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You cannot be effective in developing your business unless you have mastered service knowledge. You need to know features of your products or services so that you can tailor benefits to prospective customer's needs. Be sure you know difference between features and benefits. If you're selling bar stools, a feature of stool is that it has three legs. The benefit is that sitting on it will stop you hitting floor. Remember: features tell, benefits sell.
Now, once you've identified features and benefits of your product or service, develop a fifteen second commercial that you can trot out on cue whenever someone asks you, "So what do you do?". Most people are unprepared to answer a question like this effectively and so it is a golden opportunity to set yourself apart. Your fifteen second commercial will help you seize moment and put your best foot forward. Use your fifteen second commercial to let each person you meet know exactly what you do and why you and your business are so special.
A fifteen second commercial for our web site optimization service might go something like this:
Prospect: "So, what do you do?"
You: "I run my own business, "Web Site Optimization". I tweak clients' web pages to optimize them for various search engines. By creating a web page that appears in first thirty search results for a particular search term, client gets a huge increase in traffic to their web site and their sales go through roof."
When should you use your fifteen second commercial? Each and every time you are introduced to someone new. Get in habit of delivering your fifteen second commercial to as many people as possible. The more times you deliver it more chances you have to create rain.
You also need to develop a uniqueness statement to respond to question, "What's different about your service compared to your competition?". Use a three step format for your uniqueness statement. Step one is to briefly overview three features and benefits that you will elaborate on in step two. Step two is to use three tailored features and benefits to explain your uniqueness to potential customer. Select one about your business's services/ products, one about something your business has accomplished, and one about you personally. In step three, summarize what you've just told prospect.
Here's an example of a uniqueness statement for our web site optimization service:
Prospect: "So what's different about your service compared to your competition?".
You: "I'm glad you asked. What's different about "Web Site Optimization" is depth of our service, our results and our people.
"Unlike most of our competitors, we don't just create one web page for all of search engines. Each search engine has different criteria for pages to rank well. We create a different version of each page specifically designed for each main search engine. For example, one of our clients' rankings on Alta Vista increased from 75th position to 15th in less than a month. He's experienced a 500% increase in traffic and sales as a result. I have a background in software engineering for Yahoo so I have access to inside information about how search engines work that most of my competitors just can't get.
"So, in answer to your question, what's different about us is depth of our service, our results and unique experience of our people."
It will take many rehearsals until you have your fifteen second commercial and uniqueness statement down cold. At first it will feel unnatural to you to give people a rehearsed speech but over time it will feel less awkward and you'll be able to deliver it with an ease and assurance that will sound perfectly natural.
"A network is an organized collection of your personal contacts and your personal contacts' own networks. Networking is finding fast whom you need to get what you need in any given situation and helping others do same." Harvey Mackay
=> Your Existing Network
Now that you know what to say, you have to find people to say it to. To establish your network, start with who you know. These are your existing personal and business contacts ... people who will always take your call and who can help you reach your goals. Consider people such as your attorney, accountant, doctor, agents, sales people, family, colleagues, friends and vendors.
Schedule a meeting with who you know for express purpose of exploring ways you can help each other expand your respective networks. If there's a fit, create ways to support each other. You are not looking to sell other person on your product or service. Instead, you are establishing a genuine relationship with this person. It doesn't matter that although you may be able to help this person directly, he or she may never be in a position to reciprocate. The reason it doesn't matter is that this person has a network of his or her own and may therefore be able to put you in contact with someone else who can help you.
Noticing strengths in others and communicating them is one of greatest relationship-building skills a rainmaker can have. Much more than just paying idle, often shallow compliments, effective networkers focus on helping others focus on their strengths by using evidence to back what they're saying.
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical home business ideas for the work-from-home entrepreneur. http://www.ahbbo.com/cgi-bin/mmp/sub.cgi?ahbbo=!FLM