Business cards lack important information
Like the many other of sales persons, I go about visiting a large number of prospects and also clients alike every single month. Some will end up making a purchase, but some also do not. However at least each one of them gets my business card.
I attend many business meetings in the form of breakfasts or seminars. I also attend other networking functions in my never ending search for some new contacts and eventually new business. Every person that I establish contact with also receives my business card.
On one occasion several years back, I started to observe that over time I not only handed out thousands of those business cards but also got a lot of the business cards myself. I dug out some of the very first ones that I got hoping to find a few prospects.
As I began to sort through the pile of business cards I realised, after looking at a number of them, that most of these cards were practically meaningless and didn't provide much information. Other than the name and phone number, the cards didn't say much about what the person did or what the company's business is all about. It's no better than simply writing on a piece of paper what your phone number is without also writing your name.
The layout below is the standard layout of a business card. Although you may know the name and position of the person, unless the company's name clearly shows what the business does (ex. as in ABC Plumbing Co.), you would have practically no idea what kind of business this company is in, hence you will not know what to do about your sales presentation.
- ZYY Company
- Mr Jesse James
- General Manager
- Telephone number
- Mobile number
- Fax number
- Email address
You will be lucky if their website in on the business card as then you will have a way to find out what they do, but you will have to go through the websites one by one.
On the other side of the coin, I also realize now that the people who had been receiving my business cards to have all the information on how to get a hold of me, but don't have the faintest idea of what I actually do. Of course it says on my card "Sales", but sales of what? If they needed something of what my company sells, they won't know that from just looking at my business card.
As a salesman, I always ensure that I am easily reachable at reasonable hours of the day, and also make it a point to remember and know all about my prospects as much as I can. As these prospects of mine are also the prospect of everybody else, it's not necessary for them to remember who I am, and so these folks need a bit of help.
So what do I do to help them? Then I thought of a very simple solution. WRITE ON THE BACK OF BUSINESS CARDS!!!
Here's a big possibility: One prospect who is at the office of a shoe manufacturer on a given day is asked to find a supplier for materials they need in the manufacture of a new product, for example boots. This is exactly his job - find and deal with suppliers. He just came from a trade show and knows that he met several of the suppliers' representatives there. He just can't remember who they are, so he goes through the stack of cards he had collected. Coming across one card and not even remembering the name or face of the person who gave it, he sees written in there clearly: "xxx materials - low to high volume OK." Now, among the stack of cards, who do you think gets called first?
Don't throw your business cards around
In business meetings, I am among those who don't just throw my business cards around to any person I bump into. I don't particularly like meaningless exchanges of business cards whos purpose i simply that - exchange business cards. Making a connection first is more important than simply getting a business card. After a connection is made, a business card will simply facilitate the making of a relationship with someone in the future way beyond that event where you've met.
Don't expect a 100% fit of the ideal client in your business among the prospects that you meet at these functions. More so if you're in a form of highly specialized business niche. Just keep your focus on those who are within your criteria. This is where the initial connection becomes important as you will be able to filter out the "prospects" from the "suspects", as they say. By doing this you won't be wasting your time, and theirs when you start making folllow ups later on.
What to write on your business card
You then write on the backside of their business cards, and yours, the important points raised during that initial connection. You will write very precisely what your business does that will help theirs. You will then have an easier way making those follow ups as you will have a mutual conversation point that you can raise. This way your relationship can be built up further at your upcoming meeting or even just in correspondence.