Do not just network; build relationships
Business cards are falling to the wayside, and your business needs an effective way to keep your contacts organized. There is a bevy of tools available to help you manage your contact list without holding on to hundreds of business cards. Your company will benefit from your new efficient way of handling contacts, from personal business associates you work with on a daily basis to the odd business acquaintance you want to hold on to just in case.
We asked 10 entrepreneurs from YEC to weigh in on the best contact tools to manage your business communications.
1. Your cell phone
“One of the most effective strategies at a networking event is to exchange and enter contact information directly into your phone versus exchanging business cards. Business cards lead to follow-up emails, which can be effective, but when you enter someone’s information into your phone, you can immediately start a text dialogue, one that more naturally leads to follow-up conversation in the days to come.” – Scott Baxter, PlayYourCourse
2. LinkedIn’s direct messaging tool
“After meeting someone new, I will immediately send them a colleague request on LinkedIn. Rather than writing a standard ‘it was nice speaking with you’ message, I will mention how we met, what they do, and an interesting fact or anecdote from our conversation. That way, if they reach out again or I need anything from them in the future, I have a built-in conversation-starter.” – Joe Fairless, Ashcroft Capital and JoeFairless.com
3. Facebook Messenger
“Although this is not an option in all industries, Facebook and their instant messenger can be a great solution. This is what I use the majority of the time, and it allows me to build more personal connections, learn more about people and helps our marketing efforts. I share a lot of business-related content on my Facebook that makes us look good. These prospects will see all of it.” – Karl Kangur, MRR Media
“Evernote offers the ability to take a picture of a business card and sync the information on the card into a personal or professional address book. Through Evernote, you can reliably save contact information on the cloud – without using more trees.” – Adam Mendler, The Veloz Group
“FullContact is the best contact and data cleanup tool on the market. It comes with a business card tool that takes a picture and crowdsources the data entry portion that will sync to your contact list – a method more accurate than traditional card-scanning tools that struggle with graphics and other visual pollution. Often, I hand cards right back and text them a note in real time as a reminder.” – Anthony Johnson, Attorney Group
6. iCloud Contacts or Google Contacts
“I normally store all contact information of people I connect with in my cell phone. Because the phone contacts are synced with iCloud/Google Contacts, there is no threat of losing the information. Moreover, additional contacts are automatically fetched and synced from other messaging apps like Skype. This makes iCloud or Google Contacts a central place for all my connections’ contact information.” – Liam Martin, Time Doctor and Staff.com
“I go to a lot of conferences where everyone still uses business cards as the preferred method of exchanging contact information. My favorite tool to keep them all organized is the CamCard app on my phone. At the end of the night, I’ll go through all the business cards I collected and scan them into the app. It helps organize them by allowing you to sort your contacts into groups.” – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster
“I attend many conferences each year, and business cards remain people’s introduction of choice, even in the tech community. But keeping track of stacks of cards and going through them manually is such a hassle. I’m a big fan of FoxCard. It’s available for Androidand iPhone, and its optical character recognition technology makes saving contact info from cards to your contacts a breeze.” – Thomas Smale, FE International
“Available for both iOS and Android, Haystack is a relatively new app. It allows you to create a fully branded business card for yourself, which you can share via email or text. Perhaps more importantly, Haystack also allows for scans of other folks’ paper business cards, which can then be stored digitally. It’s the best of both worlds!” – Jon Clark, Fuze SEO LLC
10. Calling cards
“Unlike a business card, a calling card simply displays your name and a phone number. Calling cards were a staple of gentlemen until about the 1980s. When you hand out a calling card now, however, it will force the recipient to get online and spend a minute researching you. This will give the new contact a chance to see your well-groomed online presence and will set you apart from the start.” – Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley LLP
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