I went to a networking event last week, and it was really a very good event, lots of vendors, lots of people in attendance and a great deal of networking going on. But the one thing that I found very interesting was the very large table going down the center of one of the rooms. On this table were hundreds of stacks of business cards and people were going around the table picking cards up from each of the stacks. As I watched this go on, I had to ask myself; “What are they going to do with all of those cards that they are gathering?”
We become annoyed when people cold call us, we gripe, we complain and we sneer at the people calling us, but we put our cards out there for the taking. Doesn’t laying your cards out on a table just cry out to others that you are open to be solicited? I know, I know, you thought that by having your business cards out there they were going to sell something for you, not to you, right?
The next most common complaint that I hear from people everyday is the amount of Spam Email that they get. Don’t you think that when you are laying your business cards out on a table for people to just pick up randomly you are asking to be put on a mailing list.
Here are 4 things that I do not recommend that you do with your business cards
1. Don’t lay them out on a table so that others can just randomly pick them up. There is no value in having a lot of people who have never met you, had a conversation with you or shaken your hand taking a bunch of your cards.
2. Don’t put your cards on a bulletin board in the grocery store. Let me ask you a question, have you ever made an appointment with a financial planner who’s card you pulled off of a bulletin board? If you are the Financial Planner is this the level of clientele that you are really looking for?
3. Don’t give your card to people who have not asked for it. I go to networking event on occasion and I am amazed at how many people give me their business cards without ever having a conversation or little conversation with me. Make sure that people ask for the card before you start handing them out.
4. Don’t go around the room and lay one of your business cards all the way around the table. I often see people lay their cards stuck in an ink pen with their logo around the tables of a networking event. They want to make sure that everyone has their card.
Your business card is an extension of you and your business, it is the one thing that you leave behind that allows me to follow up with you. But, it does not sell anything and it does not create a relationship with me, that requires that you and I get face to face.
If you want to just randomly hand your cards out at least you should get something for it, so you can drop them into fish bowls and win free meals, free gym memberships, makeovers or a free financial reviews. Just don’t be aggravated when you get cold called or spammed.