We’ve all had this happen. We meet someone at an event, we exchange cards, then things go BAD… Don’t be that person! Make sure you don’t do these 3 mistakes:
- Don’t sign new contacts up for your email newsletters if they didn’t request it. JUST because you exchanged business cards, doesn’t mean people want your schedules, promos or other mass mailings… FYI: I know when people do this to me, because I use my personal email address for all newsletters and online sign ups. When I get a newsletter sent to my business email, it’s spam. I didn’t ask for it. I unsubscribe because I can’t trust that person. Yeah, I take it that seriously.
- Don’t ask for a LinkedIn recommendation if they’ve never used your service. A w k w a r d ...
- Don’t let that business card linger. Doing NOTHING is almost as bad as spamming them. Do you find random cards in your bag, pockets, or in neat stacks on your desk. Make a deal with yourself. Don’t take the person’s business card, if you have no intention of ever contacting them. Seriously. Just let yourself off the hook! You may find that the act of following up is a lot easier when the decision making process isn’t clouded with all the obligation emails with the key contacts. The key here: be discerning.
Do you understand what I’m talking about?
Contact people when you can offer them something that they will value… something that appeals to their interests.
For example, sometimes I talk to people about my favorite business related TED Talks. I’ll make a note on their business card about what we discussed. Then I’ll send them an email with a link to the TED Talks we discussed and possibly a few more that I personally think they will enjoy.
P.S. Here are 3 SOLUTIONS to the NETWORKING No-No’s I mention above:
- When you exchange business cards with someone, ASK them if they’d like to receive your newsletters. YES, it really is simple.
- If someone’s written a TESTIMONIAL for you on your website, look them up on LinkedIn, and send them a message asking if they’d also post that testimonial on LinkedIn too. I’ve done this successfully. I copy and paste their quote and include it in my note. Then it’s easy for them to do quickly! I find the more work I do, to make it easier for others to help me. The more likely they are to actually do it!
- There are APPs on your phone that can scan business cards. One is called CardMunch by LinkedIn. And there are dozens more if you search for it. I also have a Neat scanner, but quite honestly, it’s more work cleaning up what it scans than it is if I just type in the info myself. ***NOTE: iff you have BOXES of business cards, I recommend a service called Cards2List. You mail them the business cards, they scan them, do a quality control check to make sure everything’s in it’s right place, then email you a file (excel or whatever you want.) I used this once. It worked great. Contact: Daniel Rubenstein email@example.com at Cards 2 List to see if he can help you. (FYI: this is NOT an affiliate relationship. I just recommend him because he does great work!)
- Go Back to NO NO #1. Don’t automatically add everyone to your newsletter list! Email them saying, “I’m glad we met, if you’re interested in receiving my business networking updates, click here…” Let them opt in!