I was clearing out my desk recently, sorting through business cards and updating my CRM system with sales prospects and contacts…no more Rolodex.
Whilst skipping through it got me thinking how I’ve rarely been happy with one of my business cards. The design of course is hard enough but then I can’t decide between printing materials, inks, papers, fonts. Bright typography on a simple white background. Double thick 236lb cotton card stock, have you included the bleed, trim and safe areas? Aargh!
I’ve even had that Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) moment when I’ve been handed a perfectly executed, ornate delight.
“Look at that subtle off-white colouring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh, my God. It even has a watermark.”
The company roll-out of cards is also another tricky process. Colleagues suddenly become marketing aficionados. Paper too thick, too thin, colour too wacky. But they are printed now and you are stuck with them. Time to dish them out:
The Big Ten
- That bunch of thick business cards in your jacket pocket feels like you have plenty, you’ve actually got 8, make sure your well stocked.
- Always keep your cards in pristine condition, no ragged corners!
- Hand it over so the recipient doesn’t need to turn it around.
- If on an overseas mission have one side of your business card translated into the appropriate language, present the card with the recipient’s language face up.
- Do your etiquette homework for the country you are visiting, cards are extension of people and have value attached to them.
- Accept a card in the same way it was presented, either in two hands or your right hand
- Never write on a business card you’ve been handed, unless out of sight.
- Make a point of looking at the card you’ve been handed, comment on it to acknowledge receipt “you have offices in South Tyneside I see”.
- Say the persons name out loud to help you to remember them.
- During a meeting, lay the business cards on the table in front of you in the order people are seated.
So next time the marketing department issue you your stylish, well crafted, attention grabbing cards, cut them some slack and acknowledge their efforts.
Ian is also the founder of Sales & Marketing consultancy Far North Ltd.