Contact information is essential for managing business relationships and communications. When you receive a business card, be sure to keep it somewhere so you can find the information again when you need it. Whether you run your own business or just have a large network of social relationships, by organizing your business cards you will be able to find people faster, which can also make you more money. Here are some ideas for organizing your business cards.
Step 1. Look at the business card as soon as you receive it
Reading a business card is a good way to remember someone's name and associate it with their face. A person's title is usually printed on the business card, so you have more clues as to who they are and what they do.
Step 2. Decide a place to put the business cards you receive
If you bring a diary or bag with you to meetings, make a place for business cards. Or, use a second pocket in your ticket holder to collect the tickets you receive. Whichever place you choose, don't put them in your notes or in your pocket where they'll get lost or washed with your clothes.
Step 3. Organize your contact information on your computer
When you return from a business lunch, trade show, or meeting, immediately put your business cards in a safe place, such as a desk drawer. The ideal is a place where other people cannot get their hands. When you have some time, take all the business cards you have collected and record all the information using programs like Outlook, Excel, Access or even Word.
Step 4. Use a "Clipboard" field or column for each file where you will record your business cards
Write down any information that wasn't on the card: what those people do, what information they can provide or what perspectives they offer, when you met them, and so on.
Step 5. Create a three-level voting system:
in the lead, the best business contacts, then the so-so, finally the only potential business contacts and those you probably won't talk to anymore. You can assign a number to each level: for example category 1 are the best, category 2 are so-so, 3 are the ones you won't talk to anymore, or you could use a traffic light color system: green, yellow and red respectively. Use a system you won't forget to classify your contacts.
Step 6. Organize your contacts the way you need them
You could sort them alphabetically based on surname or based on company name; the city where you met the person in case you travel often; or by category or sector. This way you can just type the information you remember in a search box and get a list of qualified contacts for your search.
Many contact management software can organize contacts according to your needs and can make them easy to find, even if you only remember some of the information. If you can use one of these systems, you can save a lot of archiving time
Step 7. Organize business cards the old fashioned way
Store cards in a rotating filing cabinet or business card holder. You can find business card holders at office supply stores.
- The old way, even if it consists of a plastic container in your desk drawer, can be a good backup of information stored on your computer.
- You will have to decide how to organize your business cards: by name, company, city, etc.
Step 8. Whenever you receive a new business card, write down the name of the place where you met the person on the back of the card, within a few days of meeting
That way you won't forget it. Also write a short note of what you talked about. Then when you contact the person later, you can remind him of where you met and ask him about his children, or whatever you talked about.
Step 9. Finished
- If you get a lot of business cards, look for software to manage them. There are special scanners, with software that automatically read the information written there. These systems can save you a lot of time in manually entering data.
- Get in touch promptly if you have promised something or if someone has seemed interested.
- Don't let business cards pile up without recording information. Type in your information or file your tickets at least once a week before forgetting who you met and why.
- If you need more information about your business contacts in addition to your name and phone number, look for contact and customer information management software systems.