Business cards used to be an essential feature of any new meeting; they were a way of passing on contact details, but often they acted like something of a status symbol, too. Today, their role has changed – and so has the way they are handed out.
Follow these tips to make sure you pass on your business card – or other company merchandise – in an effective and appropriate way.
1. Make it purposeful.
In the past, business cards were used as a way of signifying authority, with titles and status forming a key part of the information on the card. Today, their purpose has changed. It’s less about status and rank, and more about keeping your brand firmly at the forefront of your potential new client’s mind. Don’t be too quick to hand out your card at the first opportunity. Instead, wait until a follow-up is mentioned, so giving out your card (or other branded item featuring your details) is timely and appropriate.
Sometimes, it can be more effective to have something functional and simpler to give, such as a custom pen bearing your brand’s logo. These are less likely to be misplaced or disposed of, because they serve a purpose. You can also have several pots full of them for potential clients to take, without needing to offer in a formal way.
2. Be creative.
The idea of whipping out a business card at the first opportunity clearly belongs in the past. Finding less outdated ways of distributing a card or branded pen is crucial in order to make them relevant in today’s world, and a little creativity can go a long way. Include them in all your packages as a token reminder of your details with some ribbon or confetti, or make up goody bags to hand out. Simply wrap up items such as sweeties or chocolates inside some cellophane, along with a pen and your business card. Hand these out at fairs or other promotional events for potential clients to remember you by.
For the technologically advanced, you may consider using a digital business card, which enables you to not only instantly exchange contact info, but also track leads, automate follow ups, and more.
Anything that makes you stand out from the crowd will make an impression – and make people far more likely to remember you in the future.
3. Make it an exchange.
Doing business should be a partnership, so when you hand out your card or pen to a potential client, ask for theirs, too. This makes the conversation feel more balanced, and removes any sense of a ‘hard sell’. What’s more, if you have their details to hand, it makes it much easier to follow up your conversation by email a few days later.
For international business card etiquette, click here.
4. Consider presentation.
You’ve gone to the effort of having custom pens or cards created, so make sure they are kept somewhere where they won’t become crumpled or damaged. It’s not a great look handing over a soggy, torn business card, along with some mumbled apologies and excuses! Equally, think carefully about what you have printed in the first place. Printed cards and products should impart your brand image, and show your logo clearly. Don’t rush to include too much information; often, the simplest things are the most effective, and the overall purpose should be to keep your brand at the forefront of your new client’s mind.
Giving out your business card or branded merchandise is a great opportunity to further business discussions and create awareness of your company. Do it in the right way, and your new customers will be getting in touch before you know it!