In the technologically inspired world we live in, it is only logical to wonder if your business cards might be becoming obsolete. Yet I can assure you they are still a very important part of your business tool box.
Here are some examples of what business cards CAN do for you:
Finalize a connection – You should end every meeting with an exchange of cards, whether they ask or not. It shows that you are professional and committed to using the exchange as the beginning of a meaningful business relationship. Don’t be shy here. Hand over your card proudly – in fact give two. Why not? You can easily design and order cards online (for often less than $20). Keep them on hand at all times, in your pocket, purse, wallet car and so on. Introduce yourself, have a great conversation and end with your cards. Never use them in place of an introduction; remember: you want them to remember you, not the card.
Save You Time – If you are looking to meet someone who might not have much disposable time, cards can allow you to spend your time saying only the most important facts. Walk up with confidence and explain who you are and why your business would be of interest to them. Respect their time restraints and end with “I’d love to talk when you have more time, here is my card,” then ask for theirs in return. It is as easy as that and can be just that quick.
Give You Credibility – Writing your number on a scrap of paper still works – but it looks unprofessional plain and simple. It doesn’t matter if your business is big or small, having a real business card proves that you take yourself and your business seriously. Your cards represent you in your absence, so make sure they look nice and let your personality shine through.
Disclaimer: of course if you don’t have cards on hand, don’t let the connection die. Putting your name on scratch paper is better than giving up on the lead all together. And as long as you have made a good impression, they should understand.
So what DON’T your cards do?
Replace your sales pitch – Your pitch always needs to be excellent. Know your material or product and never plan to let your business cards do the talking for you. Cards are meant to represent you after you’re gone. It’s up to you to make a good impression in order for someone to what to follow up.
Say it all – Your cards should be clean and non-distracting. They should include your name, logo, contact information and a quick slogan. Don’t overdo it. Putting too much on your card could overwhelm the reader and distract from your mission – to connect at a later time. It should not be a tiny, hand-held advertisement.
Ensure Future Contact – As personable as you are, there is obviously no guarantee that after changing hands your card will be safely stored, remembered, and used. If you make a valuable connection with someone, make sure you get his or her card, too. Don’t be afraid to use it. Shoot them a follow up email to get your name in front of them one more time.
So all in all, business cards are still a very valuable part of your business.
While they are not meant to make connections or sell for you, they certainly can help you keep in contact with important people when used properly. Remember, business cards will never be a replacement for knowing your product and mastering your sales pitch. Once you understand these points, you will see that your cards can play a really important role in networking. Remember to always leave a good impression, have a professional looking card and pass them out like you mean business!
This article was written by Zack Miller. Zack is an entrepreneur, author and television/internet personality. He has over two decades of business experience in starting, investing, advising, and mentoring business. Zack is the founder of Hatch, a company that creates the ecosystem for entrepreneurs to thrive by building platforms, programs, events, and courses designed for early stage and small businesses. For more great information check out his site at HERE.