It’s one of the first things we do as business owners. Create our business cards: 10 billion of them according to the Statistics Brain Research Institute. We’re so excited to have them; we give them out to as many people as possible. We’re not only giving them away, We’re collecting them too. Which is why about 88% of them are thrown away.
That leaves a mere 1.2 billion of other people’s business cards that end up somewhere other than our recycle bins. Have you checked your desk drawer lately?
Practically every client I meet has a stack (or several stacks) of business cards stashed in their home or office. “When was the last time you looked at them?” I ask. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe never?”
So why do we keep so many business cards if we don’t ever do anything with them? It’s the same reason why we hold on to lots of stuff, not just business cards. We fear losing it because we might use it or need it…some day. Or we just don’t get around to going through them.
So there they sit, in decision-limbo. Hundreds, even thousands of cards, taking up valuable storage space and most importantly leaving potential business revenue on the table, or in this case in the drawer.
Think about it. If you don’t do anything with that business card, isn’t it just clutter?
Still not convinced? Consider this: The next time you need to hire anyone for anything, where would you go to get a recommendation? I’m guessing it’s not to that stack of dusty cards you’ve kept buried all these years.
There are only three circumstances I would recommend holding on to a business card:
- When you have hired them or expect to in the immediate future
- When you want them to hire you, (or at least refer you) in which case you should have a plan for capturing them in your customer database or for marketing purposes
- When you want to take your first exchange with them to the next step, such as asking them out for coffee or on a date. Seriously!
So here’s my unforgettable tip for what to do with all business cards. For each card you have or have collected, ask yourself:
Do I plan to hire them?
Do I want them to hire (or refer) me?
Do I want to get to know them better?
If you answer no, then let them go.
Just wait until they can’t see you do it. They’ll never know.