If I had to wish for an epitaph on my business headstone it would be “the King of cards” – they have been a business and networking secret of mine for my whole career.
A secret I hope you find value in as I share today.
Many peers pat me on the head saying “oh that’s cute, you are a nice guy Paul and it’s sweet you like to send out cards to our donors ( as a fundraiser ), clients ( as a service professional ) and peers ( as a human professional ). Let me be clear, these people always need a selfish reason to do the right thing. So let’s talk selfish, ROI, WIIFM, whatever:
Cards = Cash. And if Cash is King then Cards are the King of Cash.
In a digital world, sending cards is SO rare, even the Harvard Business Review agrees! Besides showing that you took more time than an email, a Tweet, or even the post conference/ networking event dreaded cold-call style LinkedIn invitation.
Most of all it’s a way to actually increase the return on investment for the time you spend networking. If you entertain ( or if you eat ), you’ll know that making good food isn’t enough, it’s how you present and plate it that matters too! Well if you spent an evening at a networking event, or a whole week at a conference sending a card to show someone they stood out, that you value them, what you talked about, what you do and where to find you is HOW you ensure your time there was well spent.
So here are my four tips to conquor card writing:
1. Stay stocked . I have 50+ cards in my office at all times. A few for sympathy ( I work in legacy philanthropy which intersects with the estate planning world ), many ‘thank you’ cars but the vast bulk are blank cards. Buy in bulk at art or discount stores ( if you’re in Toronto like me, here is a list of some great places to buy cards ).
2. Be ready and make the time. Before a conference I prepare, self-address and hand-stamp over 100 cards. I complete them and mail them before I leave the hotel ( or if I include a picture from the conference, the day I return to the office ). Read this great article on how to write a great note ( I love that it includes making a habit out of writing them and quotes my favourite author on sales skills Michael Port ). If you use a CRM or keep donor/client files remember to photocopy/scan it, code, and keep it on file. This IS a move in your moves-management strategy!
3. Include a business card, every time. Yes, even if someone knows you what if they just moved jobs ( or if you moved jobs ). Yes even if you came back from a conference, they have 100 other cards in their luggage! My secret is these double sided photo stickers. But if you reminded them about business you should be doing in the card, shouldn’t they know how to find you? Right now!
4. Be a Real Human Being ( like Dave says ) – those 1000 cards your department sends out at the holiday season with illegible first names of people your donor/client don’t event know is so 1980’s and impersonal. Business IS personal, so make it specific and yes, authentic. Because as much as I love Jimmy Fallon you don’t want to use his card philosophy!
I hope this has been of value, please, share your suggestions in the comments below or with me on Twitter!
Ps. When watching the video. Replace “job” with anything else you want in life.