You basically can call it a "Pocket-Sized Promotion". How many of you have your cards with you at all times? Myself, in 14 years, you caught me maybe twice without a card. Networking, we all do it. What a quick and easy way to advertise.
Rich Jacobson wrote a post : "Personal Photos in Real Estate Marketing" - the Debate Continues! This was more geared towards web sites, but brings up an interesting point in general.
The integral part of business is the often overlooked business card. So many of us think it's a casual business when presenting our business card to someone else. Many are either shy or just feel like it's an intrusion. In other countries, business people regard it as a symbol of respect.
Mercedes Alfaro, president of First Impression Management, Inc, believes that we can take a cue from Japanese business by paying more attention to the manner in which we present our cards. Some tips that she suggest:
- "Present your business cards in the direction where the receiver doesn't have to turn it around to read it."
- "Don't write notes on the business card while the owner is watching -- you are defacing their business image. You can take notes, but do it when you are not with the owner.
Your business card and how you tend to handle it is a very personal part of your business communication. It's like a handshake, which is how we make an impression in regards to the way it is presented. A "weak" handshake as opposed to a "firm" handshake. Same as business cards. Going back to what Mercedes had mentioned, giving your business card in a way that others will remember you and want to "get in touch" with you. It's also very important to know how and when to present your business card without seeming to pushy. This is a common mistake made often.
Meishi, the Japanese word for business cards, are presented almost ceremoniously to others in Japan. This is something that we as American's can learn from another culture that is highly respected and used throughout Europe and the Eastern civilization. Though our culture does not necessarily call for such extravagance, there is still no excuse for ruthlessly hurdling your business card at anyone who comes your way.
Key point: Giving your business card. If you want to pass out your card, and the person that you are speaking to has not asked for it, ask them for their card first. If they still haven't asked for it then, this might mean that they don't want it and there is a good possibility that they will throw it away, says Mercedes in her article.
I mentioned pictures on a business card. Many prefer not to have a picture and this was mentioned in Rich Jacobson's post. Each card does not fit the same style that you should have in regards to your industry. Meaning, the card to my right is more of a marketing card for web design, having flair, and a unique way to advertise. But in the mortgage industry, I would still want to keep it somewhat simple and direct. In real estate, it could be a little different. Sometimes marketing yourself or branding yourself as Angus Woodbury
has done, can be very appealing, if done correctly. http://www.yourbestmooove.com/
Last, it's considered disrespectful to pass along a wrinkled, torn, or damaged business card. Be sure to keep them safe, such as a leather-bound business card holder. Any typical business card holder would do. And don't let business cards fool you. They are just not for owners of companies or those in the business world.
Update: Please don't hesitate to share what your cards look like with us. I would love to pick up some new ideas.
UPDATE : 9/03/07 My business card. This one has some good weight to it and is laminated.
Update : 7/25/07 Here is a follow up to this post. In this post, I have compiled the many suggestions and ideas listed in the comments section from this post.