It's In the Cards... by Jeffrey Gitomer

Playing your (business) card right could mean the difference between success and failure.
Tear up your business card. That order may offend you, but less than one card in 500 is worth the paper it’s printed on. This probably includes yours.

"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, right?

Baron C. Hanson, Head Buckaroo (best title I ever saw on a card) of FlexCorp. Extraordinary Business Card Co. in Charlotte, North Carolina, designs and manufactures business cards, extraordinary business cards.

Hanson and I collaborated on a list of the top 11 advantages, opportunities and situations great business cards create.

1. It’s a reflection of you. A great business card shows you’ve taken the time to market and position yourself. It suggests your company has a leadership position; it suggest you’re a leader.

2. It speaks for you. It says "We’re special" before you ever say a word.

3. It speaks about you. It’s a sample of the kind of work your company produces. Great card; great work. Ordinary card; ordinary work.

4. It sets the right tone. If you give out your card at a networking event or on an appointment and get a "Nice card" comment from the prospect, it sets the tone for a positive discussion.

5. You get multiple impressions at a low cost. If you have 10 employees who each use 1,000 cards a year (four a day), that’s 10,000 business impressions a year. If your card is good enough to be reshown to others, the number of impressions could multiply by five.

6. It’s the most potent form of lasting advertising you’ve got. A good card is kept and shown to others and reinforces the claims made by your other forms of advertising. Not every card you give away results in an immediate sale. But if your card is great, people will keep it around 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 percent of life’s joy or 90 percent of life’s misery - depending on your selection. It’s the same with your business cards.

9. It’s a competitive advantage. Especially when two cards (yours and your competitor’s) are in the hands of a customer trying to make a decision.

10. It’s identity and image. That’s worth everything.

11. It’s your corporate and personal signature. It makes a statement. It sends a message. Are you proud to offer it?

Making a Statement

Here are a few examples of real-world business cards that make a creative difference:

A Card card. Richard Herd, President of Continental Advertising in Charlotte, North Carolina, designed his business cards to look like playing cards. He’s used them for the past five years. His business has grown 2,000 percent. Coincidence?

A bland card with a twist. Take your ugly card and make it better by adding to it. Phil Raymond at The Financial Group-Phoenix Home Life in Charlotte, North Carolina, has an insurance and investment sales business. Raymond has laminated his bland card with two postage stamps on the back - a 10 cent stamp from 1975 and a 32 cent stamp from 1995 - 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 creative title. In our office, Angela Brown "runs the place." That’s also the title on her business card. At the Jack of Hearts Screen Printing Co. in Charlotte, North Carolina, owner Bill Roberts’ title is Jack".

A cat card. Lito Gitomer, my cat, is our company’s "corporate mascot". Her card, bearing that title, has become famous in the sales world; she gets mail requesting it every day.

A business card may be the only thing left for the prospect to remember you (or not remember you) by after you’ve gone. When your great sales presentation about your amazing product is over, your card remains behind. What good does it do to make a presentation about quality when your card says "cheap and ordinary"? If you’re offering top quality services, your card must mirror that image.



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