Don’t TAKE Plenty of Business Cards… COLLECT Plenty

February 9, 2012

You hear it from business development and marketing coaches and consultants everywhere, again and again.

When you go to a networking event, a presentation, a group event, or any place you can talk about your business, take plenty of business cards with you.

I think they’re wrong. (Are you really surprised?) Don’t misunderstand. If someone asks for your card it’s great to have one to give. But taking plenty puts you in the mindset of trying to pass them out. That’s how they wind up in the recycle bin later that night as people clean out their pockets.

Instead, go with the mindset of collecting business cards. Not every business card from every person, but a business card from each person you want to contact later. That gives you a specific mission at the event.

What’s the point of passing out business cards? It’s to give people a way to remember your name and have your contact information so they can follow up with you. As they stand in front of the recycle bin shuffling through the cards they collected, they’re looking and thinking, “Am I really going to e-mail this person?”


Or they put your card in the “keep” pile, a sticky, crumpled collection held together with a rubber band and thrown in a drawer, easily forgotten.

Since the point is to have people remember your name and continue the conversation, it’s better to take charge and not leave it up to them. Instead of approaching each person with the thought, “Is this person likely to hire me?” or, “Does this person maybe know someone who will hire me?” think, “Can I help this person in some way?”

If you approach each conversation listening for an opportunity to be helpful, you have a reason to follow up afterwards. When you hear a way you can be helpful, ask for the person’s card. Jot a note on the back about the kind of information you can send, like the name of a reliable plumber or directions to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or an article you just read with some unique investment advice. It doesn’t need to be about your business or your expertise. Just be willing to help.

When you send the e-mail or make the phone call you get another chance to connect. Because you care you come across as more likeable. That makes the other person more interested in learning about you. You can offer to meet for coffee or lunch to learn more about the other person. Notice I didn’t say pitch your services to that person. Include your business information in your e-mail signature and be ready to talk about your business – when the other person asks.

Be a person worth knowing. Be interested in other people. Let people get to know you. Then they’ll be comfortable working with you or sending their friends and family to you. Walk into any event planning to be that person.


One Response to “Don’t TAKE Plenty of Business Cards… COLLECT Plenty”

  1. Sanaa Dilorenzo on April 24th, 2012 6:30 am

    Looking forward to reading more. Great blog article. Really Cool.

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