One business owner I spoke to recently talked about being absolutely terrified when she delivered her first 60 second pitch at a BNI meeting.
The 60 second pitch seems to have become the stable component of any networking event you attend. But this is what I can’t understand: if attendees at networking events know they’ll need to deliver a 60 second pitch, why are so many people making one or more of these classic mistakes when delivering their 60 second pitch?
1. Too long
60 seconds is a precise amount of time – and it’s very easy to go over your allotted time limit. I’ve known of one Athena leader who timed people’s 60 seconds, and a beeper went off when you had had your 60 second. A somewhat draconian way to keep people to time, but definitely effective.
2. Lack of practice
To gain referrals at networking events you need to appear confident in your product, your ability to deliver and what you are asking the group for. A car crash of a 60 second will limit your ability to win the trust and confidence of the people around you.
3. Reading from a script
People still buy from people. Even if you are the 15th person to go at the event, people still want to engage with you. So that means you need to make eye contact and be passionate about your product. This means ditch reading through a script word for word. How dull is that to listen to?! Reading through a dry case study or changes to rules and regulations is not going incentivise people to become your unpaid sales force.
4. Forget to ask for what they want
You have the potential to convert every single person at the networking event to be your unpaid sales person. These are the people who can get you that appointment which may lead to a massive business opportunity. If you forget to ask for what you want, you lose out on a major opportunity to recruit this sales force.
5. Talk about features rather than benefits
How many times have you listened to the following statement, or something similar?
“I’m an accountant and I work with small business owners…”
“For my sins, I’m a lawyer…”
You get the picture, people don’t want to hear about the features of your profession, but what value you bring to your client base.
Heather Townsend, Britain’s queen of networking, is the founder of The Efficiency Coach, a company that helps professionals achieve better business results for less effort. Follow her Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks.
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