I once called a well-known investor trying to pitch him on my new startup idea, and I did not get more than a few minutes into the pitch when he shared that he was an investor in a directly competitive company. I felt like a complete idiot. I am sure he thought the same. Obviously, I had not done my homework.

How long does it take to do a search on potential business partner or client? A minute. Maybe another three to five minutes of reading the top three to four links? LinkedIn has a ton of personal background information that can be used to warm up the conversation. “I know Dave Neal as well. How long have you known Dave?” “I see you went to West Chester University, how did you like southeast Pennsylvania?” “Were you really a geographer?” Bringing just a little information into the conversation signals me that this meeting is important to you.

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