I was at a networking meeting recently, where each of us at the table had 6 minutes to introduce our business (I love this format, by the way. Thirty seconds to introduce yourself to the entire group, but then 6 minutes to go in-depth with 4-5 tablemates).

One of the gentlemen at our table is someone I’ve known through local networking meetings for a couple years. Great guy. And his business had something to do with insuring Accounts Receivable for companies.

To me, this had always sounded somewhat abstract. I didn’t “get” the purpose or the value. Until that morning, when he brought us up short with a couple of surprising statistics.

As you know, businesses have insurance for all sorts of things – property, liability, key leaders, etc. But he told us that, for some companies, one of the largest (sometimes THE largest) asset on their balance sheets was Accounts Receivable – in some cases, maybe 30%. And it was all hanging out there at risk.

Whoa. That got my attention. Then he mentioned that a healthy percentage – maybe 25% (don’t quote me – imperfect memory) – of companies go out of business because of compromised cash flow due to inability to bring in Accounts Receivable.

Huh. All of a sudden, his business went from abstract (in my mind) to mission critical. All because of a couple of surprise statistics.

His final explanation of value was also compelling: companies whose AR is insured have an easier time getting credit extended for their growth plans, because their risk profile has been lowered. Boom!

For years, I “knew” what this man did. But it wasn’t until I heard these facts that I understood why his business mattered.

Sometimes, you can’t generate statistics (and you shouldn’t make them up, like the one above!), but you can tell a striking story that makes your crucial point. A case study; a success profile; a disaster tale.

These are the things you want to LEAD with. Not generalized overviews of what you do, but attention-getting demonstrations of how your offering provides huge value. Especially if you have limited time in a networking meeting environment – prepare something striking and memorable that will intrigue your listeners.

That’s how you earn attention. And referrals.

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