Business cards are such wonderfully creative little marketing products. Most of them, unfortunately, end up in the nearest trash basket. Nobody wants to be bombarded with a big sales pitch. If you meet someone and within two minutes you are promoting your own business or stretching out that business card, your card will more than likely end up in the trash.
Fact is, people do business with people that they feel comfortable with and with whom they feel that they can trust. Start by making the other person you are talking with feel important by asking questions about them. If you are talking to a business owner, ask them for their business card (they may respond later by asking for yours)and make them feel important by showing true, genuine interest in their service or product. If they ask you about your business, instead of saying "I'm a stockbroker", you might say instead, "I help people create financial success". This will leave a far more positive and appealing impression of what you do. Then, once again direct the subject back to them. They will remember the good feeling they had with you.
Next,take their business card and write a nice thank you note letting them know that you enjoyed meeting them. A preprinted card with your picture and business name is a good reminder of who you are. Again, don't make a sales pitch. Personalize your envelope with a big stamp and handwritten lettering. All of this extra effort creates true networking which is far more profitable than throwing thousands of business cards in the trash.
Your business name--and card will more than likely stay in that business owner's desk or file. The next time they are seeking that particular product or service you offer, you have a good chance of getting their business.
If that particular person already uses another company for the type of product or service you offer, good networking habits can still be very beneficial to you. It is true that many people are often already loyal to another company for the products or services that you offer simply because they are a friend, relative, or owe obligations to them. Good networking habits have far greater value for you because although they are often loyal to another company they will usually feel very comfortable referring you to someone else they know who is seeking your particular product or service.
For some more great tips and ideas on successful networking and advertising visit your local library. One of the best sales books available at your local library is "Endless Referrals" by Bob Burg which demonstrates how true networking should be done and many great concepts of successfully marketing your business.
Owner and Author of http://www.Small-Budget-Advertising.com website and newsletter; owner and manager of http://www.OklahomaCityShoppers.com