Posted Saturday, February 5, 2005
Sorry, I Don't Seem to Have a Business Card With Me...
Those could be the "famous last words" of the forgetful entrepreneur.
If you habitually find yourself without a business card, you're habitually losing money; or at least the chance of making money. Your business card, more than any other marketing weapon in your arsenal, is what prospects and colleagues rely upon to remind them why they should do business with you.
Forgetting a business card is a marketing mistake of significant proportions. We're so inundated with advertising messages that most of us learn to tune them out. Yet every time you're asked for a business card, and sheepishly reply that you don't have one with you, you're missing an honest-to-goodness invitation to market to someone.
Worse, leaving your business card behind when you may need it is a social faux pas as well.
Being asked for a business card is a compliment. Not having one with you at that critical moment is subtly offensive. It puts both you and the person requesting the card in an embarrassing situation. And it nonverbally tells your prospect that you're not quite the business person they thought. You're not really serious about your business, or too careless and forgetful to be entrusted with theirs.
If you're determined not to be caught "cardless" at a critical meeting again, here are some tips to help you remember:
Develop a strategy for using business cards to actively promote your business
It may be as simple as deciding to give 5 or 10 cards away every day. It may mean printing labels describing your current promotion, sticking them to the back of your cards, and pinning them to bulletin boards. Whatever! The point is that if you consciously figure out a way to use your business cards to bring in business, you're much less likely to forget them.
Invest in new cards
If you haven't ordered business cards within the past two years, there's a good chance that the information or photo is out of date by now. And if your last order was for 1000 cards and there are still 990 cards left, ask yourself why you haven't been passing them out. If it's because you dislike the cards, pitch them and get business cards you're proud of!
Draft and practice a business card presentation
Unless you're comfortable and confident when handing out your card, you won't do it. Besides, the words and actions that accompany your business card when you give it to someone can really cement a positive first impression.
Invest in a quality business card case, one that you're proud to show off and to use
Business card cases can be conversation starters in and of themselves, since there are so many unusual, classic and artistic choices available. I suggest investing in a few cases; a more professional, elegant case for formal business occasions and a flashy or fun holder for social situations.
Tuck a few business cards everywhere
Your car's glove compartment. Your briefcase. Your gym bag. Your wife's purse. Next to the front door on the table where you keep your keys. Your desk drawer. Your secretary's desk. The pocket of your coat. Your suitcase. Never leave home without them!
Recent advances in online technology allow you design business cards online in your web browser. No special downloads, no hidden costs, easy WYSIWYG design. Choose from thousands of photographic quality backgrounds. Browse one of the web's largest collection of business card networking articles and learn how to make your cards a powerful marketing weapon.
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