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If you are a sales professional, realtor, small business owner or aspiring entrepreneur, you know the importance of networking. Networking can help build a constant stream of business as well as develop a network of referrals for future endeavors.
Every professional should be networking. When I set out on my professional journey, I did just that — I headed over to EventBrite, MeetUp and Facebook to learn about the different networking events to attend.
I’d go to the networking events with the goal of handing out as many business cards as possible. After a few years, I learned about digital business cards and it intrigued me. Cards could be ready within minutes, you could update info within minutes and you’d never run out of cards.
I’ve been using digital business cards for a while now but I recently discovered a new service called Shuffle by Elify.
A little history about me and my challenges with networking:
Prior to using digital business cards, I was networking all wrong. Forget the fact that almost 90% of business cards are tossed within one week of receiving them.
No, that wasn’t my struggle.
I became too reliant on the paper business card.
At networking events, I’d hand over a card and try my hardest to get away as soon as I could.
What was the result? Nothing. None of my previous networking events proved to be successful. Why? I wasn’t leaving a memorable or lasting impression. People couldn’t get to know me; therefore, my card became one of the many tossed in the trash. No real relationships ever formed. Haven’t learned from my mistake, I’d attend another networking event and do the exact same thing. No connections. Wasted time and business cards.
Then there would be the awkward times where I met someone in passing. We talked, felt like there was rapport and I’d hand my business card. Suddenly the mood darkened. It wasn’t a natural progression. Maybe I looked awkward handing it to them but regardless, I never got a call back.
About a year ago, I attended lunch with a realtor, event planner and mortgage officer. Everything was going well. We hit it off. Shared learning experiences. Laughed and even talked about meeting in the future. As soon as we ended lunch, we all exchanged business cards and it just felt so impersonal and cold. Needless to say, we never followed up on our future plans.
I tried all kinds of “creative” ways to get someone to keep my card such as first time customer discount, changing colors to be more bold and even putting my face on the card.
After THOUSANDS of cards stuck in boxes, many were useless as contact information had changed, I decided to try digital business cards.
What happened after switching over to the digital business card?
At first, it pushed me so far outside of my comfort zone, I wanted to crawl in a dark hole and never return. My business wasn’t where I needed it to be so I knew that I had to network. This was an all or nothing decision. I personally challenged myself because that’s just how bad I wanted it.
I actually had to speak to people! No more relying on the physical card as a crutch.
Not only did my conversations become better but they became more effective. Speaking to people allowed me to see if we could truly benefit from connecting. When I was networking before, I handed my business card to anyone willing to accept — without knowing if there was a mutual benefit or if we were even in the same industry!
Over time, I became better at impromptu conversations and developing rapport — learning and listening for cues about potential networking opportunities that could be mutually beneficial. It didn’t matter where I was — grocery store, airport, or networking event.
What’s the difference between the previous digital card app and Shuffle by Elify?
With this new application, it’s customizable but it’s more than just a mobile landing page. Not only can I include pictures and videos to showcase my work but I can send a card, see when they’ve opened, which of my sites they visited and even schedule follow ups! You can include a lead capture form so visitors can leave their contact info and also the option for them to share your digital business card with others.
It’s like the perfect CRM created for your cell phone.
I’ve become a networking on-the-go pro!
Even when I’m not attending networking events, I meet pretty amazing people in my daily routines. Naturally, some situations are so spontaneous that carrying business cards wouldn’t be possible anyway.
For example, last week, I went to the gym. As soon as I walked in and while she was heading off, I bumped into an entrepreneur. I knew that I wanted to connect with her later. She tried to hand me her business card but I was at the gym. I only had my cell phone, keys and headphones. Guess what I did? Yep! I sent her my digital business card.
Current results: everyone that I personally connect with receives my digital business card. The conversations flow more naturally. Because I’ve learned to become more personable, the conversations feel more personal. Therefore, they usually don’t hesitate when I ask for their phone number. Then, I send my digital business card directly to their phone. We now have each other’s number and I can send a quick text.
Potential clients are able to go directly to my online booking site and because everything is in one location, I don’t have to send link to website, link to private Facebook community and links to my social media accounts. Everything is in one place.
I’ve gained a steady source of paying clients and referrals.
- There’s the Discover feature which allows you to connect with other users in the app. You can send private message, exchange business cards, schedule follow ups and even send attachments such as documents, audio files and more.
- The QRDex allows you to store cards from other users and send to your connections. Perfect for providing referrals.
- With Campaigns, you can track traffic to see source of views/leads.
Are you looking to network more effectively and create lasting impressions?
Check out Shuffly by Elify. They allow you to create 10 digital business cards with your subscription which is perfect if you have different networking purposes. I created a card just for this article. Click here to see my personal digital business cards.
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