When you are networking and meeting new people whom you might form partnerships with, it is important that you are able to communicate your value. As a result, they leave the encounter understanding who you are, the unique benefits that you offer, and the value of knowing you. If you can match your value with their needs, you can create a win-win situation that leads to profits for both parties.
Pro Tip: Remember, not every networking event is going to generate actual leads. Some will generate opportunities for unique business relationships. These relationships are important as they often result in referrals!
What Is Your Unique Value?
The reality is, you cannot communicate your value if you cannot identify it! So ask yourself, “How well do I know the unique value I offer?” It is important to figure this out before you start putting your efforts into networking.
You can start brainstorming with these questions:
- How do I benefit those I work with?
- What are my unique strengths?
- What do I do well or know well compared to others?
- What are some of my success stories?
- How do I help clients or business associates?
Take inventory of your skills and areas of expertise. Go through your work history and see where you achieve results and where you spend the bulk of your time. You can also perform a SWOT analysis of your business to help clarify.
Learn Your True Value Through Feedback
Self-assessment will help you a great deal, but you also need to seek feedback from others. Other people can likely communicate your value and strengths better than you can by yourself! Why? Well, if they benefit from it, they know what it is!
People you can ask include friends, family members, employees, current and past business partners, clients, customers, and brand advocates. Look back over emails to see what they say in praise of you or reach out to them and ask directly!
Pro Tip: Go a step further, and ask your past colleagues and clients to provide a recommendation on LinkedIn!
You can also read reviews or comments about your products or services. Focus on the reasons customers or clients choose you over a competitor.
Additionally, and this may sound weird, but, look at competitors! What are they offering? Are you doing something similar? If so, what makes YOU different?
Tips on Refining Your Unique Value
If you come up with a big list, distill it down to just a handful so you do not overwhelm people. Which of your benefits would offer the greatest results to people you meet? Choose one to three and put them up front. (You can always bring up the others at a later time.)
One technique that helps you narrow it down is the, “So what?” test. For each item on your list, put yourself in the shoes of the other person and ask, “So what?”! This helps you discover which benefits have the greatest impact.
Communicating Your Value
Once you understand your value, learn how to communicate it. There are many ways you can do this.
1. When you prepare for power networking, you should create an elevator pitch, or logline. Sum it up in one sentence. Or even better, a single word! Give them enough information to have them ask, “Well what is that?!” or, “Tell me more!” out of curiosity and not rooted in a, “I have no idea what you just said to me”.
2. What stories could you tell to showcase your values? Storytelling is one of the best ways to engage with people. And instead of dominating a conversation rattling off what you do, you get an opportunity to explain to someone based on a success story, and how you make an impact!
Ultimately, the goal is to communicate your value without bragging or hyping yourself up! Find a few authentic benefits you offer others and there is no need to exaggerate. If the unique value you convey is authentic, you will form real relationships that grow into lucrative partnerships!