If you're like me you come home from conferences and trade shows packed with new ideas and huge pile of business cards. After breathing office air for a while it's time to start the follow up, right? Well, I can break the task into two significant problems, and I bet you feel my pain:
- I would need to convert those 100+ business cards to leads and contacts in Salesforce.
- I have only some gibberish notes of what was discussed and agreed with each contact.
Reality check. With all the tasks piled up on my desk during the conference absence there’s no way I have time for this. Even if I would have someone to type those in Salesforce for me, they are still missing the most relevant information - what did we discuss and what's the next step?
Those tiny pieces of physical evidence that you have been within a handshaking distance of a person. Or a lead, a prospect, or a future partner, perhaps.
But how are business cards faring these days, in the age of social media and digital interaction? Has technology phased out physical business cards? After all, they have not changed all that much during the last couple of centuries.
Well, the market value of business cards is still high today. Imagine a business meeting with a table full of important people you do not (yet) know. Or a convention or a trade show where you meet a continuous flow of people. Or a quick, random encounter with a person of high importance.
An exchange of business cards helps you create a link, regardless of the volume or quality of the contacts created. In many cultures, giving a business card is considered a token of appreciation - a sign of respect.
The problem is that we are still human. We misplace and forget. This is especially true in the digital age when we are constantly bombarded with information, details, names, ideas. That’s why we offload our brains to digital tools, always available on the go. If it’s not on your digital to do list, it doesn’t exist.
So, here’s my TOP 3 checklist for preventing business cards from turning into missed opportunities, pieces of paper tossed away or forgotten:
1. Make it digital with a business card scanner
Transfer the contact details in a business card to a CRM, such as Salesforce. Do not wait until you get back home or to your office – do it immediately with a business card scanner app. If it feels like a chore that takes too much time and effort, you are not using the right tools.
2. Refine with actionable details
Now, who was this person again and what did we talk about? This is the stuff we forget really soon. Complement the contact details with notes and tasks. Again, if this sounds tiresome, you’re not doing it right.
3. Follow up sooner, not later
Leads get cold really fast. So, do not wait with making the next contact. Send an email. Make a call. Connect in social networks. It does not hurt to have a pre-planned follow-up process for new contacts (that said, always make it personal).
So, to sum up, business cards are still as relevant as ever. What matters most is what you do after you get one: never miss a golden opportunity again!
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