Pick a Card, Any Card
Business cards are simple enough—wouldn’t you think? Print them up, hand them out—that’s all there is to using them, right? Actually there’s much more to utilizing your business cards so they can make money for you. So says Bob Popyk (www.bobpopyk.com), author of Here’s My Card; How to Network Using Your Business Card to Actually Create More Business, (ISBN 1-58063-113-4/www.Macmillan.com).
While the book isn’t a new release, (it was printed in 2000), it is a very helpful volume that anyone who owns a business or works in a one should read. Business cards are one of the first impressions made upon a new client, prospect, or business partner—especially when sent along with materials—not handed out in a face to face meeting.
In Here’s My Card, Popyk offers a multitude of suggestions on how you can network with your business cards. On certain occasions he even suggests not handing someone your card—or taking it back out of his/her hand. He also suggests easy systems that you can use, to get the most use out of the cards you do receive in the course of doing business.
So much of the book is practical advice that everyone should know—and while I regularly followed many of the tips before reading the book, I also learned a few new things that I am now implementing. The author also discusses what should and shouldn’t be on a business card. Remember comedian George Carlin’s 7 words you can’t say on TV? Well, none of them belong on your business cards.
One of the great suggestions provided by Popyk that you can use to impress a business contact is, if you see a news item in a trade paper or journal, cut it out and paperclip it to an extra business card, along with a note letting the recipient know you saw the great news about them and thought they might like an extra copy.
There are also many creative ways you can use your business cards, from creating special cards that tell the recipient they won something, to using promotional items as a business card. Paper isn’t the only substrate that can be used for business cards either. If it suits your type of business, think about plastic, leather, odd sizes, or incorporate additional languages such as Japanese or Braille. All of these variations can put you in the spotlight where your customers or business partners will remember you because of the impression your business cards helped you make. Likewise there are many things that you should never do—things that will cause those doing business with you to remember you in a bad light. Such things include handing out a bent or smudged business card, and crossing information out and handwriting in new information because you didn’t go through the trouble to have new business cards made up.
The way I figure it—if reading “Here’s My Card” gets you even one client or helps you make one sale, then it was well worth the cost of the book.