And… What Do You Do?

6 Minute Read

How can you generate leads from networking without sounding salesy?

Here's a typical example of the elevator pitch from Simon Sinek, a leadership guru in the USA that many law firms have taken on board as the example to follow.

In the video, Simon says that, at a networking event, someone pushed him next to the CEO of a corporation without introducing him. When the CEO asked, “who are you?” Simon responded with: “I wake up every single day to inspire people to do what inspires them” and this made the prospect interested to become a client.

I want to explain why this approach would not work in the UK and give you an idea of what would work instead.

In fact, anyone would sound very pushy and salesy if they responded the way Simon did.

Don't get me wrong, I love Simon Sinek!

I wholeheartedly agree that a company’s WHY (the reason they do what they do) does not close the deal, it opens the conversation, yet the tips from the video would not go down well in the UK. It's too much, it's too American.

I agree with Simon to Start with WHY.

In the UK his WHY explanation would sound salesy, made worse, because he explains his WHY, instead of the prospect's WHY first. It might work in the US, but in the UK this would come across too pushy and would put people off.

Simon’s Approach

In the video he answers "who are you?" by explaining WHY he does what he does.

My suggested Approach

After the prospect asked "who are you", I would have explained WHY his colleague thought it would be a good idea we spoke. Explained the WHY (i.e. the problem) the customer might have.

Not ambushed him with WHY I do what I do, as he doesn't care at this point, he doesn’t even know why his colleague pushed me next to him.

A better UK appropriate version of Simon's answer in that specific context of the video:

"Hi John, I'm Simon.

Your colleague Andrew said it would be a good idea if you and I talked, because you are going through x and at the moment y is proving rather challenging. Is that true?"

Allow answer.

At this point he may start explaining the problem and talking about his frustrations, in which case, that's it! You have a superb conversation on the way!

If short answer "Yes" but nothing more, say:

"I'm curious about some key symptoms you notice about this problem."

(Notice body language and if looks like he's not fully into the conversation yet, ask:)

"Would you have some time to chat about it now?"

If "Yes", allow them to respond and the conversation will flow.

If he says: "No, not right now", say:

"Would you like to meet and talk about it some other time? From my experience, the key issue in these situations is X, and I would like to find out more about what you think the core challenge is in your company's case."

Ask for details and ideally, if body language allows, try to get them to get their diary out, there and then, and put a date/time/place in.

Then, only after you have a conversation, they may ask or you may explain why you do what you do...

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