Top Tips for Giving and Receiving Business Cards

Written by Caron Peirson
Monday 30th January 2017
Even in the digital era, business cards can be a very powerful marketing tool, especially for small businesses.  Your business card could be the key to opportunities when you attend business networking events, trade shows or meetings.
 
Giving and receiving business cards in the UK.
 Cards above double-decker bus: Hannah (Epsilon House), Adrian (Priority Driver Training), Guy (Guy Clubb Designs), and Elene (Preloved Chica).
Cards above Union Jack: Kay (Mr Trotter), Ruth (The Paella & Tapas Company), and Adam (¡Cho! Gazpacho).
 
Make sure you bring plenty of business cards with you.  I recently attended a speed business networking event in Ipswich and ended up taking photos of "the remaining" business cards of many of the attendees.
 
Start by creating a good impression.  Be organised and know exactly where your business cards are.  If you have to search your pockets or bag to find your business cards, your interlocutor will get the impression that both you and your business are unorganised.
 
Don't be pushy.  Remember to wait for the right moment, when you have the person's attention, before handing over your card.
 
Ensure you hand over a card that is in pristine condition to give a good impression of yourself and your business.  A crumpled-up card certainly won't encourage others to use your services or buy your products.
 
Make it easy for your fellow networkers.  When you hand out your card, position the card so that it doesn't have to be turned around by the recipient to read it.
 
Do be discerning when handing out your business cards.  If you are seen "throwing them at anyone who walks past" you will look like "Desperate Dan".  On the other hand, if you only give your card to likely prospects you might be turning away potential associates or people who might refer your business to others.  It's best to use discretion.
 
TOP TIP Always carry your business cards with you.  Who knows what opportunity is around the corner.  Your next client could be queuing at the theatre or having a pint at your local pub.
 
 
If you are offered a card, accept it with grace and take time to study the card.  Comment or compliment on something that catches your eye, it might be an attractive design or the quality of the card.  Show interest for what your new acquaintances do and ask questions about their businesses.  Even if you are not likely to engage in business with them, do accept their card.
 
At an appropriate time, put the card in a suitable place so you won't pull it out as one of your cards by mistake.  When I attend networking events, I carry an empty card holder for this purpose.
 
Write useful reminders on the business cards such as when and where you met and any other memorable details that might help you remember your meeting with them.  You never know when this info will be invaluable to you.
 
If you are a digital person or collect a large amount of business cards, you might want to digitise them once you get back to your office.  If, like me, you have a visual memory, you also might want to keep the physical business cards, and put them in a business card tray or a small box.
 
To follow up or not to follow up?  Probably those who gave you their business cards at a networking event won't be overly impressed if they receive a salesy email or phone call from you, as you wouldn't be if you were the recipient.  By all means, do keep in touch with them, send them a thank you note via email or on social media. 
 
Who knows where your business cards will end up?  They could be filed in the bin, kept for future reference, or photographed and shared on someone's blog post. Winking Face Emoji
 
I hope you have found this post useful!
Written by Caron Peirson

Caron is director at Arcape. Her expertise in social media marketing, and her excellent local business knowledge, translate into social media results for her clients. Caron is a keen photographer, and on her spare time enjoys art, travelling and the countryside.

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