May I have your business card?
WHAT! You don’t have one with you? You’ve got to be kidding! Opportunity is staring you in the face and you don’t have a business card with you!
I never ask anyone for their business card unless I feel there is a possibility that I might be of service to them or I feel that there is an opportunity for us to support each other in our networking efforts. I am continually amazed at the people I meet that carry no business cards.
OR… how about the idiot I met recently who said he never carries business cards anymore. When I asked why, he said, “If anyone cares to contact me they can look me up on the Internet.” I just stood there with my mouth open. “So,” I asked, “how do you ever expect anyone to contact you if there is not at least a card with your name on it?” He mumbled some really stupid reason and I moved on to someone else. Business cards are still relevant. Love ’em or hate ’em, business cards are here to stay. They make communication a less daunting task. You can meet someone, exchange cards, and enjoy the conversation rather than wasting time writing down phone numbers, e-mail addresses, Websites, etc.
Being able to hand out a business card does more than guarantee that they have your contact information and even goes beyond making it easy to pass it along when they find someone else who may need your services. Often when I am asked for a card, I give it then ask if there is anyone else they know that might benefit from my services. If so, I will hand them an additional card or two.
Not carrying a few business cards with you is a major faux pas!
“I just ran out,” or “I gave my last card away yesterday,” or “Opps! I forgot to bring any cards,” “I didn’t think I would need any cards today!” or… Whatever!
Opportunity is everywhere… often when you least expect it. It is always better to carry a few business cards with you or at least have a few cards close by if someone asks for one. You never know when you might meet someone who you can help or who can help you. Family or friends social events can often produce unexpected encounters with people. Don’t discount those events. By the way, having a “clean” business card handy can make or break your next business deal. Keep your own cards clean and crisp by using a cardholder. Dirty cards do not make a good first impression.
I rarely go anywhere without have a few business cards with me. I was at a small event recently and after meeting this woman I asked for her card. I saw an immediate possibility that we could help each other, but when I asked I heard, “Oh, I didn’t think I was going to need any cards this morning so I didn’t bring any with me.” Oh, really? I gave her my card and asked her to send me one of hers, but most often that gets forgotten. So… for her, another missed opportunity.
You never know when you are going to meet someone useful to you or you to them. Always be sure you have several business cards with you. I “always” carry business cards with me. If I am out to eat (and leave a nice tip), I will usually leave my card. Several years ago, I did that and about 6 months later, the waitress called me and hired me to perform her Wedding ceremony.
If you are a serious networker you will ALWAYS carry business cards. It’s a reflection of your competence, mindset and demonstrates that you are a pro. Cards are your professional currency. They help build your level of legitimacy and credibility. They are also about your professional image.
Business cards are affordable, portable, versatile, and accepted everywhere. Forget trying to produce your business cards at home using an inkjet printer. They rarely ever put forth a good impression and do you a disservice. Keep all the information in your business card current. If you’ve changed an address or phone number, don’t scratch out the old number and write down the new one by hand; get new business cards! Your business card will be the first impression people receive of your business, so let them convey the best possible one. Carry your cards with you everywhere.
My personal preference is the standard sized business card. For those special people that I refer often I carry a card holder with several of their cards. Odd-shaped business cards are sometimes more difficult to display in the card holder.
Always order more cards than you need. I usually order 2,500 at a time. Your cost per card goes down the more you order. No matter how much you spend on your business cards, they will probably still be the cheapest and most effective piece of marketing collateral that you will ever purchase.
In the Greater Phoenix area, I order my cards from Paper Crazy. Tell Joanie I told you to call (602-234-0184). They have great prices and very high quality. Don’t be afraid to pay extra money for higher quality paper. It’s an easy way to show that you care about quality and it will help you stand out from the crowd.
Carry an ample supply of business cards in:
• Your laptop bag
• Your suit coat pocket
• Your handbag or purse
• Your car
• Your desk drawer
• Your briefcase
• a Business Card Case
• Your backpack
I personally carry a few emergency business cards in my wallet and even more in my car glove compartment. I leave a small stack of cards on a table near my front door to assure that I never leave home without them!
The important thing to keep in mind when using business cards is that they are the first step in the connection process. They help establish familiarity, however, you have to follow-up to turn that meeting into a long-lasting business relationship.
Larry’s Note: A special “Thank you” to The Efficiency Coach, Heather Townsend for inspiring this article!
BONUS Articles about Business Cards: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com/category/business-cards-2/
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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