Small business networking. Even just the words are enough to bring people out in a sweat.
Walking into a room full of people is scary but there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself. Proper preparation will leave you feeling calm and confident. Joanne Dewberry, the author of Networking a Successful Small Business, spoke to High Life North about how to nail your perfect pitch.
Firstly, you should consider putting together an elevator pitch, not a sales pitch – these are two different things. Think of your elevator pitch more in terms of “Hello my name is …” followed by a sentence or two about your business, ensuring you have a clear understanding of what you do and what your small business benefits are to others.
If you are unable to easily or eloquently tell people what your small business is and does, then others will struggle to know, understand or even see the benefit to them (or others). Think about the language you use and try to avoid words such as “just, little business, only,” which makes you sound tentative, lacking in confidence and ultimately unsure. Our language shapes our perspective.
Example: I “just” write a blog about business. Vs. I write a multi-awarding winning small business blog which enabled me to write an Amazon bestseller and work with companies such as Sage UK as a small business expert.
Using “just” as an adverb describing how you do something, makes it sound like I’m unsure whereas the definite, “I write” resonates the fact I understand my business and my role.
Avoid pompous, industry jargon, which is both unnatural, not at all authentic and will always leave the person your talking to feeling confused. End with a call to action if you can, so that the listener knows exactly what to do next.
Practice makes perfect:
Practice your elevator pitch so that it easily rolls off the tongue and you really believe it, feel it and it’s not just a jumble of words you strung together to sound semi-professional. Consider tailoring your pitch to match your surroundings, the industries and small business genres at each networking events. This shows that you have done your research and have something useful to offer/provide for the other attendees and their clients/customers or possible collaborations. Always revisit your elevator pitch to include any changes to your small business, seasonal changes or any business awards or achievements you have received.
“I used to feel really awkward about presenting myself and small business at networking events until I was introduced to the idea of elevator pitches. I worked through what I the key points of my business were and now I say ‘My name is Lexy, I own Award Winning Made By Me Craft Parties. I run beautiful, fun and personalised craft parties for children, teens and adults.’
“It has made me so much more confident as I have a clearer idea about what exactly I’m going to say.”
Alexia Browning, Made By Me Craft Parties
For more tips and advice on networking for your small business check out Joanne’s new book “Networking A Successful Small Business” which can be purchased via Amazon, here.