Business cards have to be one of the cheapest forms of advertising that there is. That is "if" they are distributed. With that said, I've had some business colleagues that hang on to their cards like they're dollar bills. Now me, I'm just the opposite. If you get within arms length of me, you're going to get one of my cards and I'm going to try to get one of yours.
That leads to the point of this article. I recently had a young salesman ask me this question: Is it okay to automatically add somebody to your database when you have their business card?
My return question was: where did you get the card? If you just came across it and never met the person, then my answer is no. But, if it was at a trade show or networking function I would say yes. But even then, I would use the following stipulations: It depends on which database you are taking about.
Let me explain.
1. If it is a potential client, I'll tell them that I'll be sending them an email to confirm information and make sure we have each other's email address. When I send that email I'll ask them if they would like to be included in my customer database to receive important product information from time to time. I include an "Opt In" option in that email.
2. If we are talking about another sales representative from another company and/or another industry, again I'll tell them that I'll be sending them an email to confirm information. When I send that email I'll ask them if they would like to be included in my "Lead Development" database where we can keep our ears open for each other. Again, I include an "Opt In" option.
Both of these options are just good business and if you don't take advantage of the contact... you're missing the boat.