I spent much of last week speaking at a conference, or in hotels, or in airports flying, or with family and friends as we celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday. In other words I met a lot of people. And during that time I gave out about 100 business cards. Why business cards even at holiday events? Because even in this time of social media dominance the low tech business card still rule they bring me customers and success every day. And now with the evolution of the smart phone enabled Quick Response or QR codes the business card is now the gateway to connect instantly with all of my digital media. That’s they are ALWAYS within reach.
While giving out about 100 business cards I only received 20. Why? Because most people either don’t have them (shame on you) or if they do — have terrible ones. However, as you continue your job search, or launch your business or spread the word about your product or services Here are 5 winning strategies for getting more business with business cards.
1. The American Express Business Card: Don’t leave home without them!
Woody Allen said that 90% of life is showing up. So don’t make the biggest mistake that most business card holders do— that is to show up without them. Your business card is your brochure, your image, your information all in a handy, dandy palm sized piece of paper just right for your prospective client’s hands. And know because you forgot to bring them you blew a potential sale, an opportunity to make a great contact, or to get a key job lead. In addition, you now feel uncomfortable because you might or might not get theirs, which is gold in any business or position. Bottom line is: don’t leave home without your business cards. Always carry them with you . . . Everywhere. Keep them in your car, your desk, your briefcase, your workout bag …you never know when you will meet that person who will turn your business around.
2. Vidal Sassoon Business Card: If the Business Card does not look good you don’t look good.
When I hand out my card, I usually get the exclamation, “What a great card!” or “Who did this for you, it’s incredible!” Does this happen to you? It should because like the old Vidal Sasson hair care products ads indicated the look of your business cards is a reflection of you. So if you are not getting complements you need to have your cards made by professionals. If you aren’t creative, you need to hire a creative person ASAP to design a logo and card for you. Finding a creative person to design your card is much easier and cheaper that you may think simply Google business card printers and designers in your area. Or just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can recommend some outfits that can design and print a ‘knock-it-out-of-the-park’ card.
3. The Joe Friday Business Card: Just the Facts
The most important item is your image — the look of your card. What image are you trying to present to your clients? I am a speaker, writer, social media brander and job coach — so no flowers or crazy colors on my card (see mine below). Joe Friday the no nonsense cop played by Jack Webb in the TV show Dragnet would say “just the facts” to encourage witness to give just the basic critical information need to solve the case — not too much or too little. I think the same is true in the business card world. So that is why my business cards while pleasing to the eye are always in the Joe Friday mode: Just the facts here are the 8 facts that every business card must have to be effective.
1. Name of company (logo)
2. Your Name (first & last, no middle name or initial)
3. Title (Optional: I don’t include my title on my card)
4. Phone Number (include all your numbers cell and direct line. Don’t forget the purpose of a business card is for person to contact you)
6. Physical Address (Optional: I don’t include my physical address as I want to drive traffic to my webite)
7. Web Site
8. QR Code (Optional)
4. The Business Card Golden Rule: It’s good to give and it’s good to receive
So many people use business cards as an afterthought. I immediately ask for them within the first few minutes of meeting someone (or I offer my card). Why? It immediately gives me an opportunity to give them a compliment, it allows me to learn more about them, and it reinforces their name in my head so I can remember it. I usually receive the card and hold it with both hands and make a point of pausing for a few seconds and taking the time to really read the card. It can tell you a lot about that person and give you speaking trajectories to ask more questions — “I see you have an office in Hong Kong, do you travel there often?” “I see that your company is a subsidiary of Pixar, what is it like to work with them?” Most people just take the card and shove it into their pocket. Did you know it’s an insult in some countries to shove the card in your pocket and not take the time to read it?
5. The Business Card After Party: The 24 hour Reach out and Touch Policy
The biggest mistake must people make is to have no strategy for keeping in touch after receiving the business card. After getting the card I implement my 24 hour reach out and touch policy. Where I try to reach out to that person with 24 hours of receiving their business card. These are the ways I reach out and touch:
- Phone Call: Follow up call recapping the meeting including follow up actions
- Email: Follow up email recapping the meeting including follow up actions
- Contact Database: Immediately get that person’s information in your contact system
Now let’s get to winning with our business cards, my business cards front and back are listed below. Look forward to connecting with you and doing business with you.
Marben Bland is an accomplished speaker, writer, thought leader and pioneer focused on three interconnected areas: 1. Social media strategies for small and midsize businesses, 2. Talent acquisition optimization tactics for large companies and 3. Career management solutions for job seekers. Marben has worked with a wide range of companies and industries from start-up organizations to Fortune 500 companies including Advanced Micro Devices, PPG Industries, Fiskars Brands, Eaton Corporation, S.C. Johnson, and Sara Lee. He is also spent a decade as an officer in the U.S. Army, serving in Operation Desert Strom. He is the author of two books, The Smart Job Search and The Opportunity of the Unfair Advantage. Today, Marben heads TheMarben Bland Group, an innovative consulting practice housing a collection of specialists dedicated to producing smart social media strategies, clever Talent acquisition optimization tactics and innovative Career management solutions for job seekers.