A site visitor was curious and pondered:
…When I meet someone, they will ask for my business card and next thing you know I am getting their newsletter. Shouldn’t they ask first when they ask for my card their intention? Or is it OK for them to sign me up to their newsletter or weekly message? Also by me giving them my card, they request to be LinkedIn to me. I barely know them. Shouldn’t they ask me if they can link me in?
Hmmm…. since it is your business card they are probably assuming your tacit approval to contact you about business matters. Otherwise, why did you give them your card? As far as them asking first — that would be good practice. You may want to get in the habit of stating “Please do not put me on any mailing lists.” Then, hand them your card.
Because you are in receipt of someone’s business card doesn’t not mean you now can add them to your e-mail lists. You should acquire the card holder’s permission to specifically add them to any mailing list you may have. I would never start e-mailing newsletters or notices based on getting a business card alone. The proper approach would be to e-mail new contacts, say how nice it was to meet them and ask if they wouldn’t mind being added to your list. Without this extra courtesy, you risk being labeled a spammer!
LinkedIn is all about business networking and sometimes those you network with at first you don’t know very well. Networking is all about getting to know others better so you can — network. I do not see anything wrong with others making LinkedIn requests to you — that is just a request to add you to their network — by asking first. At that point you have the opportunity to decline.
It could be they found out enough about you and your business to want to know more — and that’s a good thing! I agree, however, that folks should be more discriminating with those they choose to network with rather than just collecting a list of names which is not a focused or effective approach.
Bottom line is business cards and networking requests can lead to new business when used properly — and who couldn’t use more business, right?