How many real estate business cards did you hand out today?Hopefully, a whole handful, but I’ve known agents who guarded those cards like they were gold – they’d only give one away if someone specifically asked for it! Really, I know agents who can make a box of 250 cards last a year or more. (They cost money, you know!)Instead, you should be handing them to everyone you interact with during the day – even if you’ve given them one before. If they ask why, tell them it’s so they’ll have one handy when they want to give your name to someone. That’s a subtle request for referrals and just might make people realize that you do appreciate it when they tell others about you. (When they do refer someone to you, remember to say Thank You!)Photographs: It’s become common practice in real estate now, so maybe I don’t need to remind anyone, but be SURE to include a good picture of yourself.Many of the people you talk with in your day to day travels either don’t even know your name until you hand them your card, or won’t remember your name later. But if your picture is there, they’ll remember your face. More importantly, when they see you smiling at them, they’ll remember that they liked you!I’m talking about the waitress who brought your lunch or the checker at the grocery store – you might visit with them every time you go in, but do you introduce yourself by name?Real estate is a unique business. While people “should” choose you for your experience and expertise, often they choose you on feelings alone. So smile, be pleasant, and cause people to get a good feeling when they see your face on a business card.The picture on your card is also important when you attend networking events… Think about how many people you might meet in a single day, and how little time you have to actually get acquainted with any of them. How can you keep track of which of them impressed you as someone you might want to do business with?When you hear 50 or 100 names you have to have a darned good memory to remember what you thought about each of those people when you met them. But seeing their faces on a card will cause you to recall how you felt about them. You might see one face and think “She was sure friendly and informative,” while another face will cause you to think “Boy was he an arrogant jerk!”So hand out your card with a really good likeness of yourself (not some glamour photo!) – so other people can think “That’s someone I want to do business with” every time they come across the card.Be sure to actually use the cards you get at those events Those cards can expand your sphere of influence! When you get home, put them in your contact database and send them a note within a day or two. If you can remember something you talked about, mention it – so they’ll remember you.You may have written a note on their card reminding yourself that you offered to send something, and if you did, do it right away.Maybe you got permission to put them on your newsletter list. If so, do it. If not, write them and offer to put them on the list. Send a sample so they’ll know your newsletter will be of value to them.And then, provided you were favorably impressed by the person, make an effort to send a referral their way within the next few weeks.here’s no better way to ask for referrals (and get them) than to be the first to give one.