I’ve Got All These Business Cards…Now What?

By Megan Boulter, Marketing Coordinator

We live in a digital age where technology is constantly changing how we interact with professionals. One thing that hasn’t changed much is the use of the paper business card. Depending on the sources, you can find the use of business cards, in some form or another, dating clear back to the 15th century! Nowadays, you still find professionals everywhere using the business card as a first introduction icebreaker and as a contact information tool.

But let’s face it – all of us could be a little better when it comes to business cards and what we do with them. When you receive a business card, sometimes you look at it, sometimes you don’t, and sometimes it goes straight into your wallet, only to be creased, torn, discolored or never seen again. All too often, business cards end up in a dusty pile on your desk, only to be tossed out after a couple weeks or months. You may have forgotten to follow up with an important someone and now it has been ‘too long’ and is considered a ‘lost cause’.  If you are guilty of any of these things (or all of them!), you’re not alone. In fact, according to Statistic Brain*, 88% of business cards handed out will be tossed within a week of receiving them.

But what if I told you things could be different, better even? What if you could create a more personal experience and capture information effectively, therefore maximizing your conference and networking event return on investment (ROI)? Sounds good, right? Here are some helpful habits to create.

  • Look at the card

This may seem like common sense, but oftentimes business cards are exchanged and then shoved straight into a pocket or wallet without even a glance.

  • Actually read the card

It sounds crazy, but take time to briefly read the card when you receive it. You will have a greater chance of remembering the person and their information. It also shows the recipient that you are taking an interest in them rather than just collecting their business card.

  • Write notes

It’s no surprise that note taking helps us remember fine details. After you meet someone, use their business card to jot down some notes shortly after you part ways. What conference did you meet at? Is this a warm lead or an industry contact? Do you have similar hobbies or another personal similarity? Don’t expect yourself to remember everything – write something memorable that will help jog your memory.

  • Make the time

After the networking event, set aside time to input the business card data and notes. Make this a habit.

  • Get organized

Gone are the ages of desktop rolodexes and scrapbook sheets for business cards! Your smart phone has access to hundreds of apps that can help organize business cards. And the best part is the apps are typically free or less than $10. Some apps can even connect directly to your company’s customer relationship management (CRM) software. How cool is that?

  • Follow up

Feel proud that you have made it this far! Following up is key and is where you will find the real conference ROI. Follow up within 48 hours of the event.  A phone call, e-mail, or handwritten note is even better. Keep the message short and to the point. Try and work in a personal tidbit or hobby that was unique to that person. Invite them for coffee or reach out to them next time you are in their office area.

Even though today’s technology provides many efficient ways to share information, I have a feeling that business cards won’t be going away anytime soon. It’s important that you use business cards to your advantage in order to gain a competitive edge and leverage opportunities.



7257 GFS-4/3/2017

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How Fostering Relationships Can Add To Your Value Proposition

By Rom Beneche, CPA, Vice President, Business Development

We’ve all heard the old adage that “people do business with people they like.” I am a strong believer that relationships in business are important. I can confidently say that the relationships I have built over the last 17+ years in the alternative investment industry have greatly contributed to my career success, and I will prove it to you.

I spent the majority of my career as an accountant, and became a business development professional four years ago. When I made the transition from accountant to a business development professional, I had a choice to make: how was I going to create a healthy and sustainable pipeline? I could either spend the majority of my time sending out prospecting emails and making cold calls, or I could get out in the vast alternative investments universe and make some friends. I chose the latter and I am very thankful that I did. I spent months meeting with some of the best and brightest service providers in the industry. I took time to learn about every single aspect of their respective businesses and their areas of expertise. When meeting with these professionals, I wanted to come away with a great understanding of what they could offer to the prospects I would be selling to. I wanted to create a value proposition that would enable my prospects to have a first class operational infrastructure.

The result of my interactions with multiple other service providers was that I was able to create an impressive toolbox of services that I could offer to my prospects as they navigated their way through the sometimes overwhelming fund launch process. In my toolbox are services offered by a network of trusted professionals in the following areas:

  • Legal
  • Audit
  • Prime Brokerage
  • Custody
  • Compliance
  • Third Party Marketing
  • Real Estate
  • Pitch Book Design
  • Banking
  • Technology Infrastructure
  • Cybersecurity
  • Payroll and HR Services
  • Currency Hedging Strategies
  • Lead Generation Databases

I have a rolodex full of professionals that can provide the aforementioned services for any given strategy and size of fund. So, how did I build such a large network of trusted professionals? Well first of all, I think that I have personally kept Starbucks, Gregory’s Coffee, and Le Pain Quotidian (AKA, LPQ) in business with all the coffee meetings I have attended. Besides becoming a coffee connoisseur I would suggest the following.

Find a connector within your industry

Find someone who is well connected and who has influence in the industry, and simply ask them who else they suggest you connect with. I was lucky because my connector took the time to personally send an introductory email to multiple contacts within the industry, which provided a great start to my rolodex formation.

Get out of the office and meet people

Don’t get me wrong, prospecting via the traditional methods, such as calling and emailing is absolutely necessary, but there should be a balance. Get out of the office and meet the people suggested by your connector. I mentioned coffee earlier because I like to meet for no longer than 30 minutes in a relaxed environment for two reasons:

  1. People are busy, so respect their time. If synergies exist between your respective organizations, book lunch for a follow up, more in-depth conversation.
  2. I like informal introductory meetings outside of the office. Let’s talk about life, goals, family, and business. Yes, in that order.

Your competition is not thy enemy

You will be surprised how collaborative you can be with a competitor. There may be a potential prospect that may not meet the profile you are looking for and vice versa for your competitor. I have received referrals from competitors that lead to great connections and valued clients. Don’t run away when you see a competitor at a conference or networking event, be cordial and connect.

Become a connector 

Come full circle and become a connector yourself. Work diligently to connect people and find out how you can help their businesses. Refer, refer, and refer. It is very important to reciprocate any referrals that come your way. Create a network of sharing. I will go out of my way to help a fellow professional connect with the right individual in their pursuit of building their own toolbox that they can use to add value.

I can honestly say that I feel fully equipped to provide value and guidance for every area of the operational process. The great news is that I have also made valuable connections with some of the most professional and intelligent individuals in the alternative investment industry.