After hearing Travis Sims speak recently, and quoting his simple terms for networking success, I invited him to write a more thorough explanation of his “spin” on using business cards. He generously supplied the following words for your consideration. Thank you, Travis! Read on…(MM)
First of all, the business card is the single most powerful business tool in the world – one that you can have custom made to fit your needs. It is a tool that everyone has and you wouldn’t be caught dead without. It is also the cheapest form of advertising you can do; so why do most of us misuse it?
Never be caught without your business card unless you’re in the shower at the local health club. Make sure you never leave home without your business cards. Keep them with your keys, wallet, purse, on the hall table, in your office desk, in the car you drive, the glove compartment of the company van, in your locker at the health club. Keep small stashes in multiple places so you always have back-up.
Now that you have business cards on you…when is the appropriate time to pass them and to whom should you pass them? Have you ever met the person who has a stack in their hand and is forcing them on everyone in the room even before you get their name and quickly moving on to the next person to do the same? Don’t be this person! I often think, “Hmmm, I didn’t ask for their card; they didn’t want to learn about me. I have no need for their services.” It ends up in the trash when I clean out my pockets at the end of the night.
When at a networking function, don’t throw your cards up in the air and hope they land in the right places. Meet the person face to face, shake their hand, ask their name and a little about them and their company. Ask for their card if you have an interest in their business. When they present their card, don’t just stuff it in your pocket. Look over the card front and back, make a comment about the card, let them know you are paying attention and taking a personal interest.
This will often spark an interest in receiving your business card. When they ask, have it easily reached in a pocket, don’t fish around to find it. Make sure the card is in good shape and isn’t wrinkled, or have greasy finger marks on it. If you are NOT asked for your business card, do not offer it. This will get you as far as them finding it on the sidewalk. If you really want to get your business card into this person’s hands because they could be a huge referral partner to you, simply ask their permission: “Do you mind if I give you my business card?” (Hint: They always say “Sure!” I have yet to have anyone say NO.)
1) Always have business cards on hand.
2) Wait until the proper time to pass your business card.
3) Observe the etiquette of giving and receiving cards.
BNI Central Indiana
317.891.0355. ext. 3 (office)