Take 5 Business Cards- No More Than 5
Hopefully the 6 ideas listed in Part 1 caused you to pause and think a bit. Even if you do not agree with me at first…or ever, these should be ideas that at the very least give you new ways of thinking about your approach to business networking events.
Work for Long-Term Rewards
The ideas and approaches I use in working with business leaders, is to build on tactics geared toward long-term rewards. We are used to instant, or short-term, gratification. However, this approach does not work well with relationship development tactics. If your focus and approach is to meet a deadline you have for tomorrow, this blog may not be for you.
Ok, with that out of the way, let’s move on to the idea for this posting.
Take 5 Business Cards- no more than 5
This is a figurative statement. But stay with me on this. We are always encouraged to bring enough business cards, so we can be sure to hand them out just in case we meet a potential new business lead. Well, exactly how many cards does this really equate to anyway?
Part of the process of exchanging business cards, assuming you have good follow through skills, is the follow-up the next day. It has been conditioned in all of us to follow-up, follow-up, and follow-up. So many well-intended conversations and connections simply fall by the wayside, because we fail to follow-up.
Why just 5 business cards?
How many contacts from an event ever really panned out in real business deals? Or, were there additional communications beyond a couple of email exchanges? Seriously? Your boss, or colleague, isn’t reading your mind here. Clear out the bragging points, and really think on this. How many conversations/contacts from a business networking event truly went further than a few email exchanges after the event was over?
In Part 6, I will actually expand further on this point when I discuss the idea centered on holding only 5 meaningful conversations during an event. By Part 6, much of this should really start coming together for you.
Is there really any harm in taking more business cards than necessary? Well, that is subjective. Depending upon whose opinion you are listening to. The marketing guy in me says it truly does matter.
Have you ever found a card, or two or three, stashed away in a shirt pocket or tucked away in an event binder? You may not remember the person who gave you the card, but as you read their name and title, you quickly surmise this must be a card from one of those marathon card distributors. You probably associated the person as insignificant to you and mentally filed that thought away.
Ouch! Think of all the brand managers wincing at the thought of a negative association tied to their brand. In this case, it might be your brand- the brand of You.
The actual number of business cards to take is ultimately up to you, but the main point I am pushing here is that it is more important to give out your card only in those circumstances where a meaningful engagement should occur at a later date.
Before I sign off, let me reiterate that I work for long-term rewards. My methods, thoughts, and suggested tactics are geared toward helping you think strategically in building long-term value in the relationships you pursue. If you are working towards an immediate short-term goal, this blog may not be for you.
Below is the list pending topics for this series.
Part 3: Forget your elevator pitch- mentally block it out
Part 4: Memorize your name- seriously!
Part 5: Prepare 2 to 3 discovery questions- use these to ‘listen’
Part 6: Plan on only speaking to 5 people- hold meaningful conversations
Part 7: Excuse yourself from shallow conversations- they are wasting your time
Part 8: Wrap-Up
Until our paths cross again,