Tuesday, May 06, 2008

12 ideas from the Nametag Guy

Some unconventional ideas from Mr. Unconventional that might break you out of any ruts you are stuck in:

12 Ways to Keep Your Business Relationships Alive

By Scott Ginsberg

Every businessperson leads a busy life. There are marketing meetings to attend, RFPs to reply to, and client projects to finish. With so much work demanding so much attention, many of us never make the time to keep our business relationships alive, and wish we did: "What does he do again?" "Does she still work there?" "Didn't I know someone at that company?"

Rather than regretting not staying connected, pick some of the twelve ideas below and use them to start conversations with people you've met before and want to speak with again.

The 12 Ways

  1. Every time you travel out of town, ask yourself, "Who do I know that lives in that city?" Call ahead of time and make plans to get together. Heck, you're there anyway.

  2. Every few months, sit down with your cell phone and call every single person in your phone book. When they ask why you're calling, tell them because you're sitting down with your cell phone calling every single person in your phone book. No motive. No big deal. Just saying hey.

  3. Take about 15 minutes one day and go back through your inbox. Quickly scan through your last 500 emails. Odds are, you'll be reminded of people you completely forgot about and/or haven't talked to in a while. Drop 'em a line and see what's up.

  4. Do you have a big stack of business cards on your desk collecting dust? If so, take a few minutes to flip through them. Jar your memory as to who you've met over the last few months. You never know whom you might find!

  5. Go to Borders and read through every magazine on the rack. Even Oprah and Rachel Ray. See if you can find an article, sidebar or picture relevant to your job, industry or area of expertise. Pick 50 customers/prospects to hand-send that picture to, along with a note saying, "This made me think of you!"

  6. Open your appointment book. Are you having lunch or coffee with at least one person every week? If not, fill that baby up! Make a list called "20 People I Haven't Talked to In, Like, Forever." Pen, (don't pencil,) them in.

  7. Start an ezine. Even if you don't think that you're a good writer. Even if you don't think anyone cares. Begin by sending it out to everyone in your network. Offer quick tips and ideas to help them, plus a brief summary of what's new with your business. Invite people to write back and share the same.

  8. If you're a blogger (and if you're not, you need to be), keep a blogroll. Every week or so, revisit all the entries written by the people in your Internetwork. Post comments, share link love and help support each other!

  9. Whatever social networking program you use (MySpace, Facebook, Squidoo, YouTube, whatever) take some time every so often to peruse all the personal pages of each of your "friends" or "contacts." See what people are up to. Drop them a message to say "hey."

  10. Go back through your old planners (or past PDA entries). Look at all the people you had lunch, coffee or connected with last year. Be honest: how many of them do you still keep in touch with? If your numbers aren't as high as you'd like, drop a line to those people and say, "I was browsing my old calendar the other day, and I realize we haven't hung out since May of 2005! It's time for us to get together again…"

  11. Schedule a specific time, i.e., every Thursday afternoon at 3:00, as "Keep it Alive Time." Set 30 minutes aside each week to do any of the activities listed above.

  12. Start a "Keep it Alive Journal." Make notes about whom you connected with, what you learned, how you helped each other and other related ideas. Review and update it every week.

There are many ways to stay in touch. Pick one or all of the twelve ways I've listed, but pick something, and go keep your business relationships alive.

Scott Ginsberg, aka "The Nametag Guy," is the author of seven books and writes the #39th most popular marketing blog in the world. He is the creator of NametagTV, an Online Training Network that teaches businesspeople about approachability. For more info about books, speeches, customized online training programs or to Rent Scott's Brain, call 314/256-1800 or email scott@hellomynameisscott.com.

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