Do you cringe when you have to go to a networking event and give a 30 second “elevator pitch”?
Do you avoid networking groups all together?
Don’t! Networking is one of the best ways to build your business and build a relationship with other professionals in your community.
Networking has changed too! It’s not passing out your business card to 50 strangers and never hearing from them again. It’s sharing your story and listening to other people’s stories.
First thing you can do is change your perspective. Instead of walking into the room and thinking
“What do I need to say to get these strangers to refer me business?”
change it to:
“I can’t wait to meet all of these people and learn how they can help me and my clients”.
Networking isn’t about you.
It’s about being helpful to other people. The most important people that networking can help with is YOUR CURRENT CLIENTS.
Think about it. If you are pet sitting at someone’s house and a water pipe bursts – wouldn’t it be nice to call on a plumber that you have built a relationship with through networking vs picking one at random through a Google search? Wouldn’t it be nice to tell your clients “I know Plumber Bob through my networking group, I see him every week, I’ve gotten to know him personally and I trust him”.
That adds VALUE to you because it brings VALUE to your clients.
When I first started going to networking events my commercial was along the lines of “Hi, my name is Laura and I am a pet sitter. If you know anyone with a pet, please give them my card”.
Booooorrrrrring. At it’s core it really doesn’t say anything about who I am and what I do.
AND: My client is NOT “anyone with a pet”. (Look over and take this Client Assessment to find out exactly who your client is).
Here are 3 examples of what you can say if you have to give a 30 second commercial at any networking event: (note: they should all start with introducing yourself, your business name, and your tag line if you have one).
1) Happy New Year! Are you or anyone you know planning for an epic family vacation this year? Maybe a trip to Disney or a family reunion? If there are pets involved – we can help! We know that pets can get stressed out when their people travel and we can come visit them in their own home so they can stay in familiar surroundings. We can come up to 2-4 times a day and we can also spend the night in your home so they have someone to snuggle with! Playtime for your pups and peace of mind for you!
A key to the above commercial is the focus isn’t really on pet sitting. It’s on “an epic family vacation to Disney, family reunion”. Those are the keywords that you want to put in their heads. Pets are our focus because it’s our business – when the people in the room are talking to their friends, pets are probably not going to be the focus.
BUT an upcoming trip may be! And that’s the foot in the door you want. That’s the image that you put out there and the goal is for the conversation about travel to trigger their memory about your commercial.
2) Do you know someone who just had knee or back surgery? Or someone who may have physical limitations and can’t give their dog the exercise they need? We can help! We offer 30-60 minute walks 5 days a week to help the dogs get some fresh air and mental stimulation. A walked dog is a happy dog! Maybe you know someone with a cat and it is difficult for them to lean down to scoop the litter box. Have them give us a call – we want to make their lives as comfortable as possible while they recover!
The key to the above commercial is in how specific it is. “Someone with knee or back surgery”. If you go through the list of who your dog walking services could help you’d need an hour commercial! (And that would even make me anxious!).
Keep it simple, keep it specific.
A lot of times there will be a chiropractor, a massage therapist, and other health industry professionals in the audience – this is who your target is for this commercial. They may not know if one of their clients has a pet but they know about any physical limitations and you just put their pets in the picture to start that conversation.
3) We were taking care of a clients cat while they were in Europe and our experienced staff noticed a few things that were off: She was having to refill the water dish on a daily basis, the urine in the litter box was excessive and a weird consistency, the cat wasn’t as interested in play. We notified the owner of the changes, took the cat to the vet for some tests and it turns out he has diabetes! The owner had no idea! If you want experience for your pets and peace of mind for you, call us for all of your pet sitting needs! We’ve got you covered!
Using a specific example on how your experience can help your clients is the key. It encompasses your responsibility, reliability, attention to detail; it shows that you check in with the owner and keep them up to date on what is happening with their pets.
Just like it is too broad to say that your client is anyone with a pet, it’s too much to say “I have a lot of experience with pets”. Talk about the stories that gave you that experience.
Networking all comes down to the story. And we’re all storytellers – and listeners!
Share with us your networking stories!