~ by Haley Lynn Gray ~
If you’ve been to a few networking meetings, chances are you’ve accumulated a healthy stack or two of business cards. I collect them by the cartload. The question then becomes, “What in the world do I do with all of these business cards?”
There are some things you should do, and then there are some things you absolutely should not do if you don’t want to face prosecution and fines.
If you collect business cards, do not go back to your office and add each of those people to your email list. If you add someone to your email list simply based on having a copy of their business card, you can face prosecution and fines for putting them on your email list without their express permission. Don’t do it. It really is not worth it.
True story – I had one of my sales reps add everyone to our email list who had given her a business card. We didn’t have any way of knowing which emails on the list were good, and which ones were from someone’s business card, so we had to ditch our entire email list and start all over. Hundreds of emails gone. Since emails are a connection to potential clients and referral sources, that one mistake cost my business thousands of dollars. We had also spent hundreds of dollars on advertising and gathering emails, so this was a huge setback. If we had been reported, it could have cost us the entire business, so we deleted those emails.
What do you with with business cards instead?
There are a number of ways you can handle the situation, and you can take any of these approaches when faced with those huge stacks of business cards.
Create a follow-up email that can be a template or form letter. In the email, mention when you met them, and where, and ask to follow up with another meeting. Also, ask for permission to add them to your email list. Once you’ve talked with them and gotten permission, you can add them to your email list. Scan their contact information, if you think you will use it later, and discard the business cards.
Make sure you update your contacts with the information, and relevant contact info, so that you can reach people. Then use a tool like My Bee Hyve to track your followups with the people you want to follow up with. We have lots of great tools and resources you can use to manage the overwhelming piles of cards and information that come in the door!
In the interest of disclosure, I keep some of the business cards to hand out later in a card box, but I don’t like to keep every card indefinitely.
Another trick my dad taught me is to write down on the card where and when you met the person, and maybe something personal to help you remember them. This way, when you do follow up with them, you have a record. Take that one step further, and add that information under the contact information and notes/company info so you can remember where you met someone.
Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray
Haley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.
Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.
Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.
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