Networking can be one of the best and most cost-effective ways to develop new business relationships.
Nothing could be easier than meeting a new person face to face, shaking their hand, and telling them a little bit about your business. Once that little meeting is over, it is customary to exchange business cards so that it is easy to follow up with one another after the event. Fear and trepidation set in once you realize you've come to the networking event without your business cards. Don't worry, it happens to even the best of us in here is an easy to follow set of instructions for exactly what to do if you find yourself at a networking event without your business cards.
In actuality, it doesn't really matter if you've forgotten your business cards as long as you follow up with the people that you meet sometime after the event. The best way to do this is to pick up as many business cards as you can from others at the event and make a solemn promise to do just that. Here's how a typical conversation might go at a networking event when you've forgotten your business cards.
"Hello there, nice to meet you."
"Tell me a bit about what you do…"
At this point, the conversation will ensue, the other person telling you about what they do, you telling what you do. Make sure to ask as many questions as you can pertaining to the things they say so that you can better instill the memory of them after the event. Now, no matter if they offer a business card BEFORE they speak or once they finish, here is what to say:
Other party: "Here is my business card, give me a call or email and we can catch up after the event."
You: "Thanks so much. Unfortunately, I left my office without my business cards, I do apologize. I tell you what, I promise I will follow up though as I truly enjoyed speaking with you."
Simple enough, huh? Just be honest. People forget things all the time, but the mere fact that you are PROMISING to follow up with them is huge. You see, telling someone you will call or email is one thing, but making a PROMISE to do so is much bigger. If you have integrity at all, you owe it to yourself and them to make good on the promise. This will serve as a tiny psychological reminder to make sure you do it.
Aside from the simple verbal exchange above, it is important that you make notes on the backs of the business cards of the folks you have met. This will help you to better remember the conversation for when you do follow up. As far as following up, try to do so within 48 hours. A week or more is too long. Make the people know you really care and what to build a business relationship with them.
There you have it, a simple to way to handle the situation when you forget your business cards at a networking event. One last tip: DON'T FORGET THEM! Put business cards in your car, in your wallet, and in your office. That way, you will always have a supply at hand when you most need them.