I can’t believe all the professional people I meet who don’t have extra business cards with them at all times. I assumed it was a nobrainer to always have some with you, but I guess I was wrong. It’s really free advertising, because most people will accept your card. When going on a sales call or entertaining clients in your office, business cards are part of the procedure. But what about non-working hours? Do you refuse to discuss business and not meet a new prospect or client? Can you only find a new customer during working hours? Of course not—we meet all types of people during our everyday lives, all the time.
Your first line of offense is usually your business card. And if you don’t have one with you, it may make the person you meet wonder how prepared and organized you are. If you can’t even produce a business card, how can you be expected to do the job you represent? It doesn’t matter whether you’re in sales; you are your company when you are discussing business.
One evening when I was working at our ice cream store, a couple came in and sat in one of the booths. It being a cold weeknight in January, business was slow, so we started discussing small business.
The man told me that he was a CPA and specialized in small business. Because I had a couple of other businesses and felt neutral about my accountant, I thought it would be a good idea to save his business card, should the need ever arise. After all, it’s sometimes difficult to find someone who specializes in small-business clients by looking in the phone book.
So I asked for his card, and he fumbled around looking for one. When he couldn’t produce one, he asked for something on which to write his information. I handed him one of my cards, and he wrote his name and phone number on the back. His printing was a little sloppy, so one of the numbers was difficult to make out. And of course there was a small ice cream stain from the hot fudge sundae he was eating.
I took the card, put it in my pocket, and didn’t really expect to call him or save it. If he didn’t value his own service enough to have business cards with him, why should I value his service? And by the way, he didn’t even ask for one of my cards so he could follow up himself.
This gentleman may be a good accountant, but not too many people will find out. His business will likely grow slowly because he’s not taking advantage of all the opportunities that are available. Why pass up a chance to acquire a new client or customer when the effort is so easy? You should always have extra business cards in your pocket, purse, wallet, and car for those unexpected meetings. Be ready when the opportunity presents itself so you can grow your business.