There is nothing worse in my opinion at a business networking event, than someone you just met pushing their card on you, before you have even had a chance to say hello. I’m sure it’s happened to you before and I am convinced it will happen again.
For the last 4 years, I have not taken business cards with me when out at intentional business networking events. There are a few reasons for this, let me explain…
We are in the Digital Age: Business cards are a bit old school! We are in the digital era after all! I send people a digital business card and also connect with them across social media on the spot, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (that’s if they even have all three), I catch them on Instagram and Snapchat at a later date (but most are not there yet... don't get me started!). I send a digital business card that is the size of a phone, it contains my expert authority title, what I do for my clients and it has my contact details and website. In order to send this to them, I need to have their contact number... So of course this is a great way to get the telephone number of someone you just met at an event. The next day I will follow up with a text/SMS to say how great it was to meet them, with a free gift which is a download to my LinkedIn book. When they click on the link I will also have captured their email and they are now in my sales funnel for future communication and marketing.
You Become Memorable: Many people are surprised when they ask me for my card at a networking event and I tell them I don’t use business cards when networking. The usual response is surprise and of course is followed by the question ‘Why is that?’. My response, ‘I like to be different, and you are going to remember me more, after the event, by me not having a card, than me getting lost in a pile of cards you collected tonight and are probably going to do nothing with.’ So let’s connect on social media and if you give me your card, I can text you my digital business card with all my details on. A few months ago I attended a networking event in Northampton, the organiser told me last week that people are still talking about the mysterious woman who came networking without any business cards. I of course am in contact with those who I wanted to be from that event.
You are in Control: There will be some people you WANT to follow up with after a business networking event, such as the people who you connected with on a personal or business level. But there will for sure be people that you DON’T want to see again or hear from again. They were pitching you, trying to sell you something, only talked about themselves and are not someone you want to have in your network. By not having cards on you, the power is with you. You get to choose if you follow up with them or not. You get to decide if you share your information with them. You are in total control of the relationship and what happens next. If you network the other way around and are constantly giving out your cards to other people, you are reliant on them being amazing at follow up which is going to be less than 5-10% of the people you met at the event.
And those are three of the main reasons why I choose not to take my business cards out networking with me. I would love to hear your experience of business networking and whether you do or don’t take cards with you. Leave a comment below, I read them all. Would love to hear your views.
"If you just help enough people get what they want, you will get everything you want in return." Zig Ziglar