If you want to get referrals from your networking efforts, people must know about your business. There are two kinds of audiences that need to know your company’s story. One is the people you interact with directly while networking. These could be people you meet and exchange pleasantries with at a chamber of commerce event, or people in a dedicated referral networking group such as BNI®. These are the people you want to build relationships with so that they may become reliable sources of referrals for you.
The other audience is people you don’t meet, at least not right away, but who are told about you by your networking partner or referral source. They are your prospective clients or customers that your networking partners are connected to.
Your Unique Selling Proposition
Many businesspeople think that word-of-mouth marketing is about telling everyone they meet everything they do, and that getting more referrals is simply a matter of talking to more people. Quite the opposite. In fact, it is often boring to people and overwhelming with much more information than they can remember.
In getting your message across, less is more.
You want to come up with a succinct, memorable unique selling proposition (USP) that you can use at all your business networking events.
Your USP is a brief description of the purpose of your business, stated in the most concise and compelling way possible, in order to help others understand the unique value of what you do.
A good USP simply tells people what you do in a manner that gets them to ask how you do it. Think of it as your answer to the inevitable question about work: “What do you do?”
THREE STEPS TO CREATE YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION
- Focus on two or three target markets for your business – groups of people for whom your product or services are best suited.
- Identify some challenges facing your target market that you and your business can help solve.
- Create a one- or two-sentence USP using this formula: “I help ____ [target market] ____ [solve this problem].”
Your unique selling proposition tells people the type of client you work with and the benefits you provide to them.
“I work with bright, successful, family-oriented business owners who are so busy on the immediate that they lose sight of the fundamentals that can affect their family’s financial well-being.”
– a financial advisor
“I help nonprofit organizations connect with their community through the game of golf.”
– a golf fundraising specialist
“I work with municipalities on capital improvement projects in the areas of water, wastewater, and drainage.”
– a project engineer
An effective USP is short and straight to the point. When you share it with someone who fits your target market, or who knows someone in your target market, it should elicit the question, “How do you do that?”, which leads to further conversation about your business.
This is a great way of telling your company’s story while highlighting how you can help others. It is important to have a good USP because it describes your business in terms of the needs it can fill and allows people to decide whether they want to learn more.
What is YOUR one-or-two sentence unique selling proposition? I invite you to share it in the comments.