You’re about to meet someone for the first time, step into the unknown, and hopefully strike up an enjoyable conversation. It could be your next valuable business, career, or sales relationship that might just be the turning point you’ve been waiting for.
But first, you’re going to have to introduce yourself and tell them what you ‘do’. Oh dear. It could all hinge on this couldn’t it? You’re about to be judged and then either accepted or rejected.
How do you feel about that moment?
How have you been taught to introduce yourself? Throw in your sales elevator pitch? (Come on guys, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but here in the UK we don’t even have elevators.) Show off how great you are, with numbers and stats?
Let’s take a look at how to get this right…
The problem I see is that sales courses and books everywhere tell you to design and hone your ‘elevator pitch’. They are often very formulaic (that’s ok) but very very ‘salesy’ and hyped up:
“Hi I’m Chris, ABC Systems, and we help businesses shorten the time it takes to get new products to market by up to 47.356%” (Many times I’ve read information that instructs you to put your specific percentages in, and much of the time the sentence ends up not making any sense anyway. Please..)
Are they enjoying talking to you?
If you’re on the receiving end of that, the question you have to ask is, do you really want to talk to this person? If they started off like that, what’s the rest of the conversation going to be like?!
Perhaps if you happened to desperately want to cut the time it takes to get your new product to market by up to 47.356% you might be all ears, but otherwise?
Perhaps in writing, this approach is more effective, but can still sound too canned and hyped. Like you’ve been on a sales course for the desperate.
Instead, how about just being a warm human? They can do business too.
Why not open up a relaxed conversation, and see where the other person is at? Gradually you’ll build that natural trust, respect and perhaps even the right chemistry where you both genuinely enjoy it, and then you can go in any direction you want.
Here’s how you might want to introduce yourself
1.Prepare to drop anything ‘pitchy’ or ‘salesy’. This isn’t the time.
2.Help them understand what you do and who you help, but conversationally.
Weave these pieces of info in:
a) who you help
b) the main challenge they face (that you solve)
c) their unique position that makes you the no.1 solution
d) the desired future state you help move them to
3.Consider delivering the information either:
a) succinctly in short to-and-fro soundbites OR
b) using a story to set the scene.
(See my examples below)
4.Then put the spotlight on them for 70% of the rest of your conversation. Show interest in them and where they’re heading, show understanding, and offer help, ideas, connections, and resources wherever you can.
Tip: You’re nice and smart and helpful. So be nice and smart and helpful. (You can drop the ‘nice’ later if you need to once they know you better and trust you more (or if, really, you’re actually a gangster)).
Regardless, that’s not a bad way to introduce yourself.
My written formulaic example
I help technical or non-sales teams who need to spot more opportunities and convert those into business but who are unclear or uncomfortable to do this consistently well and measurably
How I bring it alive in conversation
Stranger: What do you do?
Me: I work with technical or ‘non-sales’ teams and help them to develop business
Stranger: What, like, business consulting?
Me: Yes, but specifically with technically minded people or subject matter experts who have to basically ‘sell’ their services but can’t stand the idea of ‘selling’ or who just aren’t good at it
Stranger: that sounds different – so it’s sales training?
Me: It includes training, coaching, consulting, whatever it takes to have these often smart but ‘anti-sales’ people confidently growing theirs and their customer’s businesses
How I use the ‘story’ approach
I would tend to use this if we’re a bit more engaged in the conversation and have some rapport and mutual listening going on between us first.
Stranger: So what do you do then?
Me: Well, more and more organisations these days are getting their technical or ‘non-sales’ people involved in sales meetings. It’s generally seen to make more sense to get the technical people to help sell rather than to attempt to teach the sales people to learn the technical stuff!
What they find though is that the technical people face specific challenges – often mindset related, but skills too – that may threaten the sale or have them miss opportunities to add more value to clients, and what I do is work with those technical people so that they can make more sales efficiently and confidently.
Find the ‘beat’ to the conversation
Whichever you use, you need to feel clear and confident as you deliver it, so adapt to the situation, be warm, relaxed and human. Sometimes the story can flow, other times the conversation/rapport is such that you need to deliver the words succinctly.
The art of introducing yourself is about feeling your way through to make it work and create that enjoyable conversation that may well lead to a productive mutually rewarding relationship.
For more on helping your technical or non-sales people to develop business confidently and competently, you can visit my site here or get in touch here. And if you know anyone who might need my help, I’m sure we’d both be grateful if you can connect us! Thanks.
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