The more specific you are in your communication, the more likely it is you will get what you’ve asked for. Ask and ye shall receive! Fair enough? When anyone, everyone, and someone are good prospects for you, count on no one. Frankly, most people we meet aren’t interested enough to ask us the clarifying questions required to get our clarifying answers. Oh, they may ask for your card to fill the silence, but you probably won’t leave a lasting positive impression.
One of the goals of networking is to leave that lasting positive impression in an effort to help one another find a job, get business, or solve a problem. In failing to leave a positive footprint with those we meet, our search for employment, clients, or solutions continues.
Every business person I know that actively networks is familiar with the ever popular ‘elevator speech’. This is the '30-second' introduction used to explain what you do so others understand how to help. A good ‘elevator speech’ should explain who you are, what you know, who you help, and who you need to meet. It should also be light fare (not too much jargon or industry stuff), kind of fun (perhaps depending on your job), and memorable. Have you ever met someone that goes on and on and on about their background, accomplishments, success, and whatever? All about them, baby. Have you ever done this? Gone on and on about yourself (not realizing it of course) while the other person is figuring out a way to fake their own death?
Well, have no fear! Enter the PEEC Statement – Profession, Expertise, Environments, and Call to Action. This very model has helped countless business owners (including me) land a client and job searchers get an interview.
Profession – This is a broad way of describing your role, it’s not necessarily your title. For example, if you are a small business owner, your title may be owner, operator, president, principal, meeting guru, whatever. Bear in mind that these titles do not always describe what you do and who you help. That’s where your version of this comes in. In fact, the more you can differentiate yourself from the others that do what you do - the better. Capiche?
Expertise – This speaks to the areas within your business where you have the most knowledge. So if you’re a financial services professional, your expertise may be in the areas of long term care, annuities, and financial planning. If you’re a meeting professional, your expertise may be in countless other areas. Of course, these may not be your only areas of expertise but you wouldn’t share everything on the first date, would you?
Environments – This is an overview of the work environments and industries that you have experience in (if relevant) or that you are interested in working with. For example, my background is in retail but my interests are currently in the insurance and financial services industries. I do have interests in other industries but the insurance stuff is my numero uno so I’m more apt to talk about.
Call to Action – Remember the concept of LCD (Least Common Denominator) way back in 9th grade algebra? Or was it 10th grade geometry? And you thought you would never use this stuff! When developing your Call to Action, reduce your target market or ideal client to the LCD. For example, instead of a chiropractor saying, “A good client for me is anyone with a spine”, it might be better served saying, “I’m looking to help women who have recently given birth that might be experiencing lower back pain.” This LCD may direct the thinking toward people you know that might fit the bill. Does this mean that new mommies are the only prospects? Of course not, but remember, this is just the first date. Over time, your Call to Action will expand much like the relationships with the people (some of them) you meet. Here’s a quick sample.
I’m a professional speaker and consultant operating a firm called Building Blocks Consulting. Bottom line - I help sales professionals grow their bottom line. My expertise is in business communication with my focus on networking, presentation skills, and sales. Since much of my work is in the insurance industry, I’m interested in meeting ambitious managing partners, directors, and general agents looking to hire and retain great sales producers.
Is this the whole story? Of course not, but it could be the start of a great chat after comparing some notes. Keep in mind that your “pitch” may seem a bit scriptish (made this word up) on paper (I know mine does) but when you speak from the heart in “real time” with real people, it should just flow. Also, it’s OK to have more than one PEEC Statement as you may want to highlight different details depending on the audience. I have numerous versions; it all depends on whom I’m speaking with.
Less is more here. Most of us over-do it. Remember, that person you’re speaking to with that glazed look in their eyes is not nearly as interested in your business as you are. You want to create enough interest in your’30 seconds’ to prompt the need to know more about your business, background, prospects, or future employer. Hopefully, those follow up conversations happen. Finally, the PEEC Statement (or whatever pitch you use) is best delivered when someone asks you for it. “So, what do you do?” My belief is you should never deliver your PEEC statement unless someone asks you about yourself. This is worth repeating – your ‘elevator speech’ is best delivered when responding to someone’s question. If they wanted to know what you do, they would ask - wouldn’t they? Don’t ask, don’t tell!
Deliver a prepared, powerful, and interesting PEEC Statement and enjoy the rewards of effectively promoting yourself, your career, or your business. Are my 30 seconds up?