Business cards are a great tool for quickly giving someone your contact information. If you don’t have a job that supplies a business card, you can easily order one online or at any local business center. If you’re just out of school or in between jobs, it’s still a great idea to have a personal card that you can hand out as you make business and personal connections. Take your networking seriously and ensure that you always have a few cards in your pocket, wallet, or purse.
Now that we’ve established that you have a business card, I’ll get to my real point, which is: keep it in your pocket. Have you ever been to a networking event and had someone walk up and before you’ve even said hello, they’re handing you their business card? Their networking strategy is to see how many cards they can hand out and collect at the event. That’s their strategy, but I don’t advise that you make it yours. The person with the most business cards does not win. The person with the right business card does.
People do business with people they trust. You have to take the time to establish a connection before you prospect for business. Introduce yourself by name, and if you feel compelled, you can mention your company. Unless they ask what your company does, steer the conversation to learn more about them. Most people love to talk about themselves. If they work for a company you haven’t heard of, ask about what their product or service does. Be genuinely interested in their company and customers if you want to help them. The more you understand about their world, the faster you will gain rapport. You may find that you bond over something other than work, like children, pets, music, sports or any number of topics.
You will win the business by having the best service or product offering, but you will first open the door by having established a rapport.