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Business cards are OUT! How to network like a pro!
What do you do with those business cards you get from networking events? If you are like me, you do one of two things: toss them or lose them. So what do you think those people do with YOUR business card you gave them? Don’t worry, this article will give you a much better networking strategy that has more immediate and long-term results!
The problem with business cards
Most people grab cards at networking events to be polite. In fact, most business cards are never even used for their intended purpose.
Instead, people will search online for whatever they are looking for (at that moment) to solve their immediate problems- the days of flipping through your business card Rolodex are long gone. (Thanks, Google!)
Google is the first place most people will go when looking for a service or solution. People no longer go looking for that misplaced business card they know they have, somewhere…
Some professionals are skilled in the art of business card exchange. These individuals have an incredible way of using their business cards to provide some perceived value to the accepting person. But how do you make your business card work like this?
Unless you have some unique way of getting people to find the value out of your business card, most people will simply toss it in a drawer- or the trash can.
So now you’re probably wondering, ‘How am I suppose to provide value in my business card?’
I will tell you a secret hack (shhh) that will save you some money and provide better results.
The secret to building a strong network
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a secret- but for some reason, it’s not people’s go-to networking move! In fact, the more people who start doing this, the MORE powerful this becomes! (So spread the word and hit that share button over there!)
My not-so-secret trick? The LinkedIn connect button.
Whenever I meet someone professionally (client, colleague, customer, future boss?), I ask the person if they are on LinkedIn.
Most professional people do, these days, so when they say yes, I have them open up the mobile app or website on their phone and find my profile.
Most people will usually turn their smartphone around and ask if they have found me and point to my insanely handsome profile photo. *cheesy grin*
Then they hit the connect button. Easy, right?
Now the magic happens.
Hitting the connect button does something that a business card simply cannot do: establish a direct line of communication.
Let’s say you have 3 or 4 people join your LinkedIn network, you are now able to continuously build a relationship with those people.
They will see your content; you will be able to comment on their content; and the best part? You can directly message them.
An added bonus to connecting on LinkedIn? People can search through LinkedIn to find experts in certain fields. They can search for particular professionals that they might need at that moment. They can even connect to like-minded individuals and build their networks even larger. Your non-business-card-connection just became a networking tree, of sorts.
You might be able to get 1 to 4 people who will reach out to you out of every 100 business cards you pass out or so, roughly. Not to mention the money you spent to make the cards, and then remake the cards every time your information needs updated.
But in today’s day and age of instant gratification, the ability to connect on demand is the most powerful networking tool you can find.
But wait! There’s more…. this works with all social media platforms!
This networking technique is not limited to just LinkedIn. It will work the same with other platforms, like Facebook or Instagram.
So on the off chance that someone answers, ‘no’ to your LinkedIn question, I bet you they have facebook, or twitter, or something that you can connect through.
Never again will your ability to reach potential clients, colleagues, investors, etc, be limited to a pocket sized piece of paper.
So give it a try! Next time you meet someone professionally interesting, ask them for that connect! After a few times, you’ll be a networking pro.