The slowing economy has business owners figuring out how to increase the number of leads and sales flowing into their businesses. Over the last month, I have been assessing what really has worked to bring in leads and what has not. This assessment led me to the conclusion that it is time to get back to basics. Networking is one of the most basic marketing tasks. In my case, it is the one that I avoided the most when business was good and leads were plentiful because it is time-consuming. Unlike other aspects of business where you usually have to delegate to succeed, networking is all down to you, and in some ways this can be quire refreshing. I would rather be working making money than meeting new people and working on keeping in front of my existing relationships, however sometimes it just needs to be done.

The most basic element of successful networking is the 30 second personal commercial frequently called your “elevator speech”. Here are some key tips to consider when developing and delivering your elevator speech

  1. It must be engaging
    It is boring to say “I am an accountant”. It is much better to say “I help business owners save money on their taxes and keep more of their hard earned money in their pocket”.
  2. It must be specific
    Tell the person exactly what you do. Being vague makes people think you are involved in some kind of shady multi-level marketing scheme.
  3. It must be easy to get out
    Once you write your 30 second personal commercial, try saying it over and over. Record it and listen to it. Then, rewrite it exactly as you say it comfortably.  If you can’t say what you wrote comfortably, it will sound rehearsed coming from your mouth when you are networking.
  4. It must be practiced
    You must practice your 30 second commercial until it naturally flows from your mouth. It has to be rehearsed to the point where it doesn’t sound rehearsed.
  5. It must be adaptable
    In different networking circumstances, you may want to modify your commercial to the person you are speaking with. It is ok to have one version of the commercial for one group of people and another version for a different group.  You may also have multiple commercials if you have multiple businesses.

Perfecting a good 30 second sales pitch or elevator speech for yourself and using it often at networking events is a great “back to basics” way of getting new leads flowing into your business.