I heard my good friend Jim Culverwell use the phrase “pitching beyond the room” last night whilst discussing his approach at networking meetings like BNI and Peer Group Learning. I loved the phrase because it sums up a truth that most people who network seem to completely ignore and I had to share it with you.
Many people join networking groups because they just want to sell to the other people in the room. The challenge is that most groups are full of other people in the same position and in truth, few either need or can afford your services. So should you give up on networking? Absolutely not. What you need to do is remember one simple fact.
Understand that everyone in the room has a huge network of their own consisting of friends, family, neighbours, colleagues, clients, ex colleagues, social club members, sporting partners and almost certainly some of those people would love what you do and could afford to pay for it if they knew what you did and how you could help them. In order to capitalise on this inescapable truth , you need to design your pitch to be attractive to those people who are not in the room but who are connected to those that are. You also need to help your audience to make the connection in their heads between you and their friend, colleague or client.
How can you do this? Well one classic way is to verbally paint a picture of the type of person you would like to connect with. For example I might ask the audience to think of anybody who they know has recently been promoted to a position where they have to stand up on their hind legs and speak in public. Perhaps they have a friend or neighbour who has been complaining to them about how uncomfortable they feel having to fulfil this new responsibility. If they have someone like that in mind then II ask them if perhaps they would do both of us a favour by simply making an introduction. Think of the goodwill that helping a colleague or client will bring you and all you need to do is put me in touch with them.
So that’s what I mean by pitching outside the room. Firstly you need to make the mindset shift and realise that the people in the room are not your prospects however they can become your gateway to the type of people you really want to connect with.
Secondly you need to structure your presentation so that you help them to identify potential people who might genuinely benefit from what you do. It’s all just common sense really but I see people ignoring it every day and I know that their short sightedness and inflexibility is costing them dearly!
Thanks Jim for the timely reminder