The Start of a Beautiful Friendship: Scripted Networking Works!
I got an email from a client the other day upon reviewing the resume I just wrote for him. The client, we’ll call him Bob, said, “It’s fantastic, Kim. I never realized I was so special. I would hire me! One thing, though. I’m not that comfortable with the MacGyver thing.”
He was referring to the tagline I wrote for him. It began, “The MacGyver of Construction.”
This guy did things with schedules that no one had ever thought of to raise quality and finish jobs early. Construction finishing early? Oh yeah, baby. He’s got 100% on-time or early record and the JD Powers awards to prove it. Oh, and he built a successful high-class development in the middle of a slum, fit two feet of “inner workings” (may layman’s term) into a one-foot-wide space to meet commercial grade fire codes in a residential construction, and invented a temporary housing structure for the electrical stuff so they didn’t have to rent expensive power equipment during the project.
If that last paragraph sounds like a mouthful, it is! That’s why I crystallized it into the phrase, “MacGyver of Construction.” Everyone knows that MacGyver makes useful stuff out of basically nothing and always pulls off really tough assignments. A tagline like this serves two purposes:
1. Immediate information and intrigue. Anyone who hears a branding phrase like that will be intrigued and also have some idea of what direction it’s going.
2. The entertaining, easily memorable phrase will be, as Sam Horn says, a “hook” on which they can hang their memory of you. It will make it easy for the connection to recall your story and express your value to their network.
To understand the second point, think of any blockbuster movie. Almost all of them have one thing in common—lines that are memorable and that people repeat to their friends who then get excited about and go see the movie. Gary Marshall, the famous director and producer, said that he can tell if a movie will be a hit by listening to the audience chitchat as they exit the theater. If they are quoting from the movie, it’s going to be a hit.
Examples (you most likely know which movies these quotes came from):
“I’m King of the World!”
“I’ll be back.”
“Are you talkin’ to me?”
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
“You had me at, ‘Hello.’”
Think of clever ways to express what you do. Yes, you have to feel comfortable saying them, but I encourage you push that comfort envelope a little bit if you want to be king or queen of your world. At you next networking meeting, you might just quip, “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.”
Special thanks to Sam Horn who gave me the Gary Marshall story and the “Beautiful Friendship” quote. Her presentation at The NRWA conference in 2009 crystallized a new level of branding-statement consciousness for me!