Business Cards Make Great Networking Tools
Business cards make great networking tools for you to use at any networking events and using them effectively can greatly increase the chances of getting the most out of the contacts you make, whether it is how you use your own or those of the people you meet.
Your business cards
First, think about your own cards. They will probably be that one and only thing that the people you meet will have when the networking event is over. Not only that, it will probably be one in a whole pile of cards collected on that day, in that week or even month.
So you need to ensure that it does 3 things:
- It accurately reflects who you are and the services that you or your business provides
- It provides all the necessary information so you can be contacted after networking events
- You will be remembered
So here are my top tips for brilliant business cards
- When choosing a card ensure that you know what message you want to convey and that the card reflects both what you do and ‘who you are’ from an image point of view. Consider using the services of a professional graphic designer who will design something that eye-catching but appropriate to what you represent
- Ensure the quality of your card reflects the quality of your products or services
- Avoid dark backgrounds which prevent contacts from making valuable notes on them
- Include essential details on your card so you can be contacted:· Your name· Company name· The telephone number of where you like to be contacted· E-mail address· Postal address
- Include key words and phrases which sum up what you do - even better how your products or services can help
- Use a catchy tagline to help convey an overall message about what you do
- Consider using the AIDA sequence (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) to help lay out your card
- Make your card interactive e.g. I put the ‘wheel of life’ on the back of my coaching cards and sometimes get people to complete it on the spot. This creates interest and helps explain an aspect of how I help people.
- One of the best tools to help people remember you is to put a photo on your card
- Use both sides of the card as this maxes out on the space available
- If you have a limited budget, consider buying from the ranges of free and low cost cards available on the internet eg. Vista print and Goodprint
- Consider buying a card case – these keep your cards in good condition and provide a useful place to put the ones you have received.
- Always keep a good supply of cards with you so you always have them to hand wherever you go, networking events or otherwise.
Other people’s cards
Just as your card will be the only record someone else has of you once a networking event has passed so the cards that you have collected will be the only reminder of who you have met, what they do and what action you should now take. Remember contacts pay good money for this information so you should therefore treat cards with respect and follow the following tips for making the most of this information.
- As soon as you are introduced to someone ask them for their card and read it carefully – this helps to show that you are genuinely interested in that person. Hopefully you will be asked for your card in return – if not offer one anyway
- Read out their name and perhaps comment on it – this will help you remember their name and also make them feel good – everyone likes to hear their name
- Buy a permanent fine pen suitable for writing on all cards
- Ask for permission to write on their card (some cultures do find this offensive)
- Record any notable features of your conversation which will remind you of the other person, where you met them and what you should remember.
- Agree a date and time for following up at a later date and record this on their card
- Put the card somewhere safe so you will remember where you put it
- Back at the office make sure you have a quick and efficient system for dealing with your cards – e.g. enter the information on your customer relation system or file them appropriately
- If you find yourself collecting lots of cards consider buying a business card scanner which will collate the information from the cards quickly and effectively
- Follow up – it is a networking sin to collect business cards and then not use them
Business Card Scanners
More Business Networking Tips
Make Your Own Website
Return for Business Networking Tips from Networking Business Cards