Everyone has their own way of promoting themselves. Some are more forward, and others, take a more relaxed approach. In any case, regardless of your style or preferred method, it's crucial to remember there are some best practices and business card etiquette to keep in mind.
No matter how forward you are, we all probably know that it's probably best not to just hand out your business card to anyone you meet or passes within one foot of you. Surprisingly, we still see this happen all the time. Instead of forcing your card onto passersby, it's important to leave a good impression, so be sure to first introduce yourself, and if relevant, hand the individual your card and ask for his or hers. It's proper etiquette to also show an interest in the other person.
The power of a referral should never be overlooked. It's always a good idea to hand your cards out to individuals who you think may pass along your info to others as referrals. If you have a peer, close friend, or business that you partner with or are a vendor of, be sure to keep a stack of theirs, and request they keep a stack of yours. It's mutually beneficial if you help businesses and vendors, as they are more than likely to pass along your name.
Quite often we hand our business cards out to people we've just met, or we ask someone for theirs. It's great: we've made a potential connection, networked, made a friend or possibly met someone we may partner with in the near future. But, then we forget to follow up. So what was the point of taking their card in the first place? It's important to follow up, either immediately or at least within the week, to ensure you establish a connection.
As always, it's not just a number game. It's about establishing quality relationships and partnerships, and ensuring you make a good impression. A highly qualified lead is much better than dozens of possible leads that may or may not be interested in you. Be sure to cultivate relationships to ensure you're remembered.