Business Cards, What A Waste…

I recently got into a debate on Facebook about Business Cards and their importance. Surprisingly, it was my 2nd most commented and liked a

Facebook post in months. — 1st being the announcement of my wife’s pregnancy.

Most people agreed with me and some did not. Which is okay!

One person’s comment really resonated with me and I have been looking forward to writing this article in response to their comment. They said:

One person’s comment really resonated with me and I have been looking forward to writing this article in response to their comment. They said:

…it’s not the card that counts, it’s the connection. A card shouldn’t determine how professional a person is or how serious they are.  I have given out hundreds of cards to people who say they are going to contact me and never do. That is more of a sign of not being serious or professional. I take more offense to that than anything else. Action and connection count A LOT more than a little piece of paper.

I love the ending when they say, “Action and connection count A LOT more than a little piece of paper” because after all, the title of my blog is called “Always Be Connecting”.

Like many things, a person is their own worst enemy. In the world of networking a few examples are: They talk themselves out of going to a networking event, they have commission breath, not having a purpose/why, not know what they want, forgetting that it is “net-working” not, “net-sitting” or they waste the handshakes of every single person that they meet at an event.

Like the commenter, I have given out hundreds of cards and the person that I traded business cards with failed to follow-through with me after they said that they would. I have also met 2 or 3 dozen people that said, “I don’t have any business cards, give me your card and I will follow up”. They never do. I have even met a couple people that said, “I don’t believe in business cards, give me your card and I will send you my information”. WHAT?!?  In reality, they just don’t want to invest in a business card and give them out but to receive only.

I met one person like this and I confronted him by saying he wouldn’t follow through and reach out to me after the event. He was very puzzled by this and guess what — He did follow through me and left me a voicemail saying, “Hey this is XXXXX, the guy that you said wouldn’t call you back. So here I am, call me when you get this.” Did he really plan on following up with me or did he only do it, because I said that he wouldn’t? I guess we will never know.

Knowing that people are their own worst enemy, I make it a point to follow up with every person that I meet an event. Every person goes through a thorough 8 step follow-up system that will take 60-75 days. Most of these steps are what I call “soft touches” because the other person doesn’t know that I am following up with them, but I am. Example, connecting with them on Linkedin and Facebook is a great way to follow up with someone as long as it’s not done the say that you meet.  Like dating, you want the follow-up process to be spaced in a way that you don’t come across too eager (or desperate) and also not too disinterested. But, I can not do my job if someone doesn’t have a way to give me a business card. Yes, I will even take a digital card, but I don’t like them.

I recently went to a real estate conference a few months back and a very reputable real estate coach said, “The only good use for business cards this day and age is for picking your teeth after eating lunch!” As you can imagine, I disagree with him because a good business card can be worth their weight in gold! For example, I went to a chamber function and we were told to pass around our business cards during the meal portion. During this time, I received a business card that was soft to the touch. It wasn’t your standard paper business card. For the rest of the time that the cards were being passed, I would watch people grab ahold of that blue “soft” card, feel it, rub their thumb on it, and examine the front and back! At the end of the chamber breakfast, there was a line of people waiting to talk to this lady, all asking the same question, “Where did you get your business card?!?”

A few years ago, I went through a coaching program called “Stop Wasting Handshakes”. This

program drastically changed the way that I handled my business because it helped me define the purpose of my networking.

There’s an interesting part of the 80/20 rule that most salespeople just can’t get past; 80% of sales happen AFTER the 5th touch and yet, only 20% of salespeople follow-up (or through) more than 2 times.

Like I said, networking is like dating. It’s all about connecting with the other person but it all starts with a first impression. I read recently in a FORBES article that “Within the first seven seconds of meeting, people will have a solid impression of who you are — and some research suggests a tenth of a second is all it takes to start determining traits like trustworthiness.” In the networking world, this is very true. In my opinion, business cards are a big part of this because it shows whether or not you are invested in your business.

So yes, business cards are a waste, if you don’t know what to do with them.

Until next time. Happy Connecting!

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