If you have been to any networking event you will probably be familiar with the elevator pitch. To be honest, we don’t like the term elevator pitch, as Seth Godin says ‘No business is ever done in an elevator.’
But in this case we are talking about the part of the event where you get to stand up and talk to the room.
You know the part we mean right?
Some people love it.
Some people hate it.
We have seen it turn grown men into bumbling idiots.
And some people just nail it!
Our opinion… we LOVE this part of the event. From a marketing perspective this is your chance to not only shine, but to find out who in the room you should be connecting with.
We rarely attend any networking events where we don’t get the opportunity to find out who everybody is, as the return on these in our opinion, is limited.
Yes, relationships aren’t built in elevators (as per that awesome Seth Godin quote), however from a marketing point of view, this is your time to leave an impression.
If you’re local to us, you’ll know we hit the networking scene big time when we started off to get that initial traction, and we didn’t do it by halves.
We like to think we did pretty well out of networking, and especially the pitch to the room. In fact, years later we still get people getting in touch, who remember us from one of our pitches, and are now ready to buy. That is the power of Stand Out Marketing, and being unforgettable in these opportunities.
So, what is the purpose of the pitch?
Here’s where most people fail, you have up to 60 seconds usually to make an impression. That’s not long. But people rarely think of the message they want to leave.
So, before we got to work brainstorming any of our pitches, we always asked ourselves one question:
What is the Most Wanted Action, we want to achieve today?
And today only. There’s no point in trying to list everything you do. Say too much and you’ll say nothing. You need to have a Most Wanted Action (MWA) – i.e. what do you want people to take away with them, act upon, or write down. Keep it simple. This could be anything from:
- Book a meeting with us
- Check out our latest webinar
- Let us help you with a specific problem
- Check out our latest promotion
- Think about who you could refer to us
We didn’t try to hit all the above in one pitch, or people won’t remember any of it.
Now, remember you are trying to make your elevator pitch unforgettable too, so the next question we asked ourselves was:
How do we ensure, out of all the businesses attending today, people go back to their busy lives and remember us?
To be honest, the most effective way to do this for us was to go wacky. Our brand is fun, and networking events can be a bit dry, so we said to ourselves: ‘if we are the ones to change the tone of this event, we’ll be remembered.’
Now, if this doesn’t align with your brand, fair enough. But here’s the top 10 things we did in our elevator pitches that made us stand out and won us business. (We say top 10, because we must have done about 100 different pitches)
Number 1: Indoor Fireworks
These are cheap cake toppers that we set off during a pitch. There was a metaphor around it. We think the client was the firework, we were the match, and together we can make something amazing happen. The metaphor doesn’t really matter. We were the marketing company who set off a firework! People wanted to talk to us!
Number 2: Party Poppers
Party Poppers are less extreme than a firework, but let’s put it in context… party poppers and Networking don’t tend to go, and are even easier to set off (we didn’t have to double check with the venue for example!) Give your pitch some extra bang, by setting off a party popper at the end. We even once had some stooges in the audience dotted around… and we all set them off together.
Number 3: Chocolate for the Right Answer
Open with a question about your industry and the first person to answer correctly wins a chocolate bar. Throw the chocolate bar to that person… don’t walk to give it to them. You’ll instantly get people’s attention… people don’t tend to throw things at a networking event.
Number 4: Dress Up
Yep – we went there too. We were fresh from university, so had plenty in the fancy dress box. We have done this a few times for Halloween now. The very first time we went all out and dressed up as zombies, and had somebody buy off us in the meeting. This is how far we went… in our first meeting afterwards, the guy didn’t recognise us in normal clothes.
Number 5: Write a Story as a Poem
This is becoming more popular and we’ve seen a couple people do it now. But it does always catch attention. So why not take it a step further. Do you have a way with words? How awesome would it be if EVERY SINGLE ONE of your pitches was a poem.
You’ll be remembered we bet
Nobody would ever forget
Number 6: Take a Prop
We are massive fans of a good prop. Nobody ever has a prop. And it doesn’t have to be hard either. We once saw an accountant take a pillow and stated with “Hi, I’m accountant, I’ve brought a pillow if anybody would like to take a nap during this.” Brilliant! We once took lots of pots and pans, and a couple wooden spoons. Andrew banged as loud as he could, whilst Pete tried his best to do the pitch. It symbolised ‘breaking through the noise.’
Number 7: Play Some Music
Your iPhone can play the role of a backing track beautifully. You could add sound effects into your pitch, or play some sad music to set the scene of all the problems you can help with. We once even had a quick fire game of pass the parcel!
Number 8: Take a Partner
We had an advantage because there was always two of us. If you are in a partnership or have other team members use them to put on a double act. We often would memorise a whole pitch word for word, then either take a word each, or say the whole thing in unison… perfectly!
Number 9: Take a Mystery Box
This used to work a treat too, we would have a mystery box that would have something different in it relating to our pitch that week, sometimes it was a prize, or once it was helium balloons! We would Tweet a photo of it each week, and people would guess what was in it, generating some pre-event buzz.
Number 10: A Reverse Presentation
Finally, we once did a reverse presentation and played the part of the anti-hero. Here’s what we mean, we were promoting logo design at the time, but instead of standing up and saying all the benefits of a snazzy logo, we went the opposite way. “Hey we’re Pickering and Gartland creative, we do cheap nasty logos on the best software possible… Microsoft Paint, ensuring your logo has to be on a white background and is nice and pixelated when you make it bigger. They come in many colours including, corporate blue, blue sky and navy blue. Talk to us if you want to blend into the background.” Top Tip: You have to push it so far that people know you are joking 😉
S0, there you have it, our top 10 networking presentations. But now what?
Yes those are a bit out there, but even if you can come across as a fraction more interesting, you’ll make networking work quicker for you.
Networking is about relationship building, and you’ll have heard the cycle of ‘Meet, Like, Know, Trust’ before you get that sale.
Well, being a bit more entertaining in your pitch will most definitely get you moved onto ‘like’ quicker, and get you moving towards that sale quicker too.
There is more to networking that a snazzy pitch though, check out this download courtesy of Stefan Thomas (author of Business Networking for Dummies), to find out how to really make networking work for you…