By now most of us have been introduced to the idea of the 30 second elevator pitch, a widely used technique for selling your business ideas to someone in a fast paced or chance meeting. The purpose is to have the facts about your business and goals at the ready when you get the opportunity talk to people who could be influential to your business and career. Although the elevator pitch has its place, different aspects of your business have a different focus and different people wield influence in different areas. Therefore, one generalized elevator pitch probably won’t be beneficial in every situation.
Of course, any rehearsed material will need a basic foundation that introduces you and your business. From there knowing the facts about your merchandise, customers, pricing, sales, competition and your expected growth and earnings will cover just about any situation you find yourself in. The trick is to know your audience, in this case the person you’ve just run into, and know what is possible, what could this person do for you?
For example, if the person you’ve just met has financial connections as an angel investor, you need to steer the conversation to your projected success, your need for funding and the return on investment (ROI) possible for the right investor. If you met a well known art critic, introducing yourself as a successful craft artisans, turning the conversation to your growing popularity, your interest in more exposure and suggesting a mutually beneficial arrangement that will allow them an inside look into your crafting expertise while you gain publicity at their hand, is a good way to handle this chance meeting.
Sometimes giving your pitch has more to do with networking with peers than in trying to elicit a favorable response from someone in the industry. In this case, introducing yourself and your craft business in more general terms, along with an invitation to meet again at a more convenient time and place, is often enough to get the ball rolling. Some of these more casual interactions can often create wonderful relationships with people with whom you can share support and information that is not available to everyone.
The idea is to know the facts about your business, inside and out, and then determine which information will be most relevant to the person you’re talking with and most supportive of reaching your goals with that person. As I’ve said before, you are the public relations agent for your business. That means you get to put the spin on the information about your business in order to sell your ideas and goals. A chance meeting is your opportunity to sell more than your merchandise. You’re selling your concept of what you want your business to become and you want to paint the picture of how your success could be their success too if they become invested with you in achieving your goals.
This is also a good opportunity to share your business card, pamphlet or other printed materials as well as offering to send the person a copy of your press kit. Your impression will be that of a well-organized and motivated, creative professional. For most professionals in your field, those with be memorable traits and even if they don’t chose to work with you, they will be sure to remember you. In business as well as in many other aspects of life, being prepared is a great first step to being successful.
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