Thursday morning, I got a connection request from a person. Nothing quite out of the ordinary there. But in her connection message she very nicely asked something. She asked me if she could pitch me her services.
Yes… before connecting she took the approach to make her intentions known. She did it respectfully and the RIGHT way. It gave me the receiver of the message the opportunity to message her back ask some questions and DECIDE if I wanted to connect.
This connection, which I did accept, made my morning. After being pitched the wrong way so often, this made me so happy.
I’m not guaranteeing that I’ll work with her or if I even have a need right now for what she’s pitching, but that approach was such a breath of fresh air!
Have you gotten one of these messages or do you still just get the crappy pitches?
I’ve been in the business world for more than a decade. Before that I was a journalist.
Throughout my adult post-graduate life, I’ve been hypersensitive to the effectiveness of a one-on-one business meeting. It astonishes me that some people, regardless of how long they’ve been in business, haven’t mastered the art.
Here are some tips to follow when doing a one-on-one that can prevent you from losing (business and your reputation.
Set a time to meet and be there 5 minutes early – If you can’t be there early, being at least on time is absolutely mandatory. There’s nothing worse than having to wait for the other person to show up.
If there is a family emergency or you need to cancel, reach out to the person on all forms of communication until you either run out or you get in touch with them – Nothing’s worse than having a one-on-one and not having the person show up. Even if it’s for a good reason, be courteous and make sure they know. You can’t assume that the particular form of communication you chose to contact them is the one they will be checking.
Always try and learn as much as you can about the other person when meeting. — Just talking about your business and yourself for 30 minutes without asking about the other person and their business is just plain RUDE. It WILL hurt your reputation and you’ll probably lose that contact forever.
A one-on-one is not a sales meeting. It’s a place to learn about the other company and figure out if there is any synergy to working together for the future. — Nothing’s worse than being pitched at a meeting, especially when you’re not expecting it.
When meeting, try and find a place that is similar distance for both parties — Having to drive all the way to one person’s location is not always considerate. Sometimes it’s necessary, but meeting on mutual turf is often easier to network and learn about each other.
Always write a quick note after the meeting to thank the other person for taking the time to meet you — A little extra goes a long way in keeping you top-of-mind with that person.
Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to get more out of your next one-on-one.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Did I miss a crucial one? Post it in the comments below.
I recently joined an amazing startup here in Philadelphia called Contap, as their marketing lead.
Some Background On My Obsession With Networking
Since graduating college, I’ve always been into networking and meeting new people. This increased exponentially after I left the field of journalism and entered into the business world. Networking became, and still is, a crucial part of my business development activities.
I’ve always loved business cards, since I was young, I always designed my own business cards. In high school I studied the business card culture in Japan and that fascinated me even more with connecting and networking.
Flash-forward to 2006, I had just joined Mobile Mini, so networking and connecting with business owners (construction and otherwise) became a crucial part of my business. This only increased when I opened up Goldstein Media in 2007, and then as an entrepreneur, I faced the reality of connecting with new people all the time. Over subsequent years, I’ve tried lots of different technologies (apps, binders,. gadgets, gizmos) to keep my contacts organized. I found a great app called FullContact, which I used to this day, to keep my contacts up-to-date across my email accounts.
But, something was missing. As much as I loved the business card, I wanted something that would utilize the power of my smart phone and integrate my social platforms, documents, etc,. Enter Contap.
When Seth Met Jason
I first discovered Jason Craparo, the CEO and founder, when I read an article in a local technology blog, where they were outlining the early version of Contap. I wrote a message in the comments and Jason and I met up for coffee. During this meeting, Jason shared with me the vision for what Contap was going to be in the future, I wanted in. This was more than a year ago. The team at Contap has been heads-down completely redesigning and rebuilding the application from scratch. Now we’re in July 2016, funding is coming in from all over the country. I’ve accepted the position of Marketing Lead (contract for now).
So What Exactly Is Contap?
“We’re a Philadelphia-based startup focused on revolutionizing the way people connect and share information,” Jason says. “We want our app to be the go-to app used at networking events across the world and facilitate every new connection that happens. Wherever connections are made (happy hour, conference, Meetup event), that’s where we want to be.”
Users load up their contact info, documents, CRM, social platforms, etc. and when they meet new people they can easily tap on whatever icons they’d like to share with their new Contap. All their Contaps are then stored in the app, and they can easily call, text, email, view social media, and documents right from the app. If you want to add a new Contap to your Salesforce.com, simply tap on the CRM button and they’re added. More CRM integrations and more cloud-based document storage options (Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, iCLoud) are on the roadmap as well as other social networks and functionality.
Think sharing Instagram, Twitter, cell phone with the happy hour crowd, but Linkedin, Resume, Website, and Business number at a networking event. Two different audiences, separate information.
Note: I feel like I rant a lot. I probably do. But it’s “always” for a good reason.
Today’s rant has to do with people, but especially business owners who don’t clear out their voicemail inboxes. The purpose of voicemail is to get messages.
The process is simple. You get the message, you either call the person back or write yourself a note, and then you delete the voicemail. This last step leaves room for a message from the next person.
Now those who don’t follow this process make their callers face an automated message that says something like this:
The voicemail box is full. Try again later.
Which is really telling your caller:
I don’t give a damn about your call. If you’re calling about my services and want to possibly give me money. Buzz off, you’re money is no good here.!
This is aggravating, to say the least. But I do get it. Most people text or use some other type of messaging platform to communicate. The phone call itself is so “antiquated.” Right? Sure, but when you’re running a business, not having room for people to leave a message on your voicemail, is a fantastic way to lose their business and possibly anyone else’s that would have been referred to you by that original caller.
Sometimes, I will find another way of communication. But not always. I know, for myself, that if I absolutely need to talk to that person or business and no alternatives exist, I’ll spend the time to find another avenue of communication. But, if there is an alternative vendor/business, you better believe I’m going to go there and not looking back.
There is NOEXCUSE for having a full voicemail inbox. Many phone companies don’t even make you dial voicemail to get your messages. Also there’s Google Voice, which puts them in an inbox that you can view and manage on the Web.
So, business owners, I’m looking at you! Stop having full voicemail inboxes, or you will lose business. I guarantee it!
What do you think? Am I off-base here? Leave me your thoughts in the comments!
I network – a lot. It’s in my blood and is a necessary activity for an entrepreneur and freelancer.
Over the years, I’ve tried many different types of systems to increase my productivity and help disseminate my contact information to people. And you know what? I still come back to the business cards.
There is something about a well-made, thought-out business card that still resonates with business people. Getting a crisp, thick business card will more than likely get a seconded and even a third glance. It also will probably make it into the recipient’s address book.
Now there are tons of apps out there that purport to do away with the business card. None have worked for me. There is still something about that well-made card that just works.
Don’t Skimp On The Quality of Your Business Card
Now there is an inherent problem with physical business cards. The shoddy, cheap ones, which are not thought out and rushed. These “might” make it back to my desk and “might,” if relevant, end up in my contact system (more on my flow and system later). But more likely than not a poorly made card doesn’t get very far.
Call me a snob, but a business card is an extension of you and your brand. It creates a first impression. The only thing worse than a poorly made card is not having one at all.
There are an incredible amount of business card printers out there, many make some pretty nice cards, too. Regardless, there is no excuse for having a bad business card.
The Rise of the Unconventional Card
One thing I’ve noticed lately is unconventional cards: Different sizes, layouts, and materials.
The latest card I’ve gotten that is still on my desk is made of METAL! Yes, I said Metal. Let’s just say that card (and the information it contains) will probably stay on my desk for a while and might even get that person some business.
Now, you can Google where to get metal business cards and find tons of companies that can do them. But why not try out MetalBusinessCards.com. Full disclosure: I’m the social media manager for SWGPromo, a company that runs MetalBusinessCards.com. Even with this relationship, I’ve seen the quality of what they can do and all can say is WOW.
Keep in mind that, with most things, the fancier the card the more expensive it is. Though for the opportunity to make the right first impression, the prices aren’t steep. If you go to MetalBusinessCards.com and like what you see, use the promocode SETH10 at checkout for 10% off.
My Business Card Flow
As promised here’s my business card flow:
Receive a business card
Examine it and find out more about the person behind the card
Put it in my shirt pocket for safekeeping
Once home I scan the cards I get at a meeting or event into FullContact, which transcribes the data and puts it into a searchable database that works with my email client of choice (GMail and Google Apps for me)
I then go to LinkedIn and find those people and connect with them there as well
It’s important in business to make sure you always put your best foot forward. Sometimes someone who you deal with professionally might rub you the wrong way, but under no circumstances does it warrant bad-mouthing them to others. Remember this is a professional setting, not junior high.
The reason why I’m writing this is to share a few key points that might be overlooked:
You never know who will be your boss one day
You never know who that person knows
You never know the relationship between the person you’re talking smack about and the person you’re telling
It puts the person you’re telling in a very uncomfortable position, especially if you ask them to keep it to themselves
If the person you’re bad mouthing finds out about what you’re doing, it will harm you way more than them
Business is all about appearance. You might not like someone, that’s fine, but keep your opinions to yourself.
So next time you want to bad-mouth someone THINK and JUST DON’T DO IT!
Have you ever been the recipient of bad-mouthing? Have you ever bad-mouthed someone? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
Yesterday I went to a Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals event at the Warrington Country Club in Doylestown, PA. It was a great event, but while there I noticed something about the right and wrong way to network. Please excuse the fast talking, I’m very passionate about this topic.
I’ve always been into business cards. Since I was young, I always had a business card for some little business I was doing. I always saw the value in having my contact info available to hand out.
Fast forward 20 years. I’m involved in 5 businesses, many at a high level, and I still use and believe that business cards are a crucial part of marketing and networking. So many companies come out and say they are developing an app or a site, which will result in the death of the business card. I have yet to see one that is compelling enough for me to use and stop carrying business cards.
In some of countries and cultures there’s an important etiquette and protocol behind business and business cards.
There is something about the business card that makes the networking more personal. It’s a take away that the person can use to contact you and keep you at top of mind. There are services like FullContact that organize business for you and help you have your card where ever you are.
Have you ever gotten a well made business card that felt good in the hand and had just the right thickness and pizzazz? How long did that card stay on your desk before getting thrown out or filed? Now compare this to getting cheaply made, not well thought out card? If you even take a second look at it, it get scanned or filed right away.
A good example of a card you’d want to keep are the ones that SWGPromo makes. They are metal. Yes, you heard me right, METAL! (Full disclosure I’m the social media manager for them). That is a way to make an impact. Another good example are those cards made by Moo, thick and sturdy, they always seem to stay on my desk for a longer period of time. Neither are inexpensive, but they do make an impression.
Spending the money on a well made card even in the U.S. is important. I find that while networking, if a person doesn’t have a card, I’m less likely to connect with them than if they give me a card. It’s not because I think less of them for not having a card. It’s because they aren’t front of mind and I don’t have something to remind me of them.
This is exactly where these business card replacement apps are lacking. The act of getting a card is still something that’s needed.
What do you think? Will we ever see the demise of the business card? What will replace it? What is the best business card you’ve ever received?