Business Card Process

Teddy Burriss Business Card Process

I do not hand out business cards like they’re candy.

I remember way back in my past, my boss nearly peed his pants when he saw within a month I had handed out an entire box of 500 business cards. He immediately bought me another 1000. I’m sure most of those business cards ended up in the trash, a desk drawer or in a pile with 100’s of other business cards.

I’ve seen it many times. This may even be your desk. A bunch of business cards in a rubber band stacked up on the left or right side of your monitor. Maybe piles of cards in your desk drawer. How does this help anyone?

Today, I only give out my business cards when there is an intent or opportunity for a future conversation.

I’ll often say to the person, “Let me tell you my expectations when I give you my card. I expect you to send me an email and follow up to our meeting and if you are using LinkedIn, send me an invite to connect there.” No one has ever given my card back because of these expectations.

When I receive a business card from someone else, this is my process:

Step 1 – I put them into my personal contact database. I use Google Apps, so they go into my Google Contacts. I enter in their Name, Company Name, email address, phone number, maybe address and a note reminding me where/when we met. These contacts are synced to my phone, therefore I have access to them all the time & everywhere.

Step 2 – If they are relevant to my business, I may add them to my business contacts as well. Everyone I meet is not relevant to my business, however, many are.

Step 3 – I look for them on LinkedIn and send them an invite to connect. I always put a relevant and friendly note in the invitation.

Step 4 – I send them an email in context of where and how we met. If there is an intention for the next conversation I remind them of what we decided or I share dates/times so we can schedule.

Step 5 – If relevant I will look for them on Instagram and/or Twitter. Depending on the developing relationship I will follow them there. Sometimes, but not every time, I may look for them on Facebook and invite them to be friends there. I don’t do this for every new connection and we have had to laugh together in order for me to send a Facebook Friend Request.

Step 6 – I then throw away their business card. I now have their contact information in my contacts, possibly in my business contacts, we’re connected on LinkedIn and maybe following on each other on Twitter, Instagram and maybe even Facebook.

I do this every evening because I can’t tolerate a big pile of business cards to process. That would be overwhelming for me. A little at a time is far easier for me to process.

This activity helps me to connect at multiple points so I can stay aware of them and they of me.

It helps me to be able to stay top of mind with them as they see my content on social media.

I can use the social media connections to find even more people I may want to know about and to get introduced as needed.

Do you have a purposeful business card process? Could this process be useful for you?

It’s a Journey, not a Race

Teddy Burriss - Balloon in sky Journey

I’m seeing more and more advertisements for ‘instant’, ‘rapid’ and ‘easy’ automation methods or processes around using LinkedIn.

Even though these plugins, applications, extensions, services, etc may automate and speed up the use of some areas of LinkedIn, this is fact; they are all doomed to fail like a house of cards.

And, if you are not capable of running your business without these automation tools, your business could fail as well.

I make this bold statement based on two facts.

#1 – LinkedIn’s Terms of Service very clearly states you are not allowed to use any 3rd party application to automate any of the LinkedIn processes within the application. Read Section 8 of the Terms of Services completely.

#2 – LinkedIn is the 800# Gorilla who owns the application and access to the data. (You may own your LinkedIn data, just not the application that accesses it.)

None of these businesses creating these ‘unauthorized’ crawlers, browser plugins and add-ons, or any other technology, can sustain the application changes they have to keep making as LinkedIn counters their ‘attacks’ on the data and LinkedIn application.

It may cost LinkedIn lots of money to keep fending off the violators to their terms of services, however, LinkedIn’s pockets and determination are greater than the businesses who are violating LinkedIn’s terms of service.

I strongly feel it is not wise to build a business or allow my employees to build business processes using these 3rd party tools and ignoring these two points.

One of the reasons these 3rd party applications exists is as a society we seek ‘instant gratification‘.

There are many things in my life where I expect instant gratification. Turn on the water, turn on a light, fire up Apple Music, Netflix or the coffee pot.

However, getting instant results from LinkedIn is not something I expect or want. It’s not sustainable.

LinkedIn is a professional networking tool and plays an important role in relationship development when you use LinkedIn appropriately.

Networking and relationship development is a journey, not a race.

Here are 5 reasons I look at using LinkedIn as a journey, not a race.

  1. I’m a relationship sales professional. I have some level of relationship with all of my clients. I like this style of business.
  2. I like to research my Most Important Viewers in my LinkedIn network and discover more about them so I can best engage with them using words and ideas they understand. This produces some of the richest conversations for me and them.
  3. Being organic in my use of LinkedIn allows me to find new processes, tactics, and styles that fit who I am and my business. This allows me to be different than others who have automated the basic steps of LinkedIn with less personality or uniqueness.
  4. For me, it would be devastating to use an automation tool that purports instant gratification and be discovered as less than sincere, honest, or real. See point #1 again.
  5. Getting into open conversations with my LinkedIn Network has created a huge advantage for me. This takes time and has uncovered new ideas that have had a positive impact on my life and/or business.
  6. I truly enjoy fulfilling this edict every day; “Networking is finding, developing and nurturing relationships that mutually move people forward through life.”

Again, networking and relationship development is a journey, not a race. The magic is in the journey. The rewards are in the conversations I get to have along the way. The benefits are mutual when I listen and get permission to share after I discover what is important to the other person.

My last point regarding using ‘unauthorized’ applications with LinkedIn is this; I believe I have built a fantastic LinkedIn Network, one that I am blessed to have. I also have created a strong reputation across LinkedIn in regards to the work I do and it makes my phone ring.

There is no way in the world I would jeopardize this and lose access to my LinkedIn account because I want instant gratification.

Teddy