Cultivating Missed Connections

May 22 2013
Steve Winter
Steve Winter

Don’t throw away those old business cards!  They could be worth tens of thousands of dollars!!!

No, this isn’t a telemarketing scam or some annoying internet promotion … rather it’s one of those outrageous realities of business that can actually evolve into new clients.

Don’t throw away those old business cards!  They could be worth tens of thousands of dollars!!!

No, this isn’t a telemarketing scam or some annoying internet promotion … rather it’s one of those outrageous realities of business that can actually evolve into new clients.

If you’re like me, you constantly collect business cards.  They surface from industry functions, networking events, one-on-one encounters and business meetings.  Sometimes you write notes on them to stimulate future action; other times you figure “oh, I’ll remember this person,” and they get filed away … with no reference information other than what appears on the card.  Over time the pile grows ever larger until they amass into a 12-ounce mountain of cardboard.

So, what do you do then? 

You might scan them into your contacts, drop them into a rolodex or even integrate them into your LinkedIn or Facebook accounts, but more often than not, they get stuffed into an empty box which formerly held your own old business cards and find themselves stashed on  a shelf – or even worse - tossed into the bottom of a drawer.

But once in a while, set aside a few moments and give them a look.

You might be surprised at what you find.

Flipping through those cards, I’ve encountered names of people with whom I have meant to engage, companies I’ve wanted to pursue and leads I intended to follow.  But what’s more surprising is that on more than one occasion, cards I collected months (or even years) prior now belong to people with whom I have since established new relationships … providing me with a fresh opportunity to reconnect.  Times changes, scenarios change and (certainly in the case of Brotman|Winter|Fried), overall capacities, capabilities and skill sets change; thereby paving the way for a whole new fresh business pitch opportunity.

Case in point: two weeks ago, I came across the card of a woman I’d met at my monthly networking event.  Scribbled on the card was a note that read “possibly interested in PR.”  Searching my memory banks, I recall reaching out and engaging in a preliminary conversation, only to learn that the time wasn’t right back then for such a conversation.

So I recently reached back out. Lo and behold, we’re meeting in three weeks to discuss her ever-emerging company which has grown and flourished since our initial meeting. Will it amount to anything?  Who knows?  But if I didn’t come across her info in an old discarded stack of business cards, I might never know.

So now, I make it a point to set aside some time, every week, to drill through those cards.  With more than a thousand on the shelves behind me, I may not find anything more valuable than a trip down memory lane, but at the same time, the opposite just might be the case.

There could well be a diamond lurking … somewhere within that pile … just waiting to be discovered.

Comments

I too recall reaching out and

I too recall reaching out and interesting in an exceedingly preliminary oral communication, solely to be told that the time wasn’t right previously for such a oral communication.

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