You have experienced it yourself:
Someone approaches you at a business event and asks: "So what do you do?"
You stumble a response like:
"I am a coach."
"I am a designer."
"I provide solutions."
"Well, it's complicated.."
At best, you see a question mark on the forehead of the other person, so you start explaining:
"I studied psychology. But then I didn't like the idea of only listening to the problems of other people for the rest of my life. So I wondered what else could I do. I got interested in organic farming. There was this one book that I read..."
You see the other person getting more nervous with every sentence you say.
She is looking around in the room, trying to find an excuse to escape that conversation with you. "That sounds interesting! Oh, there is my friend over there. I am back in a minute.."
And gone she is.
When you meet her again during the event, she smiles at you and walks in another direction. And you have lost a potential ideal client or a critical JV partner.
The good news is:
It's not about you.
It's not about what you offer.
You are great at what you are doing.
And no, you don't need to get a day job that you hate.
There is only one thing you need to do.
It makes the difference between leaving events with new clients and JV partners and frustration and self-doubt.
This is what you need to do:
You need to be able to introduce yourself in a few sentences that clarify:
a) how your ideal clients look like and
b) what kind of problems you help them solve.
These are the two main ingredients to start with.
You can add more ingredients later, but for the beginning, I recommend you to keep it as simple as possible. The more complex your message, the higher the chances that you confuse others.
All you need to do now is:
1. Take 5-15 minutes of your time
2. Answer these two questions on a sheet of paper or a document:
1) What do my ideal clients have in common?
2) With what problems do most of them come to me?
3) What do you do differently than others?
If you are already in business, go through the list of your existing customers. Look for those with whom you like to work the most. All you need to do is to write the details down.
If you are just starting, don't try to find the one, perfect answer.. it doesn't exist.
Instead, think of it as a brainstorming process. You can be creative and contemplate about how your favorite clients would look like.
Once you have your list of answers, it's time to categorize them.
Put similar answers together and find one word that describes all the answers.
A practical example
Let's say you are a designer.
Here is how your ideal clients and the problems that you solve could look like:
- Five employees
- organizes local cultural events
- gets most of his customers through bills and flyers
- The CEO believes in sustainability. He expects high quality and short response times
- they don't have their own marketing team
- problem: reaching enough prospects to fill the event
- 15 employees
- produces software for big companies
- needs infographics to visualize what his software can do for his clients
- Has one employee who does marketing only. She is expecting fast delivery and short response times
- problem: make prospects understand the sophisticated software so that they buy it.
- Seven employees
- a local shop
- needs printed ads for his weekly special offers
- no marketing team
- need fast delivery of the graphical work
- problem: get enough customers into the shop through special offers
What you do differently:
- You have set up a system that allows you to react within 2 hours on workdays because many clients ask for it.
With that list, you can write down what your ideal customers have in common:
- They have 5-15 employees
- look for short response times and high quality
- and want to get more clients through graphical work like infographics, ads, and flyers.
And that is all you need to create a short introduction for yourself. It wakes interest instead of boring people to death:
1) Complete the sentence with the following structure:
"I help ____ to get _____ through ______." Then add what sets you apart from the rest.
"I help small businesses to get more clients through infographics, flyers, and ads. They except short response times, so I have set up a system that guarantees an answer within 2 hours on any workday."
How does that sound like, compared to "I am a designer"?
If you would be a company that needs infographics in time, you would want to hear more.
Or if you have a friend that always complains. His designer needs days to respond, and you would be happy to make the connection. And this is only the first draft.
Now it's time to get real-life feedback.
Ask friends, colleagues, and your existing clients what they think of your introduction. Use it whenever someone asks you what you do. And improve it over time with the feedback that you get.
Having a clear introduction can have a positive impact on your life (and finances).
- Let's say you get to know two people per week on average where you introduce yourself.
- Two people per week = 112 per year
- Let us assume that average customer spends 1000 $ with you (can also be over a more extended period), just as an example
- Until now, through 1 out of 30 people, you get a new client. Either through a direct referral, a like or share on social media or they become a client themselves.
- 112 / 30 = 3,7 new clients per year = 3700 $ per year through networking
Now the rate changes because of your clear introduction.
Instead of 1 out of 30, 1 out of 2 people lead to a new client.
- 112 / 10 = 11,2 new clients per year = 11.200 $ per year.
That is a plus of 7.500 $ per year!
In 2 years, the difference is 15.000$.
In 5 years, the difference is 37.500 $.
The figures are imaginary, but I want to use them to make you aware of one thing:
It pays off to invest the time to come up with a clear introduction!
If you don't know how to introduce yourself:
- people feel bored,
- you leave potential clients on the table
- and might doubt yourself.
Investing the time to come up with a clear introduction leads to interest, more clients. It makes you feel better about yourself because you can do the work you love and don't need to worry about money.
If you liked this article, please let me know in a comment.
That way, I get to know what topics interest you.
I wish you a lot of fun creating your clear introduction that leads to more clients!
All the best to you,