Tear up your business card. That may offend you, but less than one in 500 is worth the ink and paper it's printed on. This probably includes you.
"So what," you say. "It's just my business card." Yeah, you're right. It's just your image. Just your identity. Just a reflection of you and your company, your product, your service. No big deal!?
Baron Hanson, Head Buckaroo (best title I ever saw on a card) of FlexCorp, designs and manufactures business cards. Extra, extra ordinary business cards. FlexCorp manufactures clear plastic, paper, metal, and wood business cards. Cards that are designed to reflect the image and identity of the giver – and impact the receiver. His cards have also impacted his wallet.
Hanson started a one shoestring operation four years ago, and this year sales will top six hundred thousand buckaroos.
Hanson and I collaborated on a list of advantages, opportunities, and situations created with a great business card. Here's the top ten (10.5) list for your perusal.
1. It's a reflection of you. It shows you've taken the time to market and position yourself. It suggests your company has a leadership position. It suggests you're a leader.
2a. It speaks for you. It says, "We're someone special," before you ever say a word.
2b. It speaks about you. It's a sample of the kind of work your company produces. Great card, great work. Ordinary card, ordinary work. Crappy card, crappy work.
3. It sets the right tone. If you give your card at a networking event or on an appointment and get a "nice card" comment, it sets the tone for a positive discussion or meeting.
4. It's the most potent form of lasting advertising you've got. A good card is kept, shown to others, and is a reinforcement to the claims of your other advertising.
5. You get multiple impressions for cheap. If you have 10 employees who use 1,000 cards a year (4 a day), that's 10,000 business impressions a year. If your card is good enough to be re-shown to others, the number of impressions could multiply times five. WOW!
6. Your card will be saved. Not every card you give results in an immediate sale. If your card is great, people can't bring themselves to throw it away. It will stay around a desk or drawer until the day it's finally USED.
7. It's victory at "hand to hand" combat. The right card captures attention, disrupts competition, and wins the battle for attention and respect.
8. It's like getting married. A spouse will bring you 90% of life's joy or 90% of life's misery -- depending on selection -- same with business cards.
9. It's a competitive advantage. Especially when two cards (yours and your competitors) are being fondled to make one decision.
10. It's identity and image. Your corporate identity is how you want to be reflected in the real world. It's your image. What's that worth?
10.5 It's your corporate and personal signature. It makes a statement. It sends a message. Are you proud to offer it?
Here are a few examples of real world types of business cards that make a creative difference.
* A card card. Richard Herd, president of Continental Advertising, has his on the front side of a deck of cards. He's used them for the past 5 years. His business has grown 2,000% -- coincidence?
* A bland card with a twist. Take your ugly card and create better - by adding to it. Phil Raymond, agency manager of The Financial Group in Charlotte, has an insurance and investment sales business. Raymond has laminated his (bland) card with two postage stamps on the back - a 10¢ (1975) stamp and a 32¢ (1995) stamp. A creative way to show how costs go up over a 20-year period of time. His objective is to get people to think about what might happen to their investments 20 years from now.
* A conceptual card. A transparent card. A wooden card. Baron Hanson (see above) has created wonderful business cards for himself and his customers using a variety of materials that include translucent plastic, wood and metal. He tries to make cards for his customers so they can communicate an image and identity higher than their competition.
* A creative title. In our office, Angela Brown "runs the place." It's also the title on her business card. At The Jack of Hearts Screen Printing Company, Bill Roberts' title is "Jack."
* A cat card. Lito Gitomer is the "corporate mascot" of our company. Her card has become famous in the sales world. I told of her card in "The Sales Bible" and "Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless" and Lito gets mail requesting her card every day.
The value of a creative card? They never get tossed away. And often get shown and re-shown for years.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Knock Your Socks Off Selling and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless; Customer Loyalty is Priceless. To order Jeffrey's many books and/or audios and videos, go to www.yoursuccessstore.com. (c) 1999 All Rights Reserved.