MAKING CONTACTS collects business cards at trade shows and makes them searchable online. They have 210,000 of them currently and thousands more each month. You can search by market, industry, tradeshow, title, location, etc. The database includes sales and marketing people, CEOs, engineers, etc. The CardBrowser team started in 2007, attending 175 events. Now they visit more than 300 a year. The service costs $3500, which we think is more than a tad expensive, but might be worth it for sales.

Bob says that back when he went to all the high-tech trade shows, he started collecting cards just from people he thought might be useful to call later on. After narrowing them down to a database of only 6,000 “significant” contacts, he threw them all out. Keeping them was pointless because six months later they all worked for somebody else.

(Sherlock Holmes’ business card, by the way, read simply: “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective.” No address.)

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