I never declare a networking event a success until I’ve collected at least one business card that I can throw away.
One to throw away.
Let me explain.
For many years now,
I have never collected more than 7 business cards
At even the most productive networking events.
Because it’s unrealistic
To follow up effectively
With more people than that
From a single event.
It’s not that I’m lazy.
Far from it.
I’ve diligently cold called from stacks of business cards.
It’s very frustrating and doesn’t work very well.
And I discovered that I get much better results
(And it’s waaaay more fun)
Collecting fewer cards
At fewer events.
Here’s how it works:
1. If someone is a legitimate prospect
I write “sales call” on their card
And set up a 10 minute call to explore whether my services are a match for them.
I don’t expect to get many of these,
Maybe one or two a night.
It’s the exception rather than the rule.
Still, I’ve passed over many sales opportunities because I was too busy “networking.”
When I find a sales opportunity, I treat it like a sales opportunity.
2. If I enjoy talking to someone
Regardless of whether they could be a customer,
And usually because they never would be,
I write “1-on-1” on their card
And sit down with them for coffee to discuss
How we can help each other grow our businesses.
This is where I realize the real value of networking.
Getting to know people better.
Business networking is developing relationships,
And you can’t get to know people at the networking event.
You can decide which people you want to know better.
Pick three of them.
And set up a 1-on-1.
3. If someone expresses interest in improving their Elevator Pitch
But doesn’t seem interested in full-on coaching,
I mention that I publish a weekly Elevator Pitch Tips Email Newsletter
And offer to sign them up.
If they agree (permission marketing!)
I write “newsletter” on their card and add them to my list.
4. If the conversation is awkward
Or keeps stalling out
I smile warmly,
Thank them for their time,
And continue mingling to meet more people.
So, how do you decide what to write on a person’s business card?
It all depends on the conversation.
A subject we look at in depth in our “Conversation Starters” program.