Effective Networking Using Business Cards

Arguably the least expensive and most effective networking tool that a business person can use are their business cards.  Yet many people fail to follow a few simple rules that can improve their networking skills dramatically.  Besides, what is the point of handing out your business cards if you are ultimately not reconnecting at some later point.
 
Contact information
Believe it or not, many business people fail to include all of the appropriate contact information on their business cards. The opposite can also be true by including too much contact information. 
 
Consider including the following contact information: 

  • Direct e-mail – avoid generic email addresses like info@yourbiz.com
  • Direct phone line – avoid cell phones unless you travel a lot
  • Fax line – these are still used enough that it’s worth including
  • Mailing address – avoid P.O. boxes on business cards 

 
You should not include secondary and tertiary e-mail addresses or phone lines.  These confuse your customers so that they do not know which one to call.
 
Quality printing and design
You definitely want to hand potential customers and contacts professional business cards.  Do-it-yourself kits can come off looking cheap if you do not know what you are doing.  Business cards are very inexpensive, so work with a professional for printing and design.
 
Effective distribution
Don’t exchange business cards with just anybody.  This may seem somewhat counterintuitive sense business cards are so inexpensive.  Consider that many business people will contact you just to get information.  That is not necessarily bad, but you probably do not have the time to answer questions for free too often.
 
To avoid making the wrong kind of contacts, consider only distributing your business card in the following contexts:

  • Tradeshows
  • Business meet-and-greets
  • Public bulletin boards for businesses
  • Personal contacts  

Follow up
Finally, make the point to exchange contact information and follow up within a few days.  Send your new contact an e-mail or make a quick phone call just to thank them and let them know you’re looking forward to doing business.  This can go a long way in opening up the lines of communication between you and the potential customer. 

 

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