You get an invite to a community event. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to broaden your sphere of influence and widen the sales funnel. An impression has to be made. This is understood. A great suit. The hair is on point. A bold pocket square. You’ve got the details all sorted out.
Business cards, branded pens to hand out… breath mints. Final check on the breath. Haaaah (into your cupped hand)!
You walk into the room, and notice everyone mingling. You’re on-time, but not too early. You need to make an immediate impression, before you’re blending in like an extra on an expansive movie set.
Someone approaches. They hold out their hand and introduce themselves. They tell you that they’re hosting the event, and would like to introduce you to some people.
This is your chance. Your fingers find the corner of your cards in your breast pocket, ready to be doled out to the group that awaits your introduction.
Telling them that you’re pleased to meet them, and shaking each of their hands, you follow up with a card for each, and soon after explain what it is that you do for a living. They’re all ears, albeit briefly.
This is an everyday interaction. Whether at an event, in line at a grocery store, or at a coffee shop; or at a business lunch. You will continually be presented with opportunities to stand out and tell people what it is that you do, and who you are. Perhaps not in that order. They won’t remember you, most likely. And even if you have a spectacularly immaculate business card, it may just end up in a Rolodex, never to again be seen— or worse: in the trash.
There are two things that you need to really focus on and improve upon for this to never happen again.
Firstly, you’ll need to add value to your marketing handouts. Do you simply give them away to anyone and everyone who will take one, out of fear of being outed for being impolite? Do you give them sparingly, holding onto one or two that you’ll keep separately, for the miracle chance that you may one day meet that dream contact?
Add value to the giveaway. If you could have something that anyone and everyone can also have, does it hold more or less value intrinsically? In this instance, you’ve caused marketing material inflation, and rendered your cards worthless. If they feel like the card is something that is only given out selectively, perhaps they’ll treat it with more reverence.
Remember when you were younger, and you went to clubs? Dropping a name held weight. It did. And if you had a card from a bar manager or a promoter, you could often show it to someone and let them know that you were told that you would be taken care of on your future visit. That card held value. Remembering their name held value. A handwritten note or email from that club manager might as well have been of monetary value, because it was one and the same.
Secondly, you have seconds to make an impact in that introduction. Practice your elevator pitch to describe what it is that you do and what ABC Corporation is all about.
If you offer a drawn out explanation, or you fail to connect with your audience on a personal level, the proverbial screen savers in their eyes will turn on, and you’ll have lost their attention. Don’t talk about the weather. Don’t make a lame quip about the event.
Be interesting. Be original. Be yourself. But add value to your marketing material and your pitch.
By @MarkPavelich CEO The Mark Consulting & Marketing