Every now and then it helps to be reminded of the basics:
- Make the phone call.
- Get the face to face meeting.
- Thank the prospect.
- Have your elevator speech ready.
- Offer to help.
- Keep in touch (Garrison Keillor's suggestion).
- If you can't say anything nice about somebody, don't say anything at all (My mom's suggestion).
Let's not forget business cards and name tags.
For a good rant on business cards, check out Dave Taylor's recent article, Best Practices in Business Card Design. You may not agree with everything (especially the suggestion to list your clients, which is a definite no no in some circles) but it's a good list. I'd add one suggestion, which is to ask people you trust to tell you what they think about your new design.
I did that once, thank goodness, and it kept me from distributing a card that, I was told, was "...more appropriate for folks on The Left Coast than the Midwest." Given that I'm a Midwestern boy at heart, born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, I took the advice. (My business card, I regret, is boring but utilitarian.)
For another good rant, check out Des Walsh's discussion of name tags. Des, like Dave (and yours truly) is a Moderator of Linkedin Bloggers, a Yahoo! group affiliated with Linkedin. Des' blog is the selected target this week for a "blog boost" where group members are asked on a weekly basis to link to a selected member's blog.
Des has a wealth of information about blogging, home business, and networking. I was struck by his discussion of name tags. I've been doing so much electronic networking lately that I don't have a designer name tag, but I think I'll look into that. I especially like Des' reminder to make the print large enough to read for folks (like me) who need reading glasses.