Has it only been a week since I was whining about the ineffectiveness of business cards?
Ah, yes. And what a difference a week makes.
In that time I have handed out approximately 10 business cards and received exactly 13. As I sit in the airport lounge, not even home from my business trip yet, I have already scanned and saved every card into Evernote. I have also followed up with every single contact in the manner most appropriate for each.
I have never followed up on a business card exchange after a networking event.
What made me (and the cards) so much more effective this time around?
1. I only exchanged business cards with potential business contacts. While I made several new friends at this event, I followed them on various social media networks while keeping my cards in my pocket. This cut down dramatically on how much information I had to sort through after the event.
2. I stated a specific follow-up plan every time a card was exchanged. Whether it was “I’ll call you” or “I’ll email you more info about this project”, I established a specific reason for getting in touch at a later date. I didn’t do a blanket “oh, here’s my card, we should talk sometime”, which is what I normally do.
3. I acted on the information quickly. Using a system similar to my receipt organization method, I scanned all collected cards into right away, tagging them with where I met and what type of contact they were, along with a little note about our interaction and how I wanted to follow up.
As you can tell, I’m pretty proud of myself. I saved precious trees and made sure those that did give their lives did so for a purpose. I also increased the odds of my networking time spent away from my family and my desk actually resulting in more business.
Three cheers for business cards!
What business tools have you learned to use more efficiently?