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How To Introduce Yourself Effectively To Grow Your Business

By Michael Henderson, author of “Above the Line: How to Create a Company Culture that Engages Employees, Delights Customers and Delivers Results

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Because I do not have an advertising or marketing budget as a sole practitioner, it is very important for my business revenue that I introduce myself effectively. Now of course everybody already knows how to introduce themselves, but I have discovered not many people know how to do so effectively. So how do we? It’s simple — concentrate on introducing yourself in a manner that serves the other persons interest and not your own.

When most people introduce themselves in a business context, for example at a networking meeting or to a new client, typically they do so with a focus on themselves. Normally this takes the form of sharing their name, their job title and their company name after which most people pause and wait patiently for the other person to respond with their equivalent details. This traditional introduction is polite but it’s just not as effective as it could be. Here is the reason why. What makes a professional introduction effective for the other party is when they understand how what you do can be of service or benefit to them, not simply just getting “the usual” information.

In an effective introduction the emphasis is not just on names, titles and company (although you do still deliver these), but immediately you should flow on to describe how what you do is of benefit to your customers. For example I introduce myself as follows; “Hi I’m Michael Henderson. A business consultant who specializes in high performance company cultures. I’m a bit like an anthropologist who helps you understand the structure and style of your company tribe and culture. I solve problems like, increasing low staff engagement, connecting company culture to the business strategy, and living people’s performance.”

I’ll admit it sounds a bit wordy at first and especially if your used to the short polite version of introducing yourself. But with a little practice and steady pace of delivery you will find you can say the introduction in less than 20 seconds. In doing so you inform the person you’re talking to in a professional and informative manner that actually helps them understand, not just who you are, but what you do and how that could be of immediate benefit to them. Let me share with you the startling difference this introduction has made to my business. Previously I used to introduce myself like this; “Hi I’m Michael I’m a business consultant at Cultures at Work Ltd’, to which most people would simply respond by saying their equivalent name and title and the conversation would ramble indiscriminately from there. Sometimes these conversations were effective, but mostly they weren’t.

On average two out of ten of these introductions lead to a conversation that became a business opportunity. However when I began to use my effective introduction in just the first 90 days, it increased my sales and business opportunities leading from an introduction to seven out of ten. So why is the effective introduction so much more… well effective? There are several reasons.

Firstly the introduction is longer and includes a brief description of how what I do helps my customers. This shifts the emphasis from me and my services to my customers and the benefits they receive.

Secondly, and this is a crucial distinction, the Effective Introduction includes an analogy which enables people to quickly grasp what I do without me having to explain, in boring detail, the ins and outs of my work. An analogy is a powerful and seldom used component of most people’s introduction as it explains what you do by linking it to
something the other person or people are already familiar with. So my simple analogy of ‘being like an anthropologist’ enables me to quickly explain what I do in a manner that skips all the less interesting details but generates interest or intrigue for the person I’m talking to. So what is you analogy? What is something you could describe or refer to that is different to what you actually do but enables a listener to quickly understand the essence of your skill set? Perhaps you’re like a sports coach, or a G.P.S system, or a doctor? Spend some time and figure out the analogy that best captures what you want people to understand about your role or your business. Then try it. If you sense it’s not quite delivering the desired effect, choose another analogy, and keep doing so, until you strike one that works.

Thirdly, by linking the analogy to three typical problems you solve for your customers you enable the person you’re talking to check those problems off against their own situation so they can determine if they need your support. The great thing about this final step is nearly every person can’t help themselves from checking their situation of against your list of three solutions.

Finally the Effective Introduction is so much more memorable than the normal introduction which means that the people you share it with can readily recall it when they get back to their office or in their own networks. This means you are able to teach people you meet how best to refer you to the people they know and meet when the topic you are related to through your business crops up in their conversations with
others, in your absence.

So I invite you to try drafting an Effective Introduction, practice it and deliver it to test its impact. Edit and re-practice as required. Good luck and good business.

 

Michael Henderson

Michael Henderson is a corporate anthropologist and author of “Above the Line: How to Create a Company Culture that Engages Employees, Delights Customers and Delivers Results“.

 

 

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