Small Business Marketing - How Important Are Your First Words?

"What do you do?" It just might be one of the most asked questions there is, at least here in America.

Are you prepared to answer this question and make a positive impression for your business at various networking (and social) events you attend?

How about this one... When you go to a business event and everyone in the room gets to make a 30-second introduction, do you feel like you know how to gain attention and interest from any potential prospects or referral sources in the room?

Just how important are your first words?

Being prepared for these two most common small business scenarios can literally mean the difference between great marketing success and ongoing marketing frustration.

You know you need to be out there getting the word out about you and your services. But, if you're not sure how to command attention and interest in what you have to offer, you're missing way too many opportunities to connect with potential prospects.

I'd like to share a couple of stories of both struggle and success with you to try and illustrate the power of being able to verbally express yourself in these common business situations. Names are not shared to protect the innocent, but the stories are real. I'd challenge you to see if maybe you see yourself at all in these scenarios.

Story of Struggle

I was meeting with an individual who had been in business for himself for eight or nine months. When I asked him what sort of marketing initiatives he had been pursuing, he said he'd been devoting all of his efforts to networking.

He had joined a number of networking organizations (several to the tune of $200 to $300), but was very frustrated that he had not acquired one single client in that time. He had received a couple of referrals, but none of them had produced any results for his business.

So I asked him what his approach had been for talking with folks and for introducing himself to groups. He told me that he thought it was important to make sure people understood the breadth of services his company could offer and the depth of his extensive experience in helping organization enhance their processes and productivity (blah, blah, blah).

The primary goal was to set up a demonstration meeting to show the prospect the power of the tools and resources he had at his disposal.

Unfortunately, this approach was doing nothing to make him unique or memorable to those receiving his message.

So again I'll ask you, how important are your first words? Be honest. Have you ever experienced any thing like this for yourself and your business?

Story of Success

A financial advisor was at a networking group that he had been attending for several months. He enjoyed the group even though he had not received any business, not even any leads, as a direct result of his involvement.

We had been working together on coming up with more attention getting ways to introduce himself to such groups. Part of the problem he felt was that people hear that he's a financial advisor and the conversation ends.

If that's not what they're looking for, or they think they already have it taken care of, then there's no need to inquire further.

But tonight was different. He decided to change things up and stay away from his normal bland introduction of name, title, and company.

When it came time for his 30-second introduction, he said something to this effect:

"You know, when I introduce myself as a financial advisor, the most common obstacle I face is that people think they already have it taken care of.

But it's interesting. Because when I do get a chance to sit down and talk with someone about comprehensive financial planning, I'd say 90% of them learn something. And they figure out that, in fact, they don't have everything taken care of and they're usually dropping the ball in one or more areas of their planning."

He really believed this statement, but it was the first time he'd ever expressed it like this.

The net result was that four or five people approached him before the event was over to see if they could talk to him and learn more. Two of them wanted to schedule an appointment with him because they said they weren't sure they had everything taken care of.

How important are your first words?

I hope you get the picture of just how powerful your ability to verbally express yourself in these most common business scenarios can be. Nail it and you'll be able to start attracting attention and interest for yourself. Flounder with it and you'll likely only achieve marketing invisibility.

(c) - Kevin Dervin, KPD Marketing

About the Author:

Kevin Dervin is focused on helping small businesses that are ready to grow, but struggle with how to consistently attract more clients. Visit http://www.proven-small-business-mar for more great marketing information you can put to use in growing your business today.

Find Kevin's Kansas City based KPD Marketing practice at and subscribe to his free ezine called ABCD Grow.

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