Business cards are one of the oldest sales tools in the book, dating as far back as 15th century China and 17th century Europe. And even after all this time, business cards remain one of the strongest networking tools a businessperson has in their arsenal.
Statistics show that sales increase 2.5% for every 2,000 business cards handed out. They also claim, “prospects will hold on to a color card 10 times longer than a standard one” (see Tip #3 below for more on design). Bottom line, business cards are a “must have,” and for that reason, your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Atlanta, Georgia have prepared the six tips below.
1. Always keep some business cards with you — You never know when a networking opportunity may spring up. A casual trip to the bank or running some errands could lead to a chance encounter with someone whose business might benefit you or your business. When such chance encounters happen, having a business card on hand makes information exchange seamless, as opposed to worrying about finding something to write your information down on.
2. Exhibit business card etiquette — There is a right way and a wrong way to handle a business card exchange. For starters, if someone hands you theirs, offer them your own. Conversely, when handing out your business card, request the other person’s. When you receive a business card, don’t just bury it in your pocket. Instead, take a few moments to examine it. Perhaps jot something down on the back regarding what you talked about. This shows the other person that you are interested and take them seriously, as you would want to be taken.
3. Pay attention to your card’s design — The look and feel of your business card can say a great deal about you. Cheap, plain business cards that look and feel like they came off of your home printer are not going to leave a lasting impression. On the other hand, gaudy business cards can be too garish and off-putting. You need to strike the right balance between aesthetic appeal and the quality of paper stock you print your cards on. You can also design your business cards to be interactive, such as including a QR code.
4. Incorporate a slogan in your design — A 5-8 word slogan that succinctly describes your business in a catchy or smart way will help your business card stick out. For example, take Target’s slogan, “Expect More. Pay Less.” Just four words sums up the philosophy of Target clearly and concisely. Strong slogans like this add to the effectiveness of your business card and help build brand recognition for you and your business.
5. View your business cards as an active tool — Ordering 1,000 business cards then waiting for prospects to come to you will only prove futile. Business cards are a tool for active networking. Therefore, seek out networking opportunities by checking online and keeping your ear to the ground, then get out to these events and start delivering your business cards with every handshake you make.
6. Don’t forget to follow up — If you received a business card from someone you are interested in doing business with, use the exchange as an reason to conduct a follow-up phone call. If you don’t take initiative, you risk the chance of that prospect forgetting about you. For many, business cards tend to get easily lost among all the paperwork and miscellaneous paraphernalia that adorns their desk. As a result, it might be a long while before they get back to you—if they even do at all.
Even with all the advances in communication the past two decades—mobile phones, text messaging, e-mail, online messengers—classics like the telephone and the business card remain the most recognizable, understood and direct means to connect with a prospect or potential businessperson. For that reason, it’s important you put some time and effort into the design of your cards and maximize their use.
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