Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Good Introductions -- by Paul Grabowski
Today's Guest Blog Post is byPaul Grabowski. Paul is a nationally recognized leader in the legal marketing arena and has successfully guided several law firm's business development and marketing efforts. (NOTE: Paul and I worked together several years ago in the marketing department at Andrews Kurth LLP)
You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a Good Introduction
One of the most overlooked components of starting any relationship is the initial introduction. We have all been introduced to someone whether at a business function or some other event and after the names are exchanged the customary “so, what do you do” question comes next. Having a good and memorable introduction can be the key to making yourself distinct rather than extinct.
Gone in 30 Seconds
After exchanging pleasantries, it is important to be able to succinctly and memorably describe yourself and what you do. In most cases, you have approximately 30 seconds to make an impression before the conversation has a tendency to wane and any interest level in what you do will be lost.
Normally, business professionals answer the question of what they do with a three word sentence such as “I’m a banker”, “I’m a consultant”, or “I’m a lawyer.” Yet, what impression does this leave on your new acquaintance? In this short window of opportunity you have done nothing to leave an impression and, in some cases, may have imparted a negative connotation. Developing your introduction and more importantly, practicing it, will help define who you are and what sets you apart from others. While thirty seconds seems pretty short, after repetition you will realize that you always have more time than you think.
Make it Memorable
No matter what your profession, everyone is a salesman at some point or another. The goal of a good introduction is to make it memorable. Thinking about what makes you and your company different from your competitors is always a good place to start. Second, think about those services and how you are unique to your customers, clients and industry. Finally, it is important to show a passion for what you do. If you can make your introduction interesting to the listener, they will be more inclined to carry the conversation further or allow you the opportunity to expand upon your field of expertise.
Additional Thoughts to Consider
Outside of the unique identifiers you want to include in your introduction, there are other thoughts you should consider as your develop your verbal business card. First, think about the audience to which you are being introduced. Including funny euphemisms or jokes may not always be the best path to follow. Likewise, you don’t want to be demeaning of your profession as you don’t necessarily know what your counterpart is thinking. Second, if the introduction is to a potential client, thinks about including some of the advantages of working with you that separate yourself from your competition. However, avoid putting others in your field down at your expense. Third, consider including tangible results that can be obtained based on your experience. Being able to discuss a particular issue and how you can be of assistance can always help. Finally, practice your introduction in front of someone you know. Have them take note of the tone, inflection and most importantly, your body language. Being overly aggressive can be as detrimental as being passive both in voice and physical movements.
A good verbal introduction can set the benchmark for any future business relationship. For most, it is not something that can be done instantaneously so it is always a good idea to take the time and commit your ideas to paper. Depending on your audience, consider having one or more introductions at the ready and practice them beforehand. Thus, when the opportunity presents itself you can make that first introduction memorable.
Paul S. Grabowski, Esq. has over 20 years experience in law firms, Fortune 500, private facility management, and professional and collegiate sports marketing and business development. He has been recognized for his efforts in building effective marketing and business development campaigns for businesses and individuals and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have A Great Day.