I’m not sure if you are aware, but as a business owner there is a serious problem happening, and it’s up to YOU to do something about it. It goes a little something like this: You put on your nice shoes on to go networking and spend time and money meeting strangers who might become potential clients, referrals or strategic partners. And, of course, you’re collecting business cards. If you are a savvy business owner, you’re focusing more on the quality of the lead instead of the quantity, but regardless, before long you have a nice pile of cards on your office desk. And so a dilemma presents itself: What do you do with all these business cards?
You could schedule coffee dates or phone calls. But, with that pile staring at you and growing bigger with every week that passes the idea of scheduling over a dozen coffee dates and phone calls can seem daunting. So, you do what every other business owner with a stack of stranger’s business cards do: you add them to your mailing list.
Wrong! Adding strangers to your mailing list without their approval is not only illegal it is business suicide! Now, I know that sounds extreme. But think of it this way. What happened the last time someone added you to their list without your permission? Did you call them to say thank you and start reading every word they ever wrote or do you roll your eyes, get secretly annoyed, and constantly delete their emails or unsubscribe yourself? Odds are the later. And, if prospects are viewing your business as a nuisance then, yeah, you did just commit business suicide.
So, what do you do?
Your first option is to craft an email with strong brand messaging that reminds people what you are about and gives them the option to sign up for your mailing list if they are interested. Create a template email, save it and make a note in your calendar to send out a group email on the 1st of each month to new prospects. This is a great way to keep your lists organized and make sure your not offending anyone or harming your business. Once they have signed in to your list then they will automatically be synced to the rest of your system i.e. auto-responders, freebies etc.
The second option is a bit more elaborate. Go through the cards on your desk on the 1st of the month and sort the strong leads from the weaker ones. Send a template email to anyone you want to stay in touch with but not necessary rush into a relationship right away. The remaining pile of strong leads (we’ll call them your VIPs) should be contacted personally. Create a separate template email for your VIPS and simply add a sentence or two to personalize each email before sending it out. Include a TimeTrade link or a link to your calendar to simplify scheduling.
Voila! Two easy ways to deal with business cards without harming your brand or turning prospects away. Oh, and for those who haven’t already, check out apps like Scan Biz Cards which can save you literally hours of inserting contact information.