How to Make People ASK For your Business Card

As a rule, I don’t give out my business card unless someone asks for it. Of course, there are rare exceptions, but normally, if someone doesn’t ask for my card – I don’t give it out.

Let me explain why.

What happens when we give out our business card before someone asks? We announce: This is what I am doing. And maybe even: I want you to buy from me.

By giving out our business card when people don’t ask for it, we put ourselves and our businesses in the spotlight – this might be gratifying for our ego, but it’s not good for our positioning. “Get in touch with me when you need me” is a weak attempt to get someone interested in our product or service. Although most people will politely accept the card, they will seldom – if ever – call.

But that doesn’t mean that you should leave everything to chance. No, no! Think in terms of *earning* the right to be in people’s Rolodex file – this way you will be asked for your business card, which is an entirely different situation.

Now, it DOES takes a bit more effort than simply handing someone your card and saying, “Call me when you need me.” The good news is that as a result of your extra efforts people will also *keep* your card, and maybe even refer to it – instead of trashing it with the others they receive unsolicited.

How to do it?

First of all, strive to become a person others feel attracted to. That’s very simple. It begins with developing a healthy ego, which allows us to put other people in the spotlight instead of ourselves. Another necessary skill is active listening (which has very little to do with a superficial gazing into someone’s eyes and nodding in agreement – although it is a good beginning).

Like it or not, people are much more interested in their own lives than in ours. And they love others who are genuinely interested in their plans, desires, headaches, values, family, hobbies, etc. If you encourage them to talk, you will be amazed at how quickly they will reciprocate and ask: “And what do YOU do?”

Isn’t this a nice prompt for handing them your business card?

There are some ways that might *induce* someone to ASK for your card. My favorite is asking for THEIR card first. You simply say “Gee, this really sounds very interesting – let’s make sure we stay in touch. May I have your business card?”

Usually this prompts them to say “Sure, and may I have one of yours?” It is that simple.

And what if they don’t ask? I do not offer mine.

But guess what? Now, when I have their business card, I also have permission to contact them. And that allows me to take the initiative, so most of the time I immediately follow up with a personal note stating something like:

Dear Jackie,
It was a true pleasure to chat with
you yesterday about…..
I am looking forward to getting to know
you better!

And this time my card will be enclosed in the same envelope. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Jackie is going to call me. It doesn’t mean that she will want to meet with me or do business with me right away – quite the contrary, most of the time it will take a lot more follow-up than that one note. But it IS a pretty good way to begin a relationship, don’t you agree?

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