Networking Tips – Just Because You Have My Business Card Does NOT Mean I Want to Be On Your List

business cards stackThis morning I’m seriously re-considering my use of business cards and happily handing them out when people want to connect with me.

Once again I was added to another mailing list because “at some point our paths have crossed.” I promptly unsubscribed.

Yes, I can use a different email address on my business cards, have a VA check that list, come up with multiple formats of cards with and without email, etc. But why should I have to do all that?! Here’s the key lesson: Just because you have my business card does not mean that I’m even in the market for what you sell.

I once had a sales guy I know pretty well tell me that’s what the point of networking and meeting people is… to get their cards, add them to his list, and then they get to learn more about him. My point? No it’s not. It’s about building relationships and honest connecting.

Here’s a better way: You want me to subscribe to your email marketing list? Send me a personal invitation from you telling me where we met and suggesting why, based on our conversation, I might be interested in what you share via email. Include a link to where I can sign up and let me decide for myself. Otherwise, when you’ve added me to your list simply because we crossed paths, you’ve alienated me before I even get a chance to know you and there’s almost nothing you can do at that point to make me want to connect with you. As author Scott Stratten of UnMarketing commented on my Facebook rant about this very topic today: “People need to have opt-in newsletters, not opt-out.”

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4 Comments

  1. Brian Basilico October 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I love how fast this rant turned into a great post!

  2. Felicia Slattery October 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks Brian! I was actually inspired by your Bacon Bits blog with your short ideas, tips, and suggestions. I think this will be the shortest I can write! LOL

  3. Diane October 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Very, very true. Nothing more annoying then appearing on a list that you didn’t sign up for simply because you met the person at a networking event and exchanged business cards. Its still spam unless I ask to be added.

  4. Beverly Monical October 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I can relate to your story Felicia. It has been one year since I was diagnosed with Stage 3 b Lung Cancer. At this moment I am cancer free too. God has blessed us both. I would love to talk very soon.

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