5 mistakes accountants make with their 60-second pitch at networking groups
Are you attending weekly networking meetings like BNI to market your practice? Networking events like this can be incredibly valuable to your business, especially if you make the most of your 60-second networking pitch; if you don’t, you will end up getting the wrong type of work and the really small businesses, if you get any business at all! The 60-second networking pitch is a stable and invaluable component of any networking event that you attend, so make sure that you avoid these classic mistakes to win yourself the bigger and better clients.
60-second pitch networking mistakes
60 seconds is a precise amount of time; and it is very easy to go over your allotted time limit. Make sure that you keep to it as no-one likes these things to drag on! Time yourself with an alarm that goes off at the 1-minute mark, and you’ll soon find that your 60-second networking pitch will be timed to perfection.
2. Lack of practice
Ever heard of the phrase “fake it till you make it?” If you’re not the most confident person or you’re terrified of public speaking, fake it. To gain referrals at networking events you need to appear confident in: your product; your ability to deliver and in what you are asking the group for. Practice as much as possible and be confident and you’ll win the trust of the people around you.
3. Reading from notes
There is nothing worse than listening to a person speak with their head down reading from a script, so ditch reading, make lots of eye contact and be passionate about your service. Even if you are the 15th person to go, at the event, people still want to engage with you, so you need a 60-second networking pitch that will perk everyone up and demand attention. People still buy from people, so give a memorable pitch that will make people want to become your unpaid sales force.
4. Forget the call to action
You’re here to market your accounting practice, so make sure you remember to ask for what you want at the end of your 60-second networking pitch! You have the potential to convert every single person at the networking event to be your unpaid sales person and these are the people who can get you that appointment which may lead to a massive business opportunity. If you forget to ask for what you want, you lose out on a major opportunity for bigger and better clients.
5. Talk about features rather than benefits
People don’t want to hear about the features of your profession, they want to know what value your services bring to your client base. If they know the benefits, they can help bring you the type of clients and work that you want. Next time you say something like “I’m an accountant, I own my own practice and I work with small business owners…” don’t! Think about the types of clients that could really do with your service and share this with them instead.
How to perfect your 60-second networking pitch
So we’ve talked about what not to do, now it’s time to talk about what you should be doing.
A great 60-second networking pitch is formed of 4 core components:
- The introduction – remember to talk about the value you bring to your clients and then ask a question that leads on to the credibility story that you are about to tell. E.g. “My name is Heather Townsend and I help accountants grow a one million pound practice. Who wishes that they could grow a one million pound practice while working fewer hours with less stress?
- The credibility story – follow your question with a credibility story that demonstrates how you can help people. Keep it short like what prompted your client to engage you and the result they achieved via your services.
- The ask – now you need to ask for introductions to these people that you want to meet. The more specific you can be here the better. Who is your ideal client? It’s best if they link to your credibility story as you can talk about how they need your service too.
- The call to action – summarise the talk, repeat your name and what you are looking for (i.e the people that you want to be referred to). This is an essential part of the 60 second pitch as people may not have heard you the first time or they only tuned in for the story. Plus they are more likely to remember what it is that you want when you say it more than once.
If you avoid making the five classic mistakes at networking groups and create a talk with these four components, you will be able to deliver a fantastic 60-second pitch which gets you the results you need.
Nobody wants to just be one of the 50+ pitches that people have heard at a networking event, so make an impact and win more clients for it.