Business cards have long been used as a means of exchanging professional information with the purpose of building up businesses. Like other marketing and networking tools, business cards must be used properly if you are to put your best foot forward in the professional world. We have etiquette tips to ensure you are minding your business manners when you are passing those cards out in a crowd.
Keep it Clean
When you know you may be handing out business cards at a professional event like a trade show, make sure you have a stack of cards that are clean and up to date. That small card is going to make a first impression about both you and your business, and you want it to tell the world you are a confident professional. High quality cards that do not have any stains or folds are a good place to start.
Many individuals are turned off by others at trade shows who simply walk the aisles, slipping business cards into every outstretched hand without saying a word. While business cards can be used as an advertising tool, the idea behind effective marketing is to identify potential clients first. You can't do that unless you take the time to introduce yourself and find out a little about the other person. A little selectivity goes a long way when following good business card etiquette.
Wait Until Asked
Do not offer your card to another individual unless he asks for it specifically. Just because you force your business cards on other people doesn't mean they will use the information on the card to contact you later. However, if a person asks for your card, it means they are interested in subsequent contact. You can also ask for their contact information, which gives you more control over whether that particular lead will be followed up.
Receive Cards Graciously
When someone offers a business card to you, accept it as a gift. This process also gives you the chance to repeat the person's name and make sure you have pronunciation correct before any follow-up contact takes place. You can even make a positive comment about the card to show your interest. The more enthusiastically you receive business cards, the more likely you will be asked to hand over your own.
Write a Note
When someone asks for your business card, jot a quick note on the back before handing it over. The note might refer to your conversation or the reason the person asked for your card in the first place. When the person remembers why he asked for your card, he will be more likely to give you a call to follow up on your initial meeting.
Business cards are still a popular way to network in the professional world today, and proper handling of those cards will make all the difference in how others perceive you. By following proper business card etiquette, you can rest assured that your professional image will shine through in all of your business encounters.