What do You Do With All Of The Business Cards You Get?

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If you are like most smart business people, you attend networking events with the goal to connect with “your tribe.” Those are those special groups of individuals that you know will benefit from what you have to offer. The flip side to networking is how can you help those that you meet with their goal to build their business, network or resources.

So let’s assume (I know we should never assume anything, but, if you can, please just indulge me for now) that you have made a connection with someone who could use your services by doing what we know works best, such as asking provocative questions, listening to what they are saying and not saying, talking about how you can specifically help them and, of course, building rapport. There are many other experts out there who have written wonderful books and articles on how to network. However, this is not about how to network, per say; it is about what you do next. As a coach I am all about what it is you do with what you have, and why do you want to do it. What is the benefit for you?

You leave the event with a bunch of business cards, now what? Have you gone for quantity or quality? What do you do with those cards? How will you remember whom they belong to in a week, or a month?

Here is what works well for me:

  • I go for quality over quantity. My goal is not to connect with everyone in the room and have a bunch of business cards. I want to ascertain as best I can that the person I am speaking with is either someone who has an interest in coaching, or someone that I can help with resources or referrals to other professionals that I know, like and trust. However, even with just a few cards it can still be easy to forget.
  • To avoid the stress of trying to figure out who is who I write a few things on the back of their card. Words that will jog my memory about what we talked about and what stood out for me. Just a few words – after our talk, not during, usually – will instantly bring back a wealth of information.
  • I put the cards into my contacts -scan them in when possible- within a few days and follow up with an email or social media connection.

Now I can communicate with my new contact/friend with information that will be useful to them. Sometimes I send them an invitation to a complimentary coaching session, a link to a resource, or forward information about another contact that I think might have a mutual need. It allows me to narrow down who are prospective clients and who I can use as a referral/resource to help me or another contact in the future. If I know that the person I met is going through a job change, having issues with time management, communication, confidence and so forth, I let them know how I can specifically help them.

This suits my personality and style of marketing much better than the shotgun or sales approach. Even if my new contact is not in need of coaching at this time, it feels good to send them resources that they can use. It is also nice to know that someone has really listened to them, not just on the surface. We all like to be heard and validated. Please share your thoughts; I would love to hear from you.

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