I seem to accumulate piles of them. Many sit sadly on my desk or in drawers gathering dust, unused yet only occasionally unwanted. Finally, when I do manage to file them, they are replaced by a new set after the next show, exhibition or networking event, often to suffer the same fate.
I am of course talking about business cards.
I’ve always known that I really ought to get more organised and productive with them, perhaps sorting and filing them by level of interest or speciality or even by event.
The trouble is that it would be impossible to manually keep in contact and up to date with what they are doing even for a consummately organised networker – and I’m really not one of those.
So, to be brutally honest, in the vast majority of cases they are stored away for a rainy day only to be forgotten about or, when I do think “Yes, I remember talking to someone who did that!”, all too often I find the details are no longer accurate anyway.
No longer the case. LinkedIn to the rescue.
After an event, with business cards still carefully received and given where appropriate, I search them out on LinkedIn, send a personalised invitation covering our earlier chat and there we are. Instead of a static business card, I am directly connected to someone who has an interest in keeping their profile and contact details up to date.
In addition, I get their information to refer to, updates from them on (hopefully) subjects of interest and of course a way to keep them up to date with mine, thereby ensuring that I remain in their mind’s eye should a business opportunity arise. Perfect!
There’s even an App that now belongs to LinkedIn called CardMunch – only for the iPhone as it stands unfortunately – which will take a snap shot of the card and then convert it to a connection automatically. For the rest of us there’s the long hand method of searching for the on the site itself!
And what happened to the business cards? Well let’s just say I don’t have hidden piles of them any longer!
Takeaway Point: Turn a business card into a live connection by contacting them and linking up on LinkedIn – could be the start of a beautiful relationship!