As I mentioned in my tweets, I was a speaker on a panel at Purdue. Wonderful program that connected minority and women-owned businesses with purchasing managers from Central and West-Central Indiana. Sure enough, after having dozens of business cards pressed into my hands (and passing out my share to people I'd like to stay in contact with), it's started: The unsolicited subscriptions to email newsletters.
In the old economy (pre-AOL/Compuserve/Netscape of the early 1990's), it wasn't inconceivable to get a paper and ink newsletter when someone got your business card. Back then in the pre-Can SPAM Act days, all one had to get was an address (which they could find in the phone book) and they were off to the races. Now, Can SPAM Act or no, people assume that if you give up that email address, you're asking--begging--to be added to their email list. Better yet, the really industrious ones think that selling their email mailing lists is what Martha Stewart would call "a good thing."
It isn't. If I get one of these, I get 10 and they don't just magically disappear by force of will.
I've maintained that networking (more aptly discussed as "prospecting with people who are uninterested in buying") as we've come to know it is such a bad idea. I routinely remove myself from those mailing lists...and toss the card of the offending biz person.
Better would be to ask how the person who gave out the card wants to be interacted with and then writing that on the back of the card. The chances of deepeming a relationshipo through relationship-appropriate communication is enhanced.
'If You Didn't Want My Newsletter, Why'd You Give Me Your Biz Card?"
Glad you asked. I thought you could keep it on file in case you met someone who could benefit from my services (or your associates, mine), that we could consider getting together to learn more about each others' businesses, that we might get together for tea to strategize ways in which we could both win (like a joint venture or other collaborative opportunity), that you might be interested in the free items on my website, that you might want to listen to my podcast and possibly appear on one, that you might use the biz card as a book mark...
Being added to your SPAM list was the last thing on my mind.
(See? That wasn't too bad, was it?)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008