There may be no need to have a business card when you are networking.
A business card is a sales or marketing tool.
Like any tool, it should be used with a specific intention.
The problem is that many people either give it away constantly (hoping somebody will contact them someday) or they force the cards onto others (who just accept out of politeness).
The reality is that the majority of people don’t end up using the card. In fact they throw them aside or simply put the info in their phones (forgetting the people who passed on the card in the first place). \
Every time you network, you look to connect with other fellow business people. Someone that could potentially help you.
These could come in the shape of clients, mentors, distributors, etc.
The tricky parts are:
– A business card rarely gets a relationship started
– Not everyone in the room is worth your time BUT
– You want to build a relationship with those who are.
Try the following strategy which works quite well: next time you are networking and you meet someone worth building a relationship with and they ask for your card (which means they are interested in what you have to offer),
1. Ask for their business card, or their email address.
2. If they don’t have a card, ask them to email you from their phone on the spot.
3. Tell them you will send them your contact details later on. (IF you have a card, this is the time to give it away)
4. Always follow up with an email within a few days after the event.
The above approach is great and it works because:
1 You know they are interested in you
2. You have permission to contact people.
3. You can make sure they remember you and also remember your brand.
So what do you need to include in that first (very important) email?
1. Send something truly useful
Don’t send a generic sales pitch. Send content you know has real educational value. If you don’t have any, create some. The idea is to make sure this first point of contact gives the other person a reason to reply and communicate again.
2. Send something entertaining.
Don’t send a boring and dry email. People do business with people they like (Don’t you?)
A little humor goes a long way in relationship building.
3. Send something personal.
Show your new contacts that you are a listener who heard what they said when you met.
Perhaps this is the chance to ask about a personal subject you discussed at the initial meeting. Let them know you are interested in them as people and not just prospects.