Your Business Cards I Hope!
I recently heard this story from my friend, Fred. He was standing outside his home assessing the tree damage from a storm the night before, when a “tree man” pulled up. The “tree man” offered Fred his contact information in the event he would like him to perform restorative tree trimming and take away the tree debris. Fred said “great”. The “tree man” ran back to his truck, ripped a piece of paper from a pad, wrote his number down and handed it to Fred. Guess what Fred did with that piece of paper? He crumpled it up into a ball and tossed it into the garbage. Fred thought, if he was a real “tree” guy he would have a business card. The lack of a card stole any professional identity he may have had. Professionals have business cards.
When you are in a business situation and someone asks you “do you have a card?” the worst thing you can say is “oops, sorry I don’t have one”. I am shocked how many times I have heard that. I always have cards in my business card holder in my purse. A smart business person will always have some business cards in their wallet if not a separate business card holder. If you think about it, a business card is one of the most important parts of your marketing. Your card represents you and your business. It shows that you are a real business person, not an amateur.
Why do many business people feel it is not important? Why do some people go to networking events, conferences or business meetings without business cards? Why do some people have outdated cards with new information scribbled over the old stuff? Or they hand you a crumpled, dog eared card. This was the opportunity to showcase their contact information, their brand, their expertise, and they just blew it. My guess is they don’t really understand the value of the business card. So here are a few tips that will hopefully create an awareness that business cards are an important marketing tool.
Tip #1. Putting your card in some one’s hand, affords you a future opportunity for that person to find you when they are ready to buy. Your prospect can read your card and learn more about you. They can check out your website or social media. If you don’t have a card, they will forget about you in a heartbeat. Out of sight, out of mind.
Tip #2. When you meet someone ask for their business card. It shows you are interested in this person. Having coffee with someone and getting their card might one day lead to a great sale. There might be the possibility of a relationship in the future. With their contact information, you can blast off an email next day to strengthen the conversation you had. You may not need their card today, but guess what, someday down the road you may need those cards to build your email list. One of the things I have learned is you must build that list. Collecting business cards are jewels for that.
Now that I have made my point about having business cards, here are some additional tips for what is called business card etiquette.
- Make sure your business cards are up to date.
- Make sure you offer clean cards.
- Have easy access to your cards. No fumbling to the bottom of your purse for your cards.
- Hand your card to someone so they can read the print. Offer it with your right hand like you do a hand shake.
- Always look and make a comment about their card before putting it away. Make that person feel special
Now that you are convinced you need to have business cards, what should go on your card? Here is your opportunity to shine. Your card is about YOU.
Here are some ideas of what should be in your business card design:
- Your logo if you have one.
- If possible, your photo. I heard people are less likely to throw out a card that has a photo on it.
- Your email address and phone number.
- A website or social media site i.e. Facebook Business Page or Linked-In.
- Perhaps a Mission Statement or Quote on the back of the card.
- Make sure it is in readable font size.
- If you read Gillian’s previous blog on QR codes, you may want to consider adding one.
For my last bit of advice, if you already have a card, stop and review it. Or have a friend audit your card. Does it need updating? Does the card fit who you are now? Does it truly represent your business? Can you read your email address without a magnifying glass? If you’re not happy, it’s time to order some new ones.
But remember my first advice: “What’s in Your Wallet?” Make sure your business cards are. Or keep them in a nice business card holder. Keep extras in your briefcase. You can even buy a cover for your mobile phone that has a place for your cards. How cool is that. I have one of those. Keep extras in the glove compartment of the car. Got a brick and mortar business? Keep some on the counter in a nice stand. You just never know when business will present itself. Be ready!