Never Leave Home Without Your Business Cards



I am a frequent flyer and traveller around Australia and Asia, speaking at conferences and seminars, teaching business owners and sales people about building their business by referral.  There are four ways to build your business, advertising, marketing, cold calling and referral marketing.

Most business owners and sales people I know don’t have the advertising budget of Coles or Woolworth’s to promote their business, nor do they have the where with all to engage in sophisticated marketing campaigns to promote their business.   Most of them rely on good old cold calling or referral marketing to achieve sales.

Here is an amazing fact, cold calling works, for every one hundred people you call three of them will do business with you. The problem that goes with that is how well you handle rejection.  For those three clients you will have to negotiate ninety seven rejections.  I’m not sure how well you handle rejection, however I can think of easier ways to do business.  That is, by referral.

I have successfully used referral marketing to build three businesses over the past thirteen years and consider myself an expert in the technology and processes of referral marketing.

I was booked to speak at an event in Singapore about the “Three Massive Mistakes Business Owners Make that Stop Them Getting Referred”.  I had everything I needed, clothes, computer, complete with PowerPoint presentation, handouts, my passport, hotel booking and even my power adapter, which I’ve left behind more than once before.

I had everything I needed, except…Business Cards!

I searched through my briefcase and suit coat pockets and found about a dozen cards, not nearly enough for the five hundred people expected in the audience at the conference I was speaking at.

In my presentation I talk about the power of creating visibility through exchanging business cards, before you move on to credibility and profitability.  So what do you do when you are don’t have enough or any business cards?  Here’s what I did.  During the many conversations I had I spoke I said something like “I would love to stay in touch with you, I’m sorry I’ve run out of business cards, how about you give me your card and I will email you tomorrow with my details”.

Alternately I asked the person I was speaking to for two of their cards and wrote my contact details on the back of one of their cards and gave it back to them explaining that I had run out of cards.  It wasn’t a complete disaster, even if it was a tad embarrassing.

The next day I made sure I was out of bed early and sent an email to all of the people I had spoken to that day with my details and a short note saying how much I enjoyed meeting them.

It may not have been the best way to connect with people, however it was sure memorable!

© Lindsay Adams 2013.  All rights reserved.

Article written by the Lindsay Adams National Director of the Referral Institue

Lindsay Adams National Director, Referral Institute The Referral Institute is a training and consulting company that specializes in working with business owners and sales people to help them develop referral their marketing vision, plans and goals, before they go to BNI to take action.  Find out more at or email Lindsay directly at 


  1. paul donovan says:

    Great inititive it just goes to show the importance of a simple but very effective tool,the business card.
    Great story

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