I was attending a networking luncheon the other day. Each person there was able to pass out their business card and do a 30-second “commercial” for their business. We decided that as each person got up to speak, they would hold up their business card so the rest of us could associate their face with their contact information. I noticed that two people did not have business cards, so they had to skip this part. I shook my head—how could they forget to bring business cards to a business networking event?!
Failing to bring business cards hurts you because it makes it harder for others to contact you about your product or service. At a networking event, I may meet dozens of people. If someone hands me a card, I am more likely to remember them and I can jot down a little note or reference on it should I want to reach out to them later. If there’s no card, it’s very unlikely that I will remember the name, company, or website and look it up later. That means you may have lost out on a potential sale or work contact.
Not carrying cards also makes you look unprepared, especially if you’re at a work-related function. It’s one thing to be caught at the bank or a dinner party without a business card, but when the event is related to your business, you should always come prepared. You wouldn’t go shopping without a credit card, so why do business without a business card?
If you are caught empty-handed, apologize and say that you just handed out your last card. Ask the person if you may take their card, and be sure to follow up the next day to connect, including your title, business details, and website in your email. Hopefully you can then keep the relationship going.
Don’t miss out on a great opportunity simply because you left your business cards behind. And if you’re a freelance or self-employed businessperson, you should also make sure to have cards printed for you to hand out. Get your name out there!
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