A business card is a must-have item for any professional to have. Yes, they’re still important, even in the world of LinkedIn.
It’s the easiest way for professionals to exchange contact information, without awkwardly breaking away from a conversation. But before you hand out your business cards willy-nilly, here are some guidelines you might want to follow:
1. Hand Out Your Business Card to the Right People at The Right Time
People have different ways of handing out their business cards. On one side, you have some people who very rarely hand out their business card. On the other hand, there are those that share it with practically everyone they meet. So which is better?
Well, I’d say neither. Your best bet is to be smart and strategic about who you give your business card to. If you pass out your business card to frequently, it will be harder to keep track of who you’ve met how to go from there. But we’re also not saying that you should be too stingy handing out your information to potential business contacts. You never know where a chance meeting might lead.
2. Establish a Real Connection Before Anything Else
Creating rapport is more important than dishing out a business card. Remember that a business card is just another piece of paper that conveniently fits into your wallet. It’s meant to act as a memory aid to someone who is in need of your services. Circumstances do vary, but whenever possible, make a great first impression if you intend on giving out your card.
Make eye contact with the recipient. Repeat their name in conversation. The friendlier you are, the higher your likelihood of making an impact. Take an interest in the other person as well, that will help them feel that your not just using them as a means to an end but you are genuinely interested in them as persons whom you could assist with your services.
3. Time When You Exchange Your Business Card with Others
When is the best time to give out your card? Some will tell you all the time, which may be true depending on the nature of your business. What has also been known to work effectively, is when people give you THEIR business card. At this point, both parties are in relatively the same frame of mind. None will feel like a tool. Most people will be very receptive to a business card given this particular scenario and will likely hold on to the card longer.
4. Focus on Selling Yourself, Not Your Business Card
After giving a proper presentation on your product or service, the next logical step is for the person to inquire about your contact details. The business card will at this point be flying out of your wallet into their hands. By focusing more on the service that you’ll be providing rather than ensuring that they have your contact details, you guarantee that your business card will not be tossed out as fast as it came in. Give them a reason to hold on to it.
5. Always Be Prepared and Plan Out Your Exchange
Never give out your card as an after-thought. Nor a default gesture to conclude some conversation. It should be very well calculated. It should be obvious to the recipient why he/she is getting this card and why they need to get in contact with you. With all these steps in mind, you’ll be better placed to hand out a timely business card.