Why Business Cards Don't Work
At any networking event there are people that you want to avoid because they cling to you, and prevent you from meeting new people. Usually an effective technique is excusing oneself to refill your drink or using the restroom. However, recently I was resought out after politely excusing myself. “What was i to do now?” I had gone to the restroom and I had a full plate of food. The solution, I handed them my business cards and told them to call me.
This was the perfect solution. By handing them my business card I was able to walk away and continue to network with other people. Most likely the person will never call me, because 99% of the time, people NEVER CALL. If he does call then he will probably be a lead and not a clinger. While I needed to continue to network, I can take the time in a one-to-one meeting if he is interested enough to continue the call.
This is also a reminder that handing someone your card is an effective avoidance strategy, and not an effective networking strategy. People that go to networking events and hand out stacks of business cards and then complain that networking does not work because no one called them, is using the same technique I used to avoid someone. This is because typically no one at a networking event in interested in what you are selling—Tips for Successful Networking.
Why business cards only don’t work. If you were looking for a plumber, would you go to a networking event and look for one? No. You would call you friend and ask, “Do you know any good plumbers?”. He or she would tell you who they used last and give you their phone number. Remember a lead is not a referral—leads vs. referrals. Stop selling at a networking event, stop clinging to someone, go and insert yourself into a different group and come back to the office with some leads.
Until next week, Happy Hunting!
Truly insightful. I have been guilty of both sins (clinging and selling) in the past. As with anything else in life, the key is “WIIFM” or whats-in-it-for-me from the other party. If they believe that connecting with you would be value added, they will eventually do so. if not, why waste time your time and theirs? better to know this early on and walk away.