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“What do you Do?”

…is likely the most common question asked at networking meetings. When someone asks you that question, how do you respond? How to introduce yourself is key. Is your answer concise and memorable, or do you find yourself tripping over words, going on and on because you don’t have a proper answer?

Your response to that question—the way you introduce yourself—is unique to you and your business. The ability to sum up your unique product or service in a way that excites others is a fundamental skill for every small business owner. Called the “elevator speech,” “elevator pitch,” or “30-second commercial,” crafting your introduction takes effort, time and practice.  And, the time to create your introduction is not when someone asks, “What do you do?”

Here are seven tips to help you devise a powerful introduction:

  1. Know your target market. Whom do you serve? Before you jump in to construct your introduction, define (for yourself) your target market.
  2. What problem do you solve? What are the biggest pains or problems of your target market and how do you help to solve those problems?
  3. What results do you help your clients achieve? Think about clients or customers who have been utterly delighted with your product or service. What specific results did you help them achieve?
  4. Make it unique. What sets you apart from your competition? If you truly believe you’re not different from your competition, then work at becoming different: Develop a stronger guarantee, offer better prices or specific services they don’t offer. You want to stand out. Why are you the right choice among all other choices out there?
  5. Make it all about them. Your introduction is not about you. It’s is all about your target market. You are allowed to say “I” only once in your introduction. This takes work and practice.
  6. Make it simple. No jargon, please. Use simple, easy to understand words in your introduction. I once heard that a junior high school student should be able to understand and repeat your elevator pitch. I think this is excellent advice.
  7.  Practice-Practice-Practice.  If you can craft a terrific introduction in the car on your way to a networking event, more power to you!  Most of us need practice.  Write out your pitch. Say it out loud. Does it flow? Easily? Do you trip over the construct of the sentences? Ask someone to listen to your introduction.  Do they understand what you want to communicate?  If not, start over.

A great introduction will reward you many times over. Use the above tips to work and rework your introduction until it’s just right. You’ll know when it is. Say your introduction over and over until it becomes automatic. Try it out with several trusted people who will provide honest feedback. Your introduction must have impact. Be enthusiastic! You must be convinced first before you can convince others.

Care to share? I’d love to hear your introduction. Why not leave it below in “Comments?”

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