LinkedIn has essentially become your online CV. You add your work history, your education, recommendations and all of your contact details.
(If you’re not on LinkedIn, you should be and I’ll be writing a full article why – and how to set up your LinkedIN profile. More to come on this…)
You might say that most people will just type your name and company into LinkedIn to find all your details, and the same can be said of all social media channels so why bother getting physical printed cards done?
If I need to contact someone relating to business, I will look for them on LinkedIn and message them, or I’ll go to Facebook and ‘Send a message’.
Whether it’s to book a table at their restaurant or find out how the pricing structure works on their software. I do this because a) I’m lazy and b) I’m Impatient.
I like to know answers quickly, and if they don’t have a live chat function on their website I go straight to their social media platforms to contact them there.
The internet makes it so easy to find people you need to connect with nowadays and 9 times out of 10 I’ll type their name into a social media search bar before I go rummaging through a pile of business cards.
Picture this – you’re in a client meeting, the conversation is going really well and they want to speak further. Or perhaps you’re networking at an event and you have 2 minutes to try and explain what you do – they ask for your card to take the conversation further and suddenly the professional, knowledgeable version of yourself becomes a disorganised mess whilst you fumble in your bag for some paper to scribble your details on or awkwardly wait for the events poor wifi connection to load your LinkedIn app to connect there.
It also still amazes me how many people don't have social media accounts or are still incredibly awkward at operating their mobile phone to add you as a contact. Just don't chance it!
One of the most important rules as a business owner is not to look stupid, disorganised and unprepared in front of a potential customer. So have a business card ready to hand over and spare yourself the embarrassment.
At one of the recent events I attended I spoke to 2 people during the networking break and both of them took my business card and have met up with me since.
Check out Hubspot's ‘5 aspects of a kick-ass business card’ for tips on what a good business card looks like.
I also collected a couple of business cards that day and although they are now in the bin, the purpose for me was to collect the info I need and add them into my CRM system (Customer Relationship Manager) so that I have everything I need in one place – name, email, phone, website.
To find out which CRMs could work for your business – read this article.
Play each scenario out and if it’s the right environment to pass over your card have it in your hand ready. If the other person has pulled up LinkedIn and wants to add you on there, go with it.
To be honest the best outcome in any business card exchange scenario is that you should walk away with THEIR card – even if they don’t walk away with yours. This puts the power in your hands to control the follow up and allows you to take the next step. It also means you can email them straight away with all your details and add them straight to your CRM.
Another question that comes up around business cards is ‘Should I hand out my business card at events’ – find out my thoughts by clicking here.
If you need some advice or support on designing your business cards, fill in the form on this page and we’ll get back to you.