Top 7 Business Card Fails
If you are in business you have received probably hundreds if not thousands of business cards over the years. Are they important? Yes…and no. For the purpose of using them to find information about someone you have met and attempting to reconnect with, the card has a purpose. Unfortunately, the way to utilize the card has never really been defined. So I am going to help those of us out who are slapping a business card together and thinking it’s just fine. It’s probably lacking and therefore basically useless. Your networking skills are your most important asset. Are you really using them properly?
Recently I was featured in the Wall Street Journal about what to put on a business card.
There are a few things that I see when it comes to business cards that cause me to scratch my head! Here are a few;
- One of the most important things about having a business card is having your email address clearly legible. Please make your email address something an average person can see easily without trying to decipher it. Let’s use say 12 pt font??….larger is better. One hard-to-read letter will throw off the entire address.
- A Fax number? Really? Will this document fax to 1993? Stop putting that on there. If someone really needs your fax number they will ask you at the time they need it. They will not go back to your business card to look it up. Promise
- If you are a business person and want to be seen as legitimate, use your website address for your email. If you don’t have that, go immediately to whoever hosts your website and get a FREE email address associated with your site. Don’t use @comcast, @gmail, or god-for-bid @AOL! Come on!
- Don’t buy the cheapest paper you can find. No, the business card doesn’t sell for you but it will tell a story, and “I am really cheap so I use flimsy paper” is not the story you want to tell.
- Make sure it can be easily scanned. Today most people are scanning cards into a smartphone and if your font is fancy and illegible, it will not scan well. Keep it clean.
- Use both sides of the card. That is real estate that should be used to help identify what you do. Not a dissertation but a few bullets. Quick and easy.
- Don’t laminate the card which will create a slick surface. It’s just not necessary and some people like to take notes on your card. Let them.
Remember something else. Your business card is good to help give out information but it is not a quantity game at a networking event of giving away lots of cards and hoping the phone will ring. One more tip. Please don’t collect cards and start spamming that person just because you have their card. If you have a newsletter, blog, or something they might get find useful then ask them if they would be interested in receiving it.
Use the opportunity to engage in conversation. If someone hands you a business card first. don’t automatically hand yours. Look at it, ask questions about them from the card. Write it down on the card. If you are going to follow back up with them, which I suggest even with a snail mail card, you want to write something you discovered about them while talking.
Today more than ever, your engagement with another business person is so important to build your business. A business card doesn’t replace the connection you make with another person at an event or wherever you are.
Think of your business card as worth $100.00. If it were worth $100.00 would you just hand them out? no. You would engage with someone, have a conversation and see if this might be someone who would be a good strategic alliance for you and you for them, or maybe even a prospect for you. If either of these is true, you will most likely, and should, set up some time together to learn more about each other so you can develop a strategic relationship to give and get referrals. This time will be set up likely right at the time you’ve met with them and put on your calendar. At this point, you will have the information you need.
Your business card does not have that kind of power.