently she didn’t notice our eyes glazing over with the amount of information she was providing. We would have politely interjected – had she taken a breath. I wish I could say we were captivated by what she said. Unfortunately, it felt like we were held captive.
The bottom line? We dismissed that particular accounting firm from our list of potential partners.
Sadly, this is an all-too-common scenario; one in which well-deserving, qualified firms never benefit from their networking efforts because they “over-sell” themselves during the initial interaction. (See “Nine Steps for Building Trust Online & Offline“)
Apply a few simple guiding principles to your online and offline networking activities to ensure your net works for you, including:
* Share your well-developed “elevator pitch” with those you meet
* Allow others to engage you with further questions
* Provide answers that are crisp, clean and targeted
* Ask genuine questions that demonstrate your sincere interest in them
* If further discussion is warranted, exchange business cards to schedule a time to share more detail
Strategic Coaching Takeaway: What steps can you take to ensure your net works like you intended?