Monday, February 16, 2009
I don't care what business you're in, networking is an important part of your daily business practices. If it's not it should be. You never know who you will run into on a day-to-day basis. Casual conversations in this day and age usually circle back around to what you do for a living. Be prepared when that happens.
1. The Pitch
Memorize a 1-2 minute pitch about yourself and your business. Keep it short and sweet, no one wants an earful right out of the gate. You can always elaborate more as the conversation continues but at first your intent should be to hook the listener. Have a strong pitch, an attention grabber, something that sums up your skills and services in a neat little package and gets your perspective client thinking "I'm intrigued. Tell me more."
I can't stress this enough. I've seen it time and time again. Someone gets to talking to someone who is interested in their line of work, they ask: "Do you have a business card?" and the response is "No, let me write my information onto this cocktail napkin instead."
You're not trying to pick up your client for a date are you? (If you are that's an entirely different topic). Point is, napkins get torn, lost, or just plain ignored and thrown out with the rest of the pocket/purse trash. The proper response is to present a card that is much like your pitch. To the point, not too flashy, not bogged down with info, but eye catching and informative enough that the next time that person comes across your card they paus to look it over - and hopefully call you.
For those in the entertainment business - models and actors - you should already know that a zed card is your business card. People want to remember your face if they're thinking about booking you fora job. Don't confuse zed cards with headshots. Carrying around stacks of 8x10s isn't always that conducive. Zed cards are the mini equivalent and they also showcase images of your previous work on the back for models, for actors a brief list of skills and accomplishments. And, of course, for business cards, zed cards, and headshots, there should be a way to contact you. A clear, legible phone number, email address, and even a website if you have one...if you don't, keep reading!
People are visual beasts. Most of them like to research their prospects - the way they do it: Internet, websites, GOOGLE! Yknow, those popular buzz words you always hear? Well they mean something. A presence on The Net can land you clients just as sure as walking up and talking to them face-to-face. It's importantto be visual any way you can. Take advantage of the different avenues available to you. And don't forget the first tool you have at your disposal - your mouth.
Case in point: I was recently at a convention in LA. One of the speakers was a prominent actress. She was asked if she had a website and she said: "No, but I am thinking of getting one."
Now a brief intro to myself: I design websites, so upon hearing her interest in getting one made I stood from my seat, walked up to the stage where she was speaking, handed her my business card that detailed the fact that I do web design, and I also used my mouth tool to tell her that I was a web designer and I would be happy to assist her. Low and behold the entire convention crowd applauded me. Why you ask? Well, one woman in the crowd said it best as I returned to my seat: "Wow, what great networking!"