Some people collect stamps, or figurines, or sports memorabilia. Me? I collect business cards. I didn’t really start this collection intentionally. It began when I was newby entrepreneur.
A little back story
I was a marketing coach. One of the products I was a big advocate of (and still am!) is Send Out Cards. It became one of the main tools I recommended to clients. I started networking and meeting lots of other self-employed people, service based professionals, sales people – you name it. All of them needed Send Out Cards (whether they knew it or not).
So I would come home with their business cards and try to follow up immediately. If there was a physical address, I’d send them a greeting card. If not, I would send an email or give them a call. But as time went by, I would fall behind on the follow up. So I’d save the card in a pile of “to be followed up with” cards. That pile kept growing. Eventually, I thought I should throw them out. What’s the point?
Then I was listening to one the weekly calls hosted by Jordan Adler, a top distributor with Send Out Cards. He was talking about the value of a business card. How much does a customer mean to you? If someone does business with you, how much would you make? He equated that with the value of the business card. The call was encouraging us to stay on top of the follow up. But for me, something stuck.
And I became unable to throw out a business card.
The idea is planted
Over the years, I did get a little better about transferring the info into a database. THEN I could throw the business card out. But sometimes – even then I had to hold on. Eventually, the pile of cards became a drawer of cards. Then the drawer of cards became a small box. Then the small box became a bigger box.
Until I was left with big box of business cards
A big box that did absolutely nothing but move from house to house with me. Until the last time I moved, and I’d had enough. I was literally walking this box out to the trash when I stopped. It’s hard to let go of something that has taken a decade to accumulate er, collect.
Something inside of me knew that this box could still have value. But as what?
I turned around and walked back to my home office that I was in the process of packing up. Maybe I could make an art project out of the business cards. Or maybe I’d finally break down and buy one of those business card scanners and get them all input at once. I really didn’t know what I was going to do with this box of cards, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something about to happen here.
So I committed to figuring out what to do with them before the final move day. If I had no good ideas, into the trash they’d go.
As I was contemplating it, I couldn’t help but wonder about the people that each business card represented. What were they up to today? Were they in the same careers, with the same companies, even in the same industries? That’s when it hit me – I needed to find out.
I needed to try to get in touch with each of these people
The idea started to kick around in my mind, and it finally all came together.
The Card Everyone project was born
Here’s how it works:
I will go through this box of business cards and try to connect with each person. I figure that the emails and other information will probably be obsolete by now, but most people keep one thing the same whenever they switch things up in their careers: their cell phone numbers.
So I’m going to have to call. Yep, pick up the phone and call.
I know that most people have a fear of the making the call. Especially the older the contact, the less likely someone is to try to connect. We all fear the stale database.
But I couldn’t help but wonder, just how stale does a lead need to be before its dead. Really, isn’t it possible to resuscitate any contact into an active member of your database? Can’t business still be done with someone, even if you haven’t spoken in over 10 years?
I figured it’s time to find out.
We’ll collect the data
Let’s answer these questions and more!
Of course, I’m only human. This whole thing has me feeling a little…exposed. There’s some fear inside of me, and lots of what-if’s that have me wanting to scrap the whole thing. Maybe I should just use them to decoupage a coffee table and be done with it.
But no, that’s how people stay broke. That’s how businesses stay stagnant. That’s how sales people fail.
By foregoing the follow-up.
I realized that this would make an interesting experiment. I had planned to make the calls, and eventually share the data I collect.
But wouldn’t it be even more fun to join in the action? That’s when I decided to vlog the experience.
Hey, I know! Let me take the most uncomfortable follow up situation and do it publically!
After all, it will be way more fun to do this together. Because I KNOW I’ll have successes along the way. And I am equally confident that I’ll have failures. All of which are learning experiences.
Over the years, I’ve coached hundreds of people. Follow up is something that I’ve coached successfully – and it’s also something I’ve struggled with myself. So it seems natural that I’ll be holding myself accountable to all of you by committing to share my experiences with you.
Anyway, I’m glad you’re here with me. If you’re still reading, then I know you’re all in for learning great follow up. Either that, or you’re all in to watch me make a fool of myself. Either way.
Welcome to the Card Everyone Project.