Guest Post: What Do I Do With All Those Cards?

Many times I get asked by networkers of all levels of experience, “How do you keep track of all the business cards you get?” I will share how I do that, but this is a warning before you read – my method does NOT make for a tidy desk!

Before we get to the part about organizing my cards, I want to explain that I don’t get or save everyone’s card. If it was just a very brief meeting and I really don’t want to include that person’s contact info in my database, I don’t ask for his or her card. If I am offered one, of course I graciously take it, but do not make any notes on it. Ones that I do want to react to usually get a least one word written on the card to tell me what to do for this person.

When I arrive back at my office, I empty the spot in my purse that I have set aside for important business cards. I then quickly sort through to see what I have to do with them. Those that require me to do some follow up work such as making a connection with someone else in my network, get reacted to immediately. That usually takes anywhere from 5-20 minutes depending on the number of cards and/or connections. After that, the cards go to a special spot on my desk that signifies that they need to be entered into my data base. (By the way, my son, Greg Peters, TriNet360, has found a new Customer Relations Management app called Less Annoying CRM that seems to be fairly easy to use and is only $10/month/user. His next challenge is teaching me how to use it.)

I manually type in the information from the business cards. I have tried various scanning apps to do that work, but I always have to edit and it ends up taking just as much time. Also the actual act of typing the info helps me to think of other ways I might be able to help this person. Right now I use the Gmail/Contacts app for the contacts, but hope the new app will provide a more robust system for follow-up.

After entering the cards, I still take one more step. I connect with each person on LinkedIn. After that, in an attempt to maintain some sort of control over my desk, I throw the card away.

There you have it. Accept cards you want; do what you said you’re going to do; enter them into your system and LinkedIn and the best part, toss them out! My system may not work for you, but perhaps a part of it can make a difference.

Photo by Flickr user rahims

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About Debby Peters

Debby never wanted to be a teacher. That was just not in the plan, but here many years later she actually enjoys the role of trainer. She is known at the tough trainer in CN, demanding excellence from her students. Even though she won’t admit it, she does have a soft side and cares very deeply for her students. Debby is married to Steve Cotner, a private investigator and enjoys having their home be the center for family celebrations. Debby teaches at all the far-flung locations, currently Cleveland.

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