If you have been out networking lately, you may have come across a new kind of networker. The ultra-cool, tech-savvy business professional that no longer involves themselves with the incumbrances of archaic tools such as…the business card.
Typically, you will get a response like, “Oh, yeah, I don’t DO business cards, but I will find you on LinkedIn” or my favorite (and yes, this is a true story) “If people want to find me, they’ll find me. Just remember who I am and search for me”. I kid you not. Allow me to share with you why this is not only an ineffective business practice but is, for all intents and purposes, blatant poor manners.
If you are at an event where business building is the purpose, others have come with the intention of connecting with you, engaging with you, (if you are in the right group) finding ways to connect you and following up with you. Not having a business card forces that other person to either find a place to make a note on how to find you or who they wanted to connect you with. This is a person that WANTS to be of service to you, to help you, or to send you business…why make them work for it?
If you are going to connect to them via LinkedIn, that only creates more work for you. Typically, the connection starts with a connection request and then an IM and then eventually it moves into an email or phone conversation. If you have a card, that person not only has a physical representation of your brand but a way to reach out to you without having to search all over the place or wait for you to connect with them. In networking, effective follow up is the name of the game, and your lack of card starts you out with a disability.
In the professional networking world, brand and first impressions are EVERYTHING. They are the first step in establishing trust, integrity, and professionalism. It’s such a small investment that has such a huge payoff. Once that card is in someone else’s hand it also allows you to track things like:
- Do they follow up like they said that they would?
- Do they remember what I do and does my card give them enough info to remember?
- How many cards am I going through vs. how many people am I truly connecting with?
Being able to effectively measure your efforts is key to business building, and if all it takes is a solid business card, isn’t it worth it?
Need help with your networking strategies, brand or a new business card? We’d be happy to help! firstname.lastname@example.org