I recently invited a friend to a Business Network International (BNI) breakfast get together. This gal is a recluse but she has a great personality, once you get her out of her shell.
She has a one-woman home-based business, all conducted on the phone or via email. After a couple of years she was hinting to me that she wanted to get out and meet other small business owners, and perhaps work more within our local community.
She’s a copywriter and her talents could help them market their products better, online and off, and increase their profits. The BNI visit would be the perfect opportunity for her to increase her customer base.
Not all BNI chapters are the same, neither are lead exchange groups or Chambers of Commerce meetings. Their atmosphere is a sum of the parts. A lot of boring people together will only create a boring, clique-y meeting.
That’s what she was expecting.
The Element of Surprise
My strategy for getting her out to the meeting was by NOT telling her exactly how the meetings go. I knew if I’d told her she would meet 50 people in the space of a couple of hours and she’d have to give a short speech – an infomercial for her business – she would say Hell No and go hide in her house for another year.
On arrival we all mingled and chatted and I left her to her own devices. This particular group of people is like a family, and she was soon surrounded by people asking what she does and expressing great interest.
Business cards were flying out of pockets!
Our group leader had her sit next to him and everyone’s 30-second presentations were given. She would be last. I could see her getting more and more perturbed by the minute and she was glaring at me by the time it came for her speech.
Totally unprepared, she stood up, thanked me through clenched teeth – but with a smile – and gave the funniest most original presentation we’d all heard in a long time.
Who would have Thunk?
So what’s the moral of this story? I realized this when I spoke to her later. I finally asked what impressions she’d had about the 30-second speeches.
It was obvious, she said, who the longest-standing members of the group were. Their speeches were tired and worn out – sometimes even inaudible, delivered down to the table and not to the guests. Many other group members mouthed their speeches along with them! Most were just plain boring, she said.
Who would she be most interested in working with? The few who obviously knew how to make a great original presentation every time? (And remember, they should have been pitching their business to the newcomers, not those who’d heard it all before). That’s the whole idea isn’t it?
No, after the speeches she got the business cards of the people who obviously needed help! As a copywriter, she figured their ads and sales letters were probably as jaded and boring as their presentations! Who would have thought!
She’s not going to join the group. There’s no real need because she doesn’t have to generate masses of new leads. As a guest she’s nurturing enough interest from a dozen different members to add to her client base nicely.
But as network marketers we all need to generate new leads every day.
The 30-second speech in that group was similar to an elevator speech which network marketers must be able to present in an interesting, original and captivating way.
Just because you give a speech every day doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Try recording yourself the way you normally present it. Would you be interested? Hmm, I think not.
Forget the speech and like that old Beatles song, Act Naturally, and try something new once in a while.
Do you have a similar story? We would love to hear it.