by D’vorah Lansky – Guest Blogger
Networking can be one of the most powerful marketing strategies for growing your business. I’d like to talk about utilizing your business card as one of your primary networking tools. Reno has an emphasis on face-to-face networking and in his book, Turn Your Business Card Into Business, suggests that you be sure everyone you meet gets a business card. I’d like to share with you some tips for utilizing your business card as a networking tool.
The following is an excerpt from D’vorah’s Newest book, Connect, Communicate & Profit
There are a number of fabulous printing services where you can design your business cards online and they are very affordable even free. But be careful of the free business card offer, even though that might be tempting. Some of the free services will imprint their company name on the reverse, blank side of your card. What kind of image will you portray if someone flips over your business card and sees the Free Business Cards by VistaPrint or whoever, on your card? This might make it seem that you are not a viable business, that you are not successful, or worse yet that you are too cheap to make the small investment of buying business cards for your company. Be sure this is not the price you are paying to have free cards or even better, spend the $29 or so and get yourself a nice set of professional looking business cards. You may want to put some text on the back of the card such as a quote or a call to action; however I do recommend leaving at least some white space on the back of the card so that people can take notes and thus remember more about you. This is why I further suggest that you do not laminate the back of your cards. Two sided laminated cards are very difficult to write on. Just opt for the glossy finish on the printed front side.
Let’s talk about what you would write on the back of the business cards of the people you are meeting. One thing that I always do is ask them when their birthday is as I like to send out birthday cards. Another thing that you can do is, when you are done speaking with them is to jot down notes based on your conversation. You can make note of any comments they made about their business, their contacts, their hobbies or their family. The more time you spend with fewer people, the more you are going to remember about each person. Let’s say that you collect 20 business cards at an event, you are not going to remember all of those people. This is also a reason for why to collect the cards of only the people who you personally met with versus going over to the materials table and picking up the business card of everyone who attended the event. The exception would be if you pick up a few cards of people whom you’d like to be introduced to or who have a business that you’d like to find out more about. What you don’t want to do is add people to your email list or start to market to them without their permission.
The other thing about business cards is, you don’t want to be known as the person who sows business card as you walk around the room, interrupting groups of people, randomly handing people your business card without stopping to speak with them. Those cards will go into the garbage can. You are better off collecting cards of people who you speak with and have spent time connecting with. This is where the “less is more” theory comes into play as you don’t want to just collect pieces of paper and try to follow up with people you haven’t built a relationship with.
It’s a good practice to have your website, contact number and email address clearly listed on your card. For networking events, it is an excellent idea to have your photo on your card. When people get home and go through the business cards that they’ve collected, you want to be memorable to them. Having your photo on your card facilitates this and will make it easier for people to remember who you are.
The next step, once you have all of these business cards, is to follow up with the people you just spent time getting to know. You can pop them an email, give them a phone call or follow up with a greeting card. The service that I use and recommend is called SendOutCards. This is an online service that allows you to automate your card sending. These are real cards that go in the mail with a stamp. They allow you to send out a few cards for free, you can check them out at KeepInTouchKeepInMind.com
How would you feel about the person you met at a networking event who took the time to send you a heartfelt card, through the mail? You want to be that person, the one who goes the extra mile to build relationships.