A subscriber wrote to ask what to do during an upcoming formal event where a bunch of attendees would go from person to person for an orchestrated five-minute exchange of networking (italics on purpose). In other words, as he put it, “we’ll each have five minutes to pitch ourselves and our products/services. So, how do I get that person’s business?”
After suggesting that he forever lose the word, “pitch” from his vocabulary (unless in the vernacular of a baseball game), my response was to treat his five-minute conversations as he would any other five-minute conversation at any other event; focus on the other person. Ask the Feel-Good Questions he learned in Endless Referrals and, of course, The One Key Question, “How can I know if someone I’m speaking with would be a good prospect for you?”
“But” he continued, “how will that result in their doing business with me or referring me to others?”
I explained that (aside from the unusual exceptions), since most people don’t do business with someone directly or refer them to others upon meeting them for the first time during longer events, why should this event be any different? “Get their business card and begin the follow-up process. Effectively add value to their lives and, over the short-term and/or long-term, you’ll do business with them (if they need/want your services) and/or receive referrals from them.”
He then understood. What had “thrown him off” was a new type of environment. But, as he discovered, the premise is still the same; “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” That can begin during a five-minute chat, but the success is in the “relationship-cultivating” follow-up.
So . . . regardless of the situation; regardless of the time; regardless of the particular event, genuinely focus on the other person and how you can in some way add value (or, as Wallace Wattles used to say, “add increase”) to their life.