Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How To Turn Business Cards Into Success

How many times have you gotten home after attending a networking event or conference and found that you've stuffed your pockets with more than 40 business cards?  In the frenzy of the moment you say, "ok I'll send you an email" or "I'll call you to set up a meeting" and at that time you intend to do just that. Fast-forward to one week later and those business cards are stacked neatly on your desk and you still intend to touch base with your new contacts. Turning business cards into success first begins by realizing the potential value that each card (contact) has. Put it like this, for every person that you fail to follow up with you are potentially flushing $100 (or more) down the toilet!  If you are the type of business owner that doesn't mind losing money in this fashion then there is no need for you to read any further but if increasing your bottom line and building your network is important to you...then read on.

The first step in turning business cards into success occurs shortly after you receive it. Write a distinguishing factor about the individual on the card so that you can remember who they are. This is huge!  However, if you have a great memory then doing this at the end of your event will suffice but if you're anything like me completing this within 2 hours of meeting is the way to go. Trust me this works! The second step is to place each business card into like categories.  By placing like cards together you are set up for the third step, which is to input each contact into your database.  This can be as simple as an Excel file with various categories that fit your particular type of business. Maintaining your database with up to date information is essential to growing your business and keeping your potential clients informed of your growth.

Now that you have entered each card into your database it's time for step four. Contact each individual within 1 week of the event and include how you connected with them, when and where so that they remember who you are.  The timing of your follow up is crucial and will determine the viability of your partnership moving forward.  Waiting too late can cause you to miss your window of opportunity.  The fifth step is very simply, follow up and more follow up! Building a professional relationship with a potential client or supporter takes time and patience but your diligence can result in new business and brand expansion.  

Meeting and networking with a potential partner is only the beginning. Putting these five tips into action you will experience an increase in your network and ultimately your bottom line. Following up with a new contact within 1 week not only shows that you are timely but you also value relationship building.  In a time where distractions are a dime-a-dozen your ability to focus and stay the course will be refreshing and can help you stand out in the crowd. Does this take time...of course it does! Building a business only happens by carefully positioning one brick at a time, creating a strong, recession proof network should be considered the cornerstone responsibility of your business. 

Is this doable…you betcha!  In fact some may call this common sense and I would agree.  However, this post-facebook, twitter and myspace era has caused many to abandon the old-fashioned relationship building techniques.  These tried and true tips have worked for many business owners who have come before you and if instituted correctly can work for you too.  By combining social networking with sending correspondence via “snail mail”, such as thank you cards, is a sure way that they will remember you.

Small Business Spotlight: The Kauffman Foundation

About Kennedy Consulting

Kennedy Consulting, a full-service event management and media relations firm with 15 years of experience providing quality services for major corporations, non-profits and religious organizations.  Our track record includes the U.S. Dream Academy Gala, which raised over $1.9 Million by receiving match funds from Ms. Oprah Winfrey. Our boutique firm is woman owned.



  1. Great post. I guess I need to start contacting these people before I even forget their faces, lol. Thanks!!

  2. Yep and it's amazing how quickly we forget. These 5 steps will help you grow your network and a healthy network means an increase in contract retention. I wish you much business success.

  3. Those are good tips. Even though social networking is a good tool, there is still alot to be said for the old fashioned way of connecting with people. I actually need to start a databse myself.

  4. This is an amazing article, it is a must read especially for business owners like my self who are in the infant stage of development.

  5. Heather your database is the lifeblood of your company, it helps you to create a systematic way of reaching out to your potential customers/clients. This is absolute key! Sometimes it takes going back to "outdated" methods to get noticed. Yesterday I mailed off three thank you notes after attending an event on Tuesday and I am confident about the outcomes.

  6. Andrew I'm so glad that you found this helpful, don't hesitate to reach out we are here to provide support for your business.

  7. Great post, April. I usually try to get back to someone within 48 hours, sometimes 24 hours since the event is still fresh in someone's mind. And social networking sites make it much easier to meet people. Keep it up!

    --Andrew Bruskin

  8. Completely agree Andrew...I typically follow up within 48 hours and usually works quite well. Yay for social networking and it's free! Thanks for your experienced insight.