More and more entrepreneurs and business owners are ditching business cards in favor of modern media. It’s not unusual for people not to carry business cards anymore; some even don’t have any at all. While business cards may no longer be the norm when it comes to gathering and exchanging contact information, they are certainly not obsolete. Business card designs are constantly evolving to keep up with the changing times, and what’s better, the new ways to turn those business cards into business relationships are also making the rounds.
Here are a few tips to ensure that what started with a business card can end in a promising business relationship:
Many people tend to be preoccupied with distributing their cards that they forget to get cards from their prospects, too. Business card etiquette says that when someone offers you a card, you should offer one of your own. When this doesn’t happen, you can politely ask the prospect’s card. Don’t fret if they don’t have a card to give; you can ask for their email instead. Never let the lack of a card restrain you from getting their contact information – this is what will let you follow up instead of waiting for them to make the next move.
MANAGE YOUR COLLECTION
Having a nice collection of cards from your prospects won’t do you any good if you don’t use the information that’s in them. First, create a system for those cards. If you are comfortable, you can turn the cards into a digital format. Find out what resources are available to you to make the job easier .There are apps that can take a picture of the card and convert the text and add it to your phone contacts. You can also use apps that geotag the information to remind you where the initial meeting took place. If you don’t want to go digital with your approach, just make sure that you have those business cards filed and labeled in one place.
ALWAYS FOLLOW UP
Following up is the most crucial step in the initial stages of building that business relationship. Simply touching base or checking in with your prospect is generic, and quite frankly, weak. Relevant follow ups always mention something about what was discussed in that initial meeting, whether it be a shared interest or experience, or whatever it was that got the conversation rolling. This adds an air of sincerity and makes the message personal. If you want to be more bold and hard to ignore with your follow up, try sending a short video message instead of an email or phone call.
SCHEDULE THE NEXT MEETING
Business discussions can be delayed if you rely solely on email, specifically because there is so much waiting going back and forth. This can be especially counterproductive when trying to set your next meeting. To make it less time-consuming, try using an online calendar that would simply let your prospect choose the time. Also, you can do a video call which is more personal and can get an immediate response.
There are no shortcuts to building business relationships, but having the right building blocks, like a business card, can certainly help get you on your way.