Printing business cards continue to be an important part of your networking toolbox. They are such an integral part of our day-to-day activities that many people don’t think much about them beyond their initial design. However, there are a few tricks of the trade – some rules about etiquette – when it comes to giving and receiving premium business cards because it doesn’t matter how well you are dressed or how many conferences you attend if you can’t do this properly.
Learn about Etiquette
Don’t Run Out
Always take a few more cards than you think you’ll need. It’s always hard to estimate exactly how many people you’ll meet, and it’s always embarrassing to meet someone important after you’ve already handed out your meager stack of cards.
If you are going to a networking event, don’t be afraid to take a small stack of them with you. (three or four is simply not enough). There is nothing worse than having to tell someone you ran out before you got to them or having to jot down your email address on a random piece of paper. These types of handwritten notes are always the first to be thrown away or lost.
Keep your Them Updated
An out-of-date card is obsolete. There is no reason to give out your card if you have to say, “Oh, my phone number and address have changed.” Make sure all information, especially contact information, is 100% current.
Also, keep the business card design updated and relevant. If your card hasn’t been changed in ten years, it may be time to consider freshening it up a bit. If you need assistance, our graphic designers will help you with the entire process.
Keep them in a Card Case
Never hand someone a card that is wrinkled, torn or has a little drop of ketchup from your lunch. Storing your cards in a special case keeps them in mint condition. If it looks like you don’t care much about the card, why should anyone else?
When someone asks for yours, ask for theirs in return. If you reciprocate interest in another’s business, it can do a great deal for your reputation. Even if you aren’t totally sure you need the other person’s card, ask for it anyway.
Make a Comment
When someone gives you their card, make a comment on it. Do a brief scan of the card and pick one point that is worth mentioning. Tell them how much you like their logo. Compliment their great tagline. Do your best to make a sincere comment that shows you are truly interested in them. This is a simple courtesy and can encourage others to reciprocate the interest in you.
If you were given someone’s card, make it a point to follow-up with them. You don’t have to schedule a dinner date with everyone you met, but you should make some type of connection. After a networking conference or even a small business interaction, send an email, write a card or make a phone call to see if this is a relationship worth pursuing. Business connections are only as useful as the effort you put into them, and following up is the best way to get the most value out of your new cards.