5 Simple ways of optimizing handing out business cards and making a better impression

Successfully handing out business cards can increase clients and leave lasting impressions. Doing it wrong or carelessly can also have a negative effect.

By Navid  |   0  |  Published in Business,

So, you’ve got a shiny new business card – or you’ve had them for a while.  Doesn’t matter.  The important thing is that you, me, and everyone else who owns a business/product (or is simply proud of what they do) hands out business cards like they are going out of style.  That is good!  Of course, the point of handing out business cards to total strangers is to introduce oneself and hopefully increase business.

One problem though: how can one know this is actually working so the process can be optimized?

Not every business card that gets handed out is going to turn into a paying customer.  Many things can make this a successful (or unsuccessful) exercise and knowing how to optimize this action can be very beneficial.

Let’s talk about turnoffs first.

I personally do not like it when someone I just met reaches into their pocket and hands out the business card without ever asking about who I am, what I do – or I asking the same of them.  This is presumptuous at best on their part.  Let’s say (for argument sake) the business is a car wash and I don’t even have a car.  What do you think I am going to do with the card that was just handed to me?  Yup, you guessed it.  Trash it.  I am hardly going to go buy a car so I can take it to the guy’s car wash just to be polite.

Another turn off for me is when the business card looks visually poor and cheap in hand.  The quality of the business card – both in terms of design and material makes an impression.  I take a well-designed card that is printed on quality paper as a token of pride in what that person does.  Printing quality business card can be very inexpensive these days so there is no excuse not to have a professional business card at hand.  Our business cards are extensions of us and they should be representative of our pride and commitment to what we do.

Handing out business cards sounds like a simple-enough endeavor but many factors play a part in whether it bears fruit or not.  It is very important for me to know whether my methodologies are working as it gives me an opportunity to optimize.

Ever heard of analytics?!  You cannot attach analytics to a physical business card, you say?  Yup.  You are right but there are indirect ways of figuring out how this exercise is paying off.  Analytics-ish (yes, I just invented a word).

Hear me out.

The Prep Work: Creating a Special Gateway

One of the easiest ways to know whether my way of handing out business cards works or not is to measure the number of visits I get to my site.  I typically do not list the basic URL of my site on my card.  Instead, I place a unique URL that is only printed on my business cards.  This allows me to check my analytics and see how many visits I’ve had to that specific URL.  I know that the only way folks are coming to that URL is from my cards.  This allows me to effectively measure how my interactions are working the way I intended them to. By the way, I make this unique page a “no-index” so it is not picked up by search robots.

For example, I create a special welcome page at http://…/WELCOME .  On my business card, instead of listing my root URL, I list my welcome page’s URL.  When folks who have my business cards want to come to my site they will (hopefully) go to the welcome page (instead of the main page of the site) and get a nice greeting instead of the impersonal homepage.

The Five W’s (and How) of Handing Out Business Cards

What, When, Where, Why and Who and How.  Here is what I mean:

  1. What of handing out business cards: sometimes called an “elevator pitch”.  “What do you do?”  My answer is short, simple and easy to understand.  This needs to be thought of beforehand and practiced and eventually perfected.
  2. When of handing out business cards: I do not hand my cards out unless I have gotten to know someone for a few mins first (at least).  After a few mins of conversation, I should know whether what I do has anything to do with what the person I am chatting with does.  If they are related and I think I can help them solve a problem then I reach for a card.
  3. Where of handing out business cards: If I am at a networking session, then I am much more likely to hand out a card compared to a kid’s birthday party.  This should be simple enough to figure out.  This is linked to mindset.  At a networking session, everyone’s mindset is on, well, networking.  This is fitting.  At a birthday party, well, not so much.
  4. Why of handing out business cards: Sometimes I am asked for my card.  Done.  Here you go!  Sometimes, I genuinely think I can be of service.  I would never hand out my card to anyone hoping that one day in the next 10 to 100 years might need my service.  Not planning on living that long anyway.
  5. Who of handing out business cards: goes hand-in-hand with the above.  I hand my cards to folks who can use my services.  Simple.  If what I do is not related to what they do, then I save the card.
  6. How of handing out business cards: business card etiquette is key here.  I always have my card facing up, and hand it to whom I am speaking with using both hands.  It shows respect and leaves a good impression.

 

Final note: it is critical that the response from a contact is just as meticulously prepared as the process of handing out business cards.  Responding personally (rather than having an assistant do it if at all possible) in a timely manner are great ways of showing appreciation for the contact.

 

 



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