Business Cards, Like a Handshake, Mark The Start of a Relationship | Next-Gen Lead Capture Part III

Part of a weeklong series looking at next-gen lead capture. Read Part I and Part II.

At a mere $20 for a pack of 500, the business card has long been the easiest way to have your professional identity printed on a 3.5 by 2-inch piece of paper. And because it’s so cheap they now get handed out like bingo cards at a nursing home. The problem is, and always has been, the business card is only the beginning, like a handshake, to establishing a relationship. Meanwhile you have a $400 relationship-tracking machine in your pocket.

Business cards have never been productive for large-scale lead retrieval, and it’s not even ideal anymore for small-scale relationship building.  In fact, grabbing a business card alone implies a lack of relationship building. This is a legacy problem because for so long sales and marketing teams have force fed their “lead quota” by collecting one hundred business cards in a fishbowl. It seems nonsensical to label that as a successful event since that contact info could have most likely been found online. Yet, that is the world we created and now must break apart.

Start The Relationship With A Business Card

Capturing leads shouldn’t be like an Easter egg hunt to see which sales team can get the most business cards in their fishbowl – the real success comes with finding the golden leads and controlling the conversation from there. Business cards can and should be the gateway to developing lasting relationships, but it takes more work than just collecting and inputting contact information.

While a handshake and an exchange of business cards is a perfectly acceptable way to start your relationship, you need to utilize technology to further the conversation. Now let’s be clear, by ‘employing technology,’ I don’t mean sending generic follow-ups and offers to every email address you collect. Quite the opposite. The follow-up should be just as personal as the initial interaction.

In comes next-gen lead capture (not only because it’s the name of this series, but it actually works better for sales teams accustomed to the card collecting churn).

Develop The Relationship With Intuitive Technology

Technology is a funny thing. While in some ways it can make communication feel shallower, in other ways it can be the key to building relationships. This is especially true for sales and marketing teams.

Lead capture apps were built knowing that the business card is the first step. After snapping a photo of the card and having the lead information appear on your smartphone, you can then start the personalization by using tags, surveys, and notes.

With apps like Overpass you can use specific indicators to sort leads into categories like Marketing Qualified, Sales Ready, Interested In Learning More About ____, etc. By using tags, notes, and surveys, you are no longer just collecting contact information, but rather compiling in-depth insights to build a lasting relationship. The person whose business card you just collected will now receive a personalized email that meets their exact interests, thus exponentially increasing your chance of controlling the conversation.

Without the initial interaction, technology is useless. You need the business card to build the relationship. And without pairing business cards with an app that understands this balance, they equate to nothing more than a firm handshake and nice gesture.