“Let’s clean up the wreckage of the past. Let’s clean up the wreckage. Let’s get rid of all those cards, and leads, and people, and connections that are holding you back. They are weighing you down. You have some misconception that that stack of cards that you have, that portfolio that you have, that box or even the people that you put into your email list that you’re spamming with whatever in your newsletter, we have some misconception that these people are going to do business with us.
Cami, I have cards from an event last month, three months ago, six months ago. I’ve been going to events for 10 years and I still have cards. You’re telling me put my hand on my heart and promise that I will follow up with every card I get. I can’t do it. I can’t do it, Cami, because I get 20, 30, 40 cards in an event.
I was at an event that I did a presentation at. The first time that I did this, put your hand on your heart, state your name, right? There was this woman there. I was doing the creed. She said, “Well, I can’t promise that.” I said, “Why not?” She said, “I get 30 to 40 cards at every event. I can’t possibly follow up with every one of them.” I said, “Thank you so much for helping me make this distinction.” There is a big difference between people that shove a card in your hand. If somebody says, “Here’s my card,” I’ll accept it. I’m not rude. I mean, etiquette says, “Thank you very much.” Right?
Just because they give you card, number one, doesn’t mean that you have to reciprocate and give them one back. If they ask for one, you can give them one or tell them you don’t have any left or whatever that is. If somebody just puts a card in your hand, there is no contract, if you will, that you are going to follow up with them. You didn’t ask for their card. That’s different.
Sharing with this lady, “Okay. Well, if you get 30 or 40 cards, is it because people are just putting them in your hands? Is it because you’re asking for a lot of cards?” She said, “It’s a little bit of both.” If it’s at an event where there’s cards on a the table, she’s going around and grabbing the cards, or one of those events where the little box, the little caddy comes around, you know what I’m talking about, little caddy comes around with all the business cards and you go through. You pick out all the cards.
I said, “Here’s the thing. The creed is about only asking for a business card if you really, really, really want to follow up with them. Why ask for a card if you’re never going to follow up?” I had a guy say one time, “Well, here’s my system. I put these cards in my pocket over here if I’m not real interested in talking to them. Then I will dog-ear the ones that I really want to talk to and I’ll them in my pocket over here.” I always think, “Well, why are you even putting any in this pocket? If you don’t even want to talk to those people again, why are you dragging yourself down with that pocketful of cards?” Only ask for cards from people that you really want to follow up with.
When you get a card, what I’d like to do, when I get a card, is I will take a pen. If it’s possible, if it’s black card or if it’s got gloss on it, you can’t do it, but I like to make notes on it about what we talked about. Maybe we talked about sushi. Maybe we talked about my fabulous shoes. Maybe we talked about their kids going to college, whatever that is, so that when I do follow up with them, I remember something personal about them, and I can make mention of it whether it’s a phone call, or an email, or Facebook, or whatever that is.
Let’s clean up the wreckage of the past. You’ve got these cards. You’ve got these people in your list. You’ve got all these people that you promised to follow up with and you never did. Here show you do it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. What we want to do is we want to take responsibility. We want to take responsibility and clean up our side of the street. It looks like this.
If it’s somebody that’s been a few months, you should make a phone call. Guess what? Your phone was created by god to make a phone call or make a phone call. It’s like that now. Make a phone call. It’s not just for texting, and emailing and Facebook. It’s for actually making a call and talking to another human being. When you call that person up …
I’ll give you an example of what this sounds like. “Hey, Bob. Cami Baker here. I want to apologize. I met you three months ago at a chamber event. I got your business card. I meant to follow up and I dropped the ball. I just want to apologize, and make amends, and have this quick conversation right now.” Guess what Bob always says? What would you say?
I do this in front of my live audiences all the time. When I do this example with someone, I say, “Hey,” and I give that example. The person receiving that statement, that comment always says something like, “Don’t worry about it, Cami. No worries. How are you? That’s okay. I could have called you, too. How’s it been?” If it’s somebody that really knows us really well and we’re calling to say, “Hey, I know it’s been of couple of years. I thought about you on your birthday and at Christmas. Shame on me that I haven’t called.” They might say, “Hey, listen. Don’t worry about it. I’ve seen some pictures on Facebook. How are the kids?” In other words, we want to clean up our side of the street.
The worst thing that we can do is what most people do which is make excuses. I’m sorry … First of all, there’s a difference between saying I’m sorry and I apologize. It may mean the same thing to you in some ways but to actually put it out to the world, put it out to the universe how sorry you are, who wants to be a sorry individual? Let’s stop being sorry. Let’s apologize if we want to take responsibility for something.
We say “I apologize” and just own it. “Hey, listen. I made a promise to you. I said that I’d send you an email with the link to another event. I dropped the ball. I apologize.” That’s way better than, “Hey, listen. I got really busy, and the kids were sick. The dog got hit by a car. The boss is just riding me.” All these excuses people make.
It is so powerful to just own it, take responsibility and move forward. Consciously and subconsciously, people respect someone who just owns it and moves forward. Nobody wants to hear your excuses. Nobody wants to hear how busy you’ve been. Guess what? We’re all busy. Who cares? Nobody wants to hear that the kids were sick, et cetera. Just own it and then move on. If it’s somebody that knows you really well, and you want to talk about the kids, and the husband, and the boss, and all that, that’s great, but just own it in the very beginning. That’s how we clean up the wreckage of the past.
There was a point in my business career where I was actually going back and calling people from years ago, even from high school or something like that. It’s just a matter of get the pink elephant out of the room. Let’s not pretend that it doesn’t exist. If we’re calling somebody and it’s been five years or 10 years, then we don’t want to pretend like there’s not any weird awkwardness there. We’re just going to throw it out there. “Hey, Mary. My god, it’s been 10 year. I hope you’re well. I want to apologize. I told you I would call you on the anniversary of our deal. I told you that I’d stop by and see you, and I totally dropped the ball. I apologize.” That’s how you can clean up the wreckage of the past, so that you can move forward powerfully as a professional, productive, profitable networker and net player. Let’s be a player. Let’s be a net player. Let’s play our way to success by first getting rid of the baggage and moving forward.”