Thursday, July 12, 2007

10 Networking Tips Using Custom Business Cards

At times I'm the first to kind of hate any sort of ideas when it's comes to schmoozing; it just seems shallow and stupid at times, but it's still something you have to do, and these tips don't go over the line or make you look like an ass.

1. Before leaving home -- Check to be sure you have business cards -- any "by chance" meeting is an opportunity to give out a business card. A morning run or a quick trip to the local store could be an opportunity to network ... always make this a daily habit.

2. Never underestimate the power of networking -- Insert a business card when mailing bill payments -- why can't you advertise your skills or services in this manner? You may not think a person in another state who opens your credit card bill payment can help you, but the person on the receiving end may need your services, and you'll be in a prime position to get their attention when they least expect it. Don't be afraid to put in more than one card into the envelope, just in case the recipient wants to give one to someone else as well.

3. Use proper business card etiquette --
Whenever you give a business card, ask for a business card ... when given a business card, don't just take it and place it in your pocket -- make the person feel important by looking at their card for a few seconds. Write notes on the card such as date, location and common points of interest, these may prove valuable when following up with that person ... then place it in your wallet, as this lets them know they're important to you.

4. Be generous -- Give your custom business cards out to everyone ... vanity should not stop you from giving out your last business card or giving 2 at a time to each person. Many people miss the purpose of a custom business card ... never be caught saying, "I only have a few cards left and I need them" ... holding back your custom business cards can actually hurt your business.

5. Ask for referrals -- When giving someone your custom business card, don't be afraid to say ... "I would appreciate a referral, if you know anyone that could use my services." This approach is far better than asking them if their company is hiring and always places you in a better position with them; they'll feel better about helping you, especially if you give them several of your custom business cards.

6. Take advantage of every meeting --
You never know when you might meet someone who can help you, especially attending family or friends social events which could produce unexpected encounters with people who need your services ... giving that person a custom business card could prove beneficial for both of you.

7. Being at the right place at the right time -- What about job fair's or business conference's? Volunteering at these types of events places you in a great position to present your resume and/or custom business card. Company representatives will notice if you've gone the extra mile in helping them make their presence easier to manage. Get involved by doing a Google search for "calendar events" in your city and place yourself in positions to give out your custom business card.

8. Make sure to follow up leads -- Company recruiters; potential client's; and/or employer's may never call you back, with the "Out of sight - out of mind" attitude. Today's economic climate clearly shows you're in competition with at least 100 or more other people for the same position or contract. It's quite a task for people to keep track of each individual meeting ... so, immediately after a meeting, mail a hand written note thanking the person for their time, and insert your business card. Now you're in the driver's seat by standing out from other people in the crowd.

9. Use promotions wisely -- Newspapers often have stories of people being promoted to high levels in different organizations -- seize this opportunity. Consider getting some invitation size blank greeting cards and use the Internet's search capabilities to find out the address of the company's executive offices. Send the blank invitation type card with a hand written note sincerely congratulating a person on their promotion, again insert your custom business card.

For the cost of a stamp, you have just made someone's day and possibly created an impression that would make a person feel compelled to respond back to you. You just never know ... people open invitation type envelops faster than any others.

10. People remember a slogan
-- A memorable phrase or slogan insures people ALWAYS associate a company name with their product or services. People remember even after the commercial is over ... it's called "branding". Companies pay large sums to advertising agencies to come up with these lasting slogans, and you should do the same strategy on your custom business card. A slogan makes all the difference between getting hired or not, because people will remember you long after a meeting.

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