What has your business card done for you lately?
Success in business often depends heavily on a steady stream of new contacts. Business cards are affordable, portable and readily accepted worldwide. People you meet may or may not be ready to accept an audio or videotape from you about your opportunity, but they’ll likely accept a business card. If you’re using your cards merely as a convenient way to leave your name and contact information with a prospect (or if you’re not using them at all) you’re wasting what is arguably the most versatile weapon in your marketing arsenal.
Today, a business card can be an ad … a mini-brochure … a coupon … a discount card … even a phone card or CD-rom presentation. Very often, your business card will determine what your prospect remembers about you after your initial meeting … or if your prospect remembers you at all!
Your business card should be legible, informative, attractive, and memorable, and reflect your unique business identity and purpose. Is your card poorly designed, hard to read, or just plain boring? Has it been a while since you’ve handed one out? You may want to pull out your own card now, and examine it critically as you read this article.
Maximizing the functionality of your business card begins at the design stage, and any reputable printer you contact should be able to guide you about the “basics” (card stock, style, type size, color, and fonts). Your business card, first and foremost, must be legible, with easy-to-read fonts in a size large enough (not less than 10-point) for the “bifocal crowd” to read. When designating your contact information, include your fax number, email address and web URL, if appropriate. However, be careful about overcrowding your card, which is the most common mistake people make. The truly essential information is your name, company name, and your phone number (which should be in bold text, if there are other numbers on the card.)
Note: You might want to consider creating a business card that does NOT include your company name, or any indication that you’re in MLM. As you well know, many prospects are initially wary of this industry.
Many of the other attention-getting ways to put your business card to work, too, begin at the design stage. This is where you can add color, modify the shape, print on the back of the card and use humor to make your cards more memorable. Ask your printer about printing vertically, adding a photo of you (or your product), or printing complementary information on the back of your card (your USP, guarantee, a testimonial or two, meeting times/locations, et cetera). A very effective strategy is to use fold-over cards to create mini-brochures. You put your customary contact information on the front and back of the folded card, and use the inside to describe your products and primary benefits.
Designing a completely new and improved business card, however, is not always possible. Many network marketers are restricted to the use of company-designed cards, or simply cannot afford to replace their existing card supply. Fortunately, the way you
present your business card has far more to do with the sales you generate than the card design itself. Offering your card with both hands, for example, is a simple, no-cost strategy that still creates an enormous psychological impact.
You’ll find there are literally dozens of ways to prospect with your business cards, if you remain alert to the possibilities. Of course, not all of them are appropriate for every person, every business, or every situation. (Very few people are more annoying, for example, than the pushy fellow who thrusts his card in your face while you’re eating.) Here are a few ideas to get you started:
• Consider exchanging cards with like-minded entrepreneurs through business networking groups. (Not sure how to start one? Craig Tucker and Tom Schreiter describe how to operate a breakfast club in their product, available from Upline.)
• Introduce yourself with your card. Hand your card to the receptionist at the doctor’s office, the hostess at the restaurant, or the technician at the auto repair shop.
• Include your card with all correspondence. Enclose your card when you return rented goods … everything from tools to videotapes to automobiles (especially if it’s a luxury model!)
• Sign your name or write a brief message (“Nice to meet you!” or “Best wishes!”) on the front of your card. Turn your card into a coupon by writing “10% off” or “Free money-making report!” or something similar on it and redeem it upon presentation. In fact, anything you can do to personalize your card is beneficial.
• Even if you haven’t printed cards with information on the back, you can do so later by using address labels (the 1” by 2 5/8” size works well). You can use the label to generate interest (e.g. “I believe you have what it takes to succeed in my business. When you’re ready to make a career change, call me at this toll-free number.”)
• If you can’t seem to find a suitable moment to give your card to someone you feel could be a great prospect, ask for his or her card. (In fact, ask for two or three. Tell them you want extras to distribute to people you know.) Odds are, they’ll ask for your card in return.
In addition, what you do with cards you receive from others will also greatly influence your success. How would you feel about doing business with someone who didn’t even glance at your card, but just crammed it into their pants pocket or crowded purse? Here are some tips on what to do with the cards you get:
• Treat them with respect. Take a second look at them and put them away carefully in an attractive holder.
• Jot notes on the back of cards you’re given, such as date, event, common interests, physical characteristics of the giver, type of information you need to send, and so on. Do this right away, before you forget. (When you want to be discreet about writing notes on the back of newly acquired business cards, excuse yourself to go to the restroom. Lock yourself in a stall and write!)
• Rate prospects “A”, “B” or “C”, with “A” being a hot prospect and “C” a lukewarm lead. Write the rating on the back of their card.
• Develop a system for carrying and collecting business cards, and file them the way you remember them (by company name, person’s name, or industry.)
• Create goodwill by keeping a supply of your best customer’s and associate’s cards. Attach a label to the back that reads “Referred by (your name/your company).” Give them to likely customers. They’ll appreciate the referral, and you’ll be remembered as a friendly and helpful contact … the type of person they’d want to be in business with.