“It took me eight months before I finally got my first lead from this networking group,” a woman (we’ll call her… Megan) said at one of my networking meetings. I was shocked. Eight months! My first sale had come in the first meeting and nearly every meeting after that. What were we doing differently?

Megan has been a member of our networking group for about four years. My membership began about six months ago. After recovering from Megan’s shocking statement, I realized that though I met Megan at my first meeting, and everyone had a chance to give a “60 Second Commercial” at each meeting to explain his or her business, I had no idea what Megan did. “What do you do,” I asked her.

“Oh, everyone knows what I do,” she said. “I’m in computers.” Oh. Well that cleared it up.

I eventually found out that Megan was a headhunter and place technically savvy people (a.k.a. “Techies”) in corporate IT positions. She was looking to meet Techies and corporate human resource persons who were looking to hire Techies. Aaahhh. That made more sense, didn’t it? Megan made a classic mistake when she attended our networking meetings.

She never clearly explained what she did or who she was trying to network to meet, and simply assumed that because she continued to show up at meetings – even participate on The Board of the organization – that she would get business. That’s simply not the way networking works. If no one knows what you do, then no one is going to give you business. Most networking groups allow their members to give a “60 Second Commercial” to introduce themselves and explain what they do. Following are some quick tips to help you use generate as much business as you can out of that 60 seconds at your next networking meeting.


What has to be included in that 60 seconds? There are five pieces to an effective networking commercial. Double-check your commercial to make sure you have them all.


o This is a way to get people to perk up and listen to what you have to say. Questions, quick quotes, and startling statistics are great ways to start 30-60 second “networking commercials.”

o Examples

§ “Do you want to make more money? I can help you do that!”

§ “Who here does NOT have cash flow problems? No one?!?! Well, our company can help your cash flow like a river with our wonderful payment programs.”

§ “Public speaking is the #1 fear of Americans. Further down the list of most feared items is death. That means at a funeral most people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy! For those of you who understand why people would rather die than give a speech or you simply want to learn how to be a dynamic speaker, then we’re the company for you.”

2. WHO YOU ARE -Your name and Company name (You’d be surprised how many people forget this part!)


o Make this as simple as possible

§ “We are headhunters for ‘techies’ or technically savvy people.”

§ “Our company specializes in graphic design and visual business communications such as logos, flyers, postcards, and other image setting marketing pieces.”

§ “We are marketing consultants that magically make your business grow!”

o Never assume that someone knows or understands what you do because they’ve met you before.

o Be consistent with what you do.

o Avoid saying things like:

§ “I wear several hats.” (We all do, but you have to make it easy for someone to understand what you do in a few moments. This type of statement confuses people.)

§ “My company does lots of things.”

§ “It’s hard to explain what we do.” (If you can’t explain it, how is someone supposed to know what they can buy from you?) Now that you’ve gotten their attention and explained WHAT you do, you should also include WHO you do it for. WHO YOU DO IT FOR

· Explain very simply who you are talking/marketing to

o Identify your “perfect client.” It will increase the number of “appropriate” people you have responding to your networking efforts because they’ll know to whom you are addressing.

o Who is your “target audience?”

o Who buys your product or service?

§ Small businesses

§ Corporations

§ Women/Men

§ High income/Low income

§ Business professionals

§ Etc.

o Examples

§ “We specialize in web development for companies under 100 employees.”

§ “We have programs to specifically help Seniors get their balance back and stay agile as they grow older.”

§ “We use meditation techniques to help golfers stay focused and take strokes off their game.”

· Is this group your direct target or is it people they may know? If it’s the people they know, then say that. For example, if you are a pharmaceutical salesperson and are at a meeting of physicians, the doctors themselves wouldn’t be your target audience, but their patients are. “Our new Sneeznomore pill will help millions of people - people like your patients - control their allergies.”

· Give a “call-to-action” (a simple reason for people to talk to you later)

o “See me after the meeting to schedule your 20-minute complimentary coaching session.”

o “Be sure to give me your business card to receive our quarterly newsletter full of marketing & communications ideas for your business.

o “Get 15% off our new book Marketing Your Small or Growing Business on a Shoestring Budget if you buy it at today’s meeting.”

o “If you help us place an ‘Executive Business Program’ at one of our Dominican Republic locations, you are entitled to an all expenses paid trip for two to our resort.” (SIGN ME UP!) HOW TO SAY IT

· Position

o Stand to gain control and respect

o Move to a spot so that no one (or nearly no one) is staring at your back.

o Use “open” gestures (wide open arms, not folded across chest)

o Smile


· Voice

o Speak loud enough for all to hear (especially when there is noise from the kitchen or restaurant)

o Speak slowly (especially when giving company name and “call-to-action”)

o Sound passionate about what you are talking about. If you aren’t excited by what you do, why would anyone else be interested in working with you?


· Use memory tricks so people remember name.

o Similes: “My name is Mardi Maraschino – like the cherry.” (from Grease movie)

o Acronyms: “We are BABB Insurance Co. BABB stands for ‘Biggest And Best Brokers.’”

o Monikers: “I’m a professional business humorist, better known as ‘Mr. Business-Lite.’”

· Professionalism – do you reflect the type of client you want to attract?

· Attire

o Colors – wear unusual or noticeable colors – especially colors which reflect your company colors. (Like ORANGE for example. Since orange is one of my company colors, I use it in all my marketing materials and am sure to always have the color around me. During the colder months I wore a brilliant burnt orange scarf. Now I carry a wonderful burnt orange purse. I also have orange earrings and several orange blouses. Not a meeting goes by where someone does not mention one of my orange items.)

o Accessories – wear unusual or noticeable accessories such as a dramatic hat, a beautiful lapel pin, a wild tie, a wonderful flower in your lapel, a fabulous scarf, crazy earrings, or an outstanding handbag. Try to be consistent with your wild accessory so it gets remembered. I encouraged Megan to more clearly explain what she did during her 60 second commercial. She started off by saying, “Someone here told me that they didn’t know what I do and that I should explain it better. I match up computer programmers and other “techies” with employers who are looking to hire technologically savvy people. Most of you wouldn’t fit into the type of person I’m looking for, but you may know a family member, friend, or client who is a “techie” or is looking to hire one. My cards are on the display table in the back. Please take one and contact me or forward my name to anyone who fits the description of the people I am looking for.” People began nodding their heads as if to say, “Oh! THAT’s what you do!” Megan left the meeting with several leads that day. Now that you know what to say, how to say it, who to say it to, and how to get remembered at networking meetings, you should be able to close the gap on your next networking sale. So get out there and make the most out of your 60 seconds!

Author's Bio: 

Kirstin Carey is President of Orange Tree Training & Speaking Group, Inc. and is a communications expert who trains and coaches professionals to improve their communications and presentation skills. She presents fun and content-filled programs which train and educate CEO’s, managers, trainers, and staff to perform more effectively in sales, marketing, customer service, and training. Kirstin can be reached at Kcarey@ottsg.com or www.ottsg.com