Business Cards may not be dead after all.
Or are they.
I would say it depends.
It depends on what you intend them to do for you. How you plan to use them.
Business cards used in the traditional sense…? Yeah, they’re dead.
Really, how many biz cards do you have scattered about in your ‘catch all’ drawer?
I have a lot.
Do I ever look at them? No I don’t.
I use google or references to ‘find my guy’.
I’m too young to know this for sure but I think there was a day when you ‘had a card’ for about any service you needed.
When the need arose you referenced your cards and whala, someone got a call or made a sale.
I’ve never done that.
But I have connected with people at an event, chatted or discussed one thing or another, gotten their biz card, stored their info in my contacts, then searched my contacts for them later, giving them a call or a sale.
Or simply checking them out later.
Yes, I said it.
Like the one time I was at a conference of some kind and got chitty-chatting with a gent who was past retirement age but couldn’t be kept away from work entirely.
He started a property management company when he was young, and it’s now a nation-wide operation managing large properties. Large as in they won’t manage anything unless that property has over 200 units.
Shiver me timbers. I’d like to have Lapp Group manage just one property over 200 units.
So anyhow, we hit it off well. I was even able to give him a 10 minute car ride on the way home from the event. I got as much info as I could without appearing over-eager, but I did wind up with his biz card.
So now I’ve got his full name, website, phone number, and email address in my pocket.
Do you think I kept that?
Have I checked out his website and learned what I could?
That was a couple years ago and I could still call or email him if I would like.
Would I be able to do that if I had not gotten his card?
The dude’s not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, or whatever other social experiment has been started recently. (Obviously he’s not on Google+, no one is)
Would I have sat there entering his name, phone number, email address and website in my phone as we were talking?
Would I have remembered even his name?
Probably not by now.
Which leads me to the crux of my argument: business cards aren’t dead if used properly.
Here’s a quick story of another improper use.
Recently I was at another conference (I know) and when the speaker was finished with his session there was several of us that had some more questions, which we were discussing with him.
It seemed like SOP at this conference for the speakers to have their cards handy after their talk, as well as any other material they were passing out.
As the 3-4 of us were wrapping up the little discussion we had going I noticed a dude in my right peripheral heading our way fast.
He had his name tag hanging around his neck (nothing wrong here, we all did), as well as an extra holder for his biz cards (I noticed several others, big deal).
But he literally walked up, handed the speaker his card, asked for the speaker’s card, and headed right out.
It felt like maybe his boss told him to attend the conference, get as many cards as possible (as if the cards themselves are the relationship) and hand out as many of his own cards as possible.
That’s probably not going to work well.
And that’s the entire point: The cards aren’t the relationship, they merely give you the contact information to grow or maintain the relationship.
Remember that, and you’ll do fine.
PS: My exact process with cards is this:
1. Decide if this is a contact of interest. (Most are if I haven’t thrown it away immediately)
1a. If so move to step 2.
1b. If not I’ll put it in my drawer with all the other cards, never to be seen again.
2. Enter their contact info in my contacts.
2a. Most of the time with a note about where I met them if it’s not memorable.
3. Check if they’re on Twitter.
3a. If so I’ll likely follow them there, give them a shout-out, or take whatever other Twitter-appropriate action there is.