- Your email name should be easy to find if someone is searching for you in their email folder. If it’s cute and (YOU think) catchy, but isn’t your name or your company name, how are they going to find it if they don’t remember it? If you are in business – whether a multimillion dollar enterprise or a home-based, sole proprietor - you ARE in business.
Email names like Silverfox, prettylady, rocker4, powerguy9 are not appropriate email names for a business if you want to convey a professional image and if you want someone to find your email. Or lmarypearson if the recipient only knows you by Mary and doesn’t know that “l” is the first initial in your first name which you hate. They will be looking for mary pearson and not find it. Or j_r_baker…if jrbaker is already taken, better to make it jrbaker124 so that a search of the email database will find you. The key is…make it EASY… NOT a challenge! If you have an email address that is difficult to locate, change it before moving to Tip 2
- Business cards should have a flat, matt finish on the back so that people can write a note on the back reminding them where and when they met you and WHY they want to call you. A high gloss finish on the back is pretty…but is people remembering a slick and pretty card your goal or do you want people to remember you and what you do? A high gloss finish often makes it difficult to write a note…so an important opportunity to motivate them to continue the connection may be lost. You might even want to have the following PRINTED on the upper ½ or 2/3 of the back of your card…
It can be as simple as:
Date:_____ Follow-up About _______________________
If you put this on the top half of your card, you’ll still have room for #3 below if you haven’t already done it.
Also, make sure YOU handwrite the same recall note on the back of cards you receive so that you aren’t trying to remember who, where, when and why you want to call this prospect…especially if you don’t get to follow-up until several days after meeting them. Has that ever happened to you? I rest my case.
- Also use your card (front and/or back) to list a few of your key products or services that you provide ESPECIALLY if your business name doesn’t communicate that – it may be your own name (like mine) or a catchy name that doesn’t indicate the business purpose. A few bullets will help them “file” you in their mind so they think of you when they need those services.
- The next time you reprint your cards to include Tips #1, #2 and #3, also add your cell phone number if it is not already on it. So much more business is being done “on the run” so your cell phone number is critical. You may also want to print your blog address and your Twitter handle, if applicable, but only if you plan on keeping those current and checking them frequently.
- Always put all your contact information and your “tag line” on any handout you distribute when you are a speaker or presenter at an event. You may think this is a given, but I’ve collected too many handouts that don’t have all the pertinent contact information. Put it on the front cover page of a PowerPoint presentation handout and add a good bio on the last page that ends with the contact information: About Your Speaker.
- Create several suitable promotional items with key contact information printed on them that you can give to anyone you meet; wherever and whenever you meet them. It’s always easy to give someone a pen – carry them in your briefcase or purse to give along with your card at any stand-up networking event. People love pens and it will remind them of you whenever they write. Distribute your pens with the PowerPoint handout when you are the speaker. (Put them on the seats or tables before your presentation.)They have to write with something, right?
Other items are effective too, depending on the situation. Any industry can have post-its die cut to represent the industry with your contact information on the bottom. Houses for realtors, Computers for any IT or computer support field, Telephones for Call Center consulting (that’s one of mine – I have a several depending on the audience), Cruise ships for travel counselors, bank buildings or a large coin for bankers…the list is endless. Promotional product makers can die-cut ANYTHING! It is easy for you to carry around a supply of 25 sheet post-its and people always need them to mark something on a page – you want to be just a hand-reach away for them to use your image and contact information. Mugs with your contact information and candy in them (with your contact information on the candy!) are great leave-behinds as a thank you after a meeting – to both the person you met with and even the receptionist. Be memorable and within easy reach for them to locate your contact information the next time they need someone with your products or services!
- I’ve mentioned this before in my very first Tips (July 2008) on Voice and Email Etiquette, but I can’t stress it enough and so many people still don’t do it. PLEASE, always put your telephone contact information in your email signature. EVERY EMAIL. Also, check your email signature settings to make sure you have your full signature displayed not only for emails that YOU initiate, but any email that you reply to. Some email applications don’t always display your full signature when you are replying to an email and you don’t even know it; so don’t assume your contact information is included. Don’t make an email recipient who wants to call you have to look up your telephone number in another database, or search through all your emails back and forth with them until they find one that you initiated with your full signature and phone number. If you receive an email from someone without their telephone number in the signature…forward this Tip to them!!!
- Make sure that your “Contact Us” page on your website has your phone number for a prospect to call you. Many sites I have visited only provide a Contact Form to complete and the prospect must wait for the response. I’m not sure why anyone would have a Contact Us page without a phone number, but if you are not set-up to handle phone inquiries you may be missing opportunities. Many people need/want that immediate connection to ask a question or to feel comfortable you are a real company and will be responsive. I’ve found this omission of a telephone number enough times to warrant mentioning it here and encouraging you to correct it if you don’t have it.
- If you are using Twitter for business or professional reasons, make sure your Bio Description is complete and professional. When you indicate you are going to Follow someone in Twitter and they click on the link to see who you are, your bio description should not discourage them from adding you to their Following list because of an unprofessional or flighty image you have conveyed. If you want that informal image, be prepared for business people to decide not to follow you.
- Have a professional, magnetic-backed name badge made for yourself so you don’t have to handwrite one at every business networking event. It will look more professional, it doesn’t fall off like most adhesive label badges, and YOU control the accuracy of the information. Your name is always spelled correctly, your business name is included…AND you can even print some words about what your business does. Then as people shake your hand and see your name badge on your right lower shoulder they may ask “what do you mean by…?” and your connection conversation has begun!
- And, always worth repeating. ALWAYS carry enough business cards with you so that you are never without them. To tell someone “I’m out of cards” implies that you didn’t prepare for the event. What message does that send about you? I keep the box in my car, so even if I’ve forgotten to put more in my purse or into the slots in my leather tablet…I can always run out and get more. If you have spent the money to attend the networking event, visit the chamber or BNI group, sign-up for a training program or speaker event, then you want to be prepared to make the connections. You want your business cards with you, your pens with you, and any easy-to-carry, memorable promotion items to give to someone you especially want to connect with for a future conversation.