Essential Networking: Always Carry Business Cards

October 16, 2013 Updated: October 16, 2013

Necessary or not necessary? When it comes to business cards that’s the burning question. The answer? Necessary. It is a golden rule when attending networking events to always,always,always carry business cards. Would you leave home without money or your door keys? Your business cards are just as essential. 
As I’m sure you’ll agree, it is far better to be safe than sorry and you will always have a few extra cards at the ready if you bear in mind that networking does not only take place in the networking room. It is far from unusual to make new connections in hotel lobbies, at conferences, in coffee shops, during training or on the commute to the office.
 
Networking is a marketing activity, unlike any other and can be very unpredictable. You just never know when you will bump into a new potential client or referral partner so it pays to always be ready to exchange business cards. 
 
There are ongoing debates about whether we should be more forgiving when a networker does not have a business card to exchange and whether its fair that it should leave a negative impression. Also with the rise of smartphones allowing the exchange of contact details in seconds, is it time to throw out the business card tradition?
 
I think not because creating a positive image is key in business where initial perceptions and first impressions play a fundamental role. It takes only 30 seconds for another delegate to make a judgement about your image and due to time constraints, there may not be the extra time to key in your co-delegates’ details. Not having business cards will then imply disorganisation and poor planning and you won’t be taken seriously.

When you look successful you will be viewed as successful. Along with likeability, this is is a big contributor to your driving force when networking. Trust and likeability will strengthen your relationships with new connections from the outset and the possibility of your acquiring new clients. This is what is meant when it’s said that “ People buy people before buying goods or services”.
 
There is power in your business card because it speaks volumes before you even deliver your pitch. It will create a story about your business and instantly raise brand awareness. It shows who you are and what you do and becomes a walking advert of your business.
 
Business cards are an important resource for building a long-term relationship. There is nothing better that having a tangible point of reference that your potential business connections can store over time. You would be surprised how long networkers keep business cards and how often they review them.  
 
Here are a few tips to help you never run out of business cards.  Put a reminder in your smartphone to place a new order with your print suppliers; for example on the first of every month and have an extra box at all times.
 
Also, start planning which events you will attend two weeks or a month in advance and allocate a supply of cards for each individual event. Another tip is to store a few in every wallet, purse, handbag, man-bag, and travel card holder.
 
Another good habit is to store some cards where you keep your door keys. When you leave your home every morning and you reach for your keys you can take a few business cards too. 
   
Bella Rareworld is a Corporate Networking Strategist for BellaNetworking Ltd. For info email bella@bellanetworking.com or visit www.bellanetworking.com
BellaNetworking Ltd offers networking membership and networking consultancy helping international clients to build a London network of new connections based within their industry and target market. Bella has 60+ testimonials on Linkedin at http://www.linkedin.com/in/rareworld. Get more networking tips on Twitter & Facebook: http://www.twitter.com/BellaNetworking- http://www.facebook.com/BellaNetworking