I was at a networking event last week and I noticed a woman having difficulty getting her business card out of a case to give to another person. A man who was standing next to her asked if she considered herself to be a sales person. The woman said “yes.” The man said if she was going to succeed in sales, she should always have her card ready to give out to someone. On the surface, there is some value in what he was saying. But as I was thinking about what he said, there is another side I think needs to be explored.
When you give someone your business card, the business card is a marketing tool. Your card is a reflection of you, your company, and the quality of both you and your company. Therefore, you want your business card to have a nice layout and be on good paper stock. The purpose of the business card is to give someone your contact information and an idea of what you do. That’s it. The business card is not the sales person; you are.
With that in mind, the main thing about business cards is not to pass them out, but to collect them from other people. It’s going to be a rare occasion if someone calls you because you gave them a business card, especially if you gave them the card at a networking event. Imagine how many cards that person got besides yours! The key to selling success with people you meet is to get their business card and follow-up with them.
By following up with people, you make it clear you want to do business with them and you get to control the situation. Even if someone asks for our card and tells you they will call you, find out what a good time would be for you to call them. Never leave the responsibility to move a sale forward with the prospect. You have to be the one to steer the sales process.
So, if you arrive at a networking event and you forgot your business cards, don’t worry. You now have a good reason to follow-up even if it’s just to give them your contact information. Remember, you’re there to get cards not to give them.