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8/27/07

Ways to Effectively Distribute Business Cards

Let us assume that you already have received your brand new business cards. Chances are you spent money to get them. Why then would you waste that money by ineffectively distributing business cards?

Before we begin, you will want to make sure that your business card contains your full name, your company name, you position/occupation in the company, and any and all contact information (including your company address, office phone number, cellular phone number, fax machine number, and e-mail address). You might want to refrain from giving your home phone number unless you run a home based business. If you have a beeper, give this number also. The point is that you want to make it very easy for your client to contact you whenever he/she needs to, during working hours.

Additionally, you want to keep your business card clean-looking and to the point. The point of a business card is to give some very brief information about your position and contact numbers. Now is not the time to present your entire life story. I have seen some people put their company mission statement, product lines, company motto, etc, on their business cards. I think this is overkill. At most, I would include (if relevant) a company logo and any education or experience you have that would make you more credible. This does not mean that you place your resume on your card; this means that you put the appropriate educational distinctions after your name (for example, M.B.A., M.E., B.A, B.S., J.D., M.D. Broker, Broker-Salesperson, Salesperson, etc) and/or a quick one-liner about your experience (for example, “helping people acquire wealth for over ten years”).

First and most importantly, ALWAYS have some of your business cards on you. Having anywhere between 10 to 15 business cards with you at any given time would be ideal. Many times people will ask for a business card and you may not have one to give. This is a lost opportunity! If you just give the potential contact a phone number, chances are, he/she is going to forget what and who the phone number is for. However, if a business card was given, there can be no mistake as to who the number belongs.

Second, put a stack of business cards on your desk. When you meet potential clients, it is nice and beneficial to give them a card. This way, if that person wants to recommend you to another, they will have a business card to give to that person. Additionally, your client will have a means of information should they need to contact you for any reason.

What if you do not have an office where clients come to meet you? What if you run a home based business? This problem is easily solved. When you go and meet the client, give them a card attached to any presentation, contract, agreement, and/or document that pertains to the meeting. (The preceding sentence also applies to people that have a traditional office where clients come to meet. Just make sure that you do not drown your clients with business cards. One or two is fine. Do not attach a business card to every document you produce for them).

What if you never meet the clients with who you do business? In this case, some sort of communication has to take place. How else would you two have gotten into contact? In this case, it is most likely that e-mail is used and, therefore, you can put business card-like information beneath your signature line. It has the same effect as a traditional business card and better yet, it is free!

Third, networking events are a great place to exchange business cards with others. Just make sure you do not blindly throw your cards at people without making a true contact. Handing cards to people you never talk to are not going to help your cause.

Last, place your business cards in local shops that allow you to do so. Many local coffee shops, juices bars, restaurants, pubs, bars, and “mom and pop” stores allow people to place their business cards on a bulletin board and/or on the restaurant tables under a piece of glass which serves as the table “cloth.” This is a good way to create ties with the local small businesses and with the local community. A word a caution; this is probably going to be the least effective method for generating business. Many people do not go into a coffee shop looking for a anything other than a cup of coffee, therefore, do not expect much business to come directly from this method. That being said, if a person does become your client from one of your cards placed in local businesses, and that client ends up loving you, that little card that stays pinned up at those shops, probably indefinitely, will generate much positive word of mouth advertising. This in turn creates lots of business for you.


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