Business Networking: How to Get the Most out of Your Business Cards
Anyone involved in the business world recognizes the important role that business cards play when it comes to marketing. Business cards can be used for both informal and formal situations and provide contact information for anyone you're interested in connecting with further. If you don't have business cards or have run out contact us to take care of that for you. When it comes to using business cards as networking tools, there are a number of things you can do to improve how effective they are. Read this article to find out how to get the most out of your business cards you collect when networking.
A Short and Sweet EmailMost business cards in this day and age include emails. Once you've received a business card, create a quick email that can be sent off. Say that you enjoyed meeting the giver and reflect on a point that you had in your conversation. If you are trying to get a follow up meeting, then say so and suggest a time and place.
Add them on Social MediaMany business cards include social media information (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). This will help keep your contacts front-of-mind for both yourself and for them. Social media will also inform you about birthdays, anniversaries, and other life events. These provide great opportunities for follow-up. Small gestures regarding life events go a long way in building business relationships.
Reconnect FilesAfter you have a follow-up meeting, create something called a Reconnect File. Include information about how you met your contact and what you have discussed with them. Schedule these files to pop up each month, which will remind you to reach out to them again, catch up, send valuable information, invite them to an event, start an introduction, or even set up another meeting. You don't have to reconnect every month, but scheduling these reminders is a great way to keep you on top of your business network.
Give Without ExpectationsIn your first meeting, be sure to make note of anything your new contact mentions overtly or in passing. If they do, follow up and inquire about what he or she mentioned, potentially even providing them with what they need. It's important to seek out opportunities to help your contact out without expecting anything in return. Cultivating an attitude and reputation of paying it forward will reflect positively on you and your business and will encourage future connections.
Meet One-on-OneBe clear about your intentions when you set up a one-on-one so they can prepare accordingly. Make it convenient for the other person to get to in terms of parking and accessibility, and choose a place that is quiet enough for you to talk. The first one-on-one meeting is about developing rapport, so don't force an agenda on the conversation. Let them ask about your business before bringing it up.
Capitalize on One ConnectionA single connection has the power to open several doors. Any business contact you make knows hundreds of other people. Keep in mind that whenever you're speaking to one person, you're also speaking to their entire network. This makes developing trust crucial. Be intentional about how you can help them by opening up your list of contacts if they are looking for a job, a business lead or an introduction.
Other Connection ToolsThere are a few other tools you can use to connect with your contacts on a regular basis:
- Newsle.com: This tool connects to your contacts and sends you email digests that let you know when they have appeared in the news.
- HARO: This tool will send you 3 emails a day with opportunities from press outlets to be featured or quoted. This is a good tool for both you and your contacts who are a good fit.
- Relate.ly: This is is a cheap platform that scores how well you've been keeping in touch with your contacts.