Let’s talk today about 30-second commercials in networking meetings. What does a 30-second commercial have to do with social media marketing?
It doesn’t. But it does have to do with networking and referrals.
We all do a lot of networking in the area. I get a lot of my referrals through networking. So I thought I’d give you some tips on how to give an effective 30-second commercial that actually results in referrals.
1. Plan ahead:
I’ve seen this time and time again in different networking settings: Someone’s name is called and they’re just not prepared. It’s like their turn snuck up on them. Before you even walk through the door to a networking meeting, make sure you have some idea of what you’re going to say. Be prepared! We all know that when we’re prepared, we sound more confident! As my friend Terri Martinez says, “preparation equals confidence”.
2. Stick to the time limit:
I hope I don’t ruffle any feathers when I say this, but a 30-second commercial means you have 30 seconds. If you go over 30 seconds in a setting in which there’s a timer with a buzzer or bell at the end, and you talk through that bell, what you’re saying is that your time is more important than everyone else’s time. That’s not a good takeaway as a representation of your business. Keep your 30-second commercial to 30 seconds or less, and you’ll be perceived as being respectful of everyone else’s time.
You may not even realize that you’re doing this. We’re all excited and passionate about our businesses, and it’s so easy to keep talking! But when you talk through the bell, you come off as though you don’t care about the rules of the networking setting, or about the time of the other people involved. Stay aware of the time!
It might sound silly, but it’s important to practice. When I drive to a networking meeting I bet I look pretty silly, because I look like I’m talking to myself the whole way. I’m actually rehearsing my 30-second commercial. Sometimes I rehearse in the car on the way there. Often I’ll rehearse the night before. I also rehearse in front of the mirror! As silly as that might seem to you, it really helps to practice your commercial. If you can get good at what you want to say, it comes through clearly and concisely when you actually get up to speak.
And to refer back to my last point, this is where you can make sure that your message fits into your 30-second time slot. You probably have a lot to say. Time yourself when you practice, and you might be surprised to see that you actually spoke for 45 seconds or more! Then you know that you have to trim it down and really perfect what you want to say. So practice before the meeting!
4. Tell a story:
I stole this tip from Russ Riddle. Make sure you’re telling a story, and “the story gets the glory.” I will look through my week and pick out some wins we had for our clients, and I’ll tell that story. Remember, people don’t care about what we do. They only care about the result of what we do! Whether you’re a plumber, an insurance agent, a roofer, whatever; we as individuals don’t really focus on what you do, we focus on the result of what you do. So try to get that story in that 30 seconds, if you can.
5. Ask for specific referrals:
This is what has been the most successful tactic for me: Asking for a very specific referral. The mistake that I see is people not being specific enough, basically asking to be referred to anyone who’s breathing. The problem is that no one comes to mind when I hear that. But if you were to say to me, “I’m looking for families with children who live in Allen who have moved here in the past three months,” that’s a great referral! Collectively the audience is going through their minds, thinking about who they might know who fits that description.
This just happened the other day. I asked for a referral for a pest control company, because we are an industry-exclusive company (meaning we only serve one business per industry) and we’re looking for a pest-control business to help market their services. At the meeting, because I had asked for that specific referral, I had two or three people come up to me and say, “Hey, call this person!”
So if you ask for a very specific person, that triggers people into thinking of people they might know who fit your needs. So be very specific when asking for a referral.
6. Use a tagline:
This is a bonus tip: Try to think of some memorable tagline, if you can, for your business. At some of the networking groups I meet with people will actually start to finish your tagline for you, if you’ve found a good one and you’ve been using it! And when people do that, you have become memorable. My tag line is “When you Market With Mario, you profit with Mario.” Tie the tag line in to your services—hopefully I’m giving the idea that when you use our services, you’re going to profit from our services. It has a ring to it, people can finish it—and when they do that, it’s pretty neat!
You don’t have to do that, it’s optional. But if you can, it’s a neat bonus.
I hope these six tips help you in your offline marketing, because perfecting your 30-second commercial can really help you generate more leads and more referrals for your business. Please share this with anyone who is new to networking. Thanks!