Over the last two years, as I've returned from our global travels and started to build 5 Dots, I've been a lot more conscious of the networking that I do. I've become much more observant of how others react to me and how people react to each other. Who are the people that everyone wants to learn more about? What is it that they do in order to gain deeper relationships, which most times translates to more business. What is the approach that they take to make it seem so effortless? How do they approach new relationships that makes them different?
I've talked about the concept of human doings vs human beings often over the past year or more, to me that is still at the core of the issue. As I facilitate more and more networking events and groups the more I realize that the elevator pitch, which I've come to love creating, in many ways is useless to the average business owner. The challenge is that every once in a while we can point to a conversation where we told someone what we do and business resulted. This is probably 100% true, the only issue is I'm beginning to believe that this is the exception and not the rule. The elevator pitch might be ideal for a high-tech startup looking to land some seed funding, but I'm not sure that it's right for most situations.
We've all been told that people do business with people that they know and trust. So, does delivering the perfect elevator pitch do that? How is trust built and can we build it through the perfect 30 second commercial? In some cases, it is possible when the ideal solution walks into someone with the perfect problem and magic happens, but for us mere mortals it's not that easy. When I first returned from traveling and people started a conversation I would talk about doing vs being and then I would ask what they did for a living. What a terrible question!
The more conscious I become about the evolution of human relationships the more I realize where it all starts. It starts getting to know the other person and seeing them for who they are. It starts with being present and letting them know you're listening and deeply care about them as a human being. In a recent networking meeting with a dozen other people in attendance, one of the group members said that it's hard to have lots of deep relationships. I totally, 100%, disagreed. It's not hard to have deep and meaningful relationships and interactions. What is hard is making time for lots of ongoing deep and meaningful relationships.
What if we tried to make every interaction more meaningful and we tried to be more present? What would that feel like for both individuals? How would you feel if you met someone who was so interested in learning about you and not trying to sell you anything? Doesn't that make you feel better than someone telling you what they do hoping that you might know someone you can introduce them to? Based on this line of thinking I'm coming to the conclusion that the elevator pitch might be outdated, and what we really need to do is just learn to build relationships. Most of our new business comes from those we know and trust, so how do we help people get to know us and learn to trust us? To me, that is the $1 million question.
Now, don't get me wrong. There will come a time and place where you need to clearly articulate what it is that you do for a living. If you can't do that then you will never get referrals. I'm saying that this is not the starting point. the elevator pitch, the ability to clearly and articulately define what you sell, who your target market is and what your ideal referral partners look like is critical, just hold onto that information until you have developed a relationship. Adam Grant, in his book Give & Take, states that the most successful people in the world are the givers and the most unsuccessful people are the givers. Knowing how and when to use your giving skill set, establishing boundaries and knowing when to ask for what you need is what will make the difference. In the end, when the relationship is formed the elevator pitch becomes so much more useful!