Business cards speak volumes about who you are, what you offer and how serious you are at marketing your real estate investing as a business. A school bell rings letting kids know class has started. Your business card is your bell announcing its time to get together too or your are ready to help people solve their problems. The following are some proven tips using business cards to increase your chances of creating and maintaining more business opportunities.
Never leave home without them. Before leaving home, your checklist should be expanded to include business cards, as part of “do I have my wallet/money, house keys, driver’s license'” etc. Any ‘per chance’ meeting is an opportunity to give out a business card. A morning run or a quick trip to the local store could be an opportunity to network in line. Make it a habit to always carry business cards. Give out your card to everyone and their mother!! My kids even have their own supply to pass out. Someone told me they taped their cards inside outhouses when they attend fairs, festivals, concerts and frequently received calls from them. Hey – whatever works!
Insert a business card when mailing bill payments. Bills contain advertisements. Why can’t you advertise your skills or services the same way? My reasoning behind this is inspired by a movie. The movie, entitled “6 Degrees of Separation” points out that we are 6 people away from knowing someone of influence. Eric Horvitz of M Microsoft Research and Jure Leskovec of Carnegie Mellon University analyzed 30 billion conversations among 240 million people using Microsoft Instant Messenger in June 2006. It turned out that the average path length, or degree of separation, among the anonymous users probed was 6.6. You could be 6 people away from knowing the President of the United Sates, your favorite movie star or someone who is in a position to hire your skills or services. Each of us knows someone, who knows someone (X6.6 on average), who we need to know…
Use proper business card etiquette. Whenever you give a business card, ask for a business card. When given a business card, don’t just take it and place it in your pocket. Make the person feel important by looking at their card for a few seconds. You might see something that could be a topic of discussion. Write comments on the card such as date, location and common points of interest. These comments will prove valuable when following up with that person. This also demonstrates a sincere interest in the other person. Then place it in your wallet. This lets them know they reside in a special place with you. “Skill with People” by Les Giblin is a book that expands on this approach. Make people feel important, in order to make yourself important to them.
Be generous. Give business cards out to everyone, including family and friends. Hoarding your business cards only makes your wallet feel full, not your bank account.
Ask for referrals. When giving a business card, people feel more comfortable when you ask; “I would appreciate a referral, if you know anyone that could use my services”. Give them 2 cards.
Maximize every “per chance” meeting. You never know when you might meet someone who can help you. Small social events, like a birthday party your son is going to, could produce unexpected encounters with people you will want to network with. You never know who you might meet
Place yourself at the right place at the right time. Have you ever been to a REI club meeting to find out you were not really given an opportunity to pass out your cards. Volunteering for REI speaking and networking events for big name speakers has been a very successful resource for me to grow my business. Zig Ziglar, one of the most successful sales trainers in the world says “if you help enough people get what they want in life, you will get what you want in life”.
Do consistent follow up. Immediately after a meeting a person who could be part of your REI business, I suggest you “snail mail” a hand written note thanking the person for their time. Insert your business card. Now you’re in the driver’s seat in standing out from other people. If you get no response and were expecting one, do it again. Patience and persistence pays off. . Make it a habit to do this once a week. Remember ‘6 Degrees of Separation’. You just never know. Remember, people open invitation type envelopes faster than any others.