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Sales Tools & What Makes for a Good Business Card

5 Oct, 2015 By: Troy Harrison, Salesforce Solutions

We salespeople spend a lot of time talking about “sales tools.” More to the point, many salespeople (maybe you) spend a lot of time complaining and whining about the lack of sales tools (or perceived quality of our sales tools) that the boss provides us. When we talk about this we’re talking about brochures, pretty folders, PowerPoint presentations, and other fluff, i.e., colored lights and brass bands that salespeople hope will do the selling for them.

The truth is, all the brochures, sell sheets, and presentations in the world are at best a distant third in the ranking of your sales tools. Numero Uno reason is you! That’s far ahead of any of the others. We talk about you all the time so this month let’s talk about Sales Tool #2.

Sales Tool #2 is far behind you in importance, but far ahead of #3 (collaterals, etc.) in importance. You should have this tool with you at all times. What is it? It’s the lowly business card. Let’s see how to make it more worthwhile where it really works as a viable sales tool for you. First, let’s remind ourselves of why we still use business cards:

Business cards identify us. A business card is a very quick way to “place us” in the hands (literally) of the business world. On a small paper card we convey who we are, how to contact us, what we do and for whom we do it. When at a networking event you’ll meet a bunch of people and exchange a bunch of business cards. You may forget the faces – but the cards remind you of the people and company of interest.

Business cards are a great leave-behind. Salespeople love “leave-behinds,” those fancy brochures and packets that are supposed to remind our customers of why they should buy from us. About four out of every five of those fancy brochures are in the trash before you make it out of the parking lot while your small business card is typically saved and filed. That means your business card is the most meaningful leave-behind. It’s also why you shouldn’t attach your card to stuff like brochures that could be easily thrown away.

Business cards give us credibility. Business cards establish you as a “legitimate” businessperson. Its forthright information indicates that you are what you say you are, and can do what you say your can do. And in sales, credibility is our main asset. Thus it’s pretty easy to see that business cards are vital to a salesperson’s identity.

Quality, quality, and more quality. A quality business card is a good business card.  The word quality means you should choose a professional card stock, use a nice layout and/or logo, and crisp printing of text. Don’t hand out a card made from one of those free “stock templates” found online and printed on those cheap detachable cards that they sell at the office supply store. This lacks credibility and certainly isn’t professional or appealing. A good business card from a reputable printer can cost up to $100 depending on the amount needed. If a hundred bucks is too much to spend in order to protect your image, get out of sales. By the way, if your company supplies you with cheap, flimsy cards, it’s up to you to get better ones. After all it’s your career.

Distinctive is good, up to a point. One sales author whom I like and respect believes strongly in the distinctive, unique business card. In fact, his is a large coin. It’s distinctive as heck, and his philosophy is that people remember it and save it.  I liked that philosophy for a long time. The trouble is (and this is the truth, not just something to say), I lost his coin-card since it wouldn’t fit neatly with the rest of my card files. It ended up as part of the “stuff” that insignificantly rolled around in a desk drawer. Bottom line? Distinctive is good but often at odds with the simpler, more conventional methods that your prospects/clients employ. It’s better to stay with the size of most business cards.

Be appropriate. The design of your card should reflect what you do. For instance, a card with an elaborate design and a riot of colors would be perfect for a printer or graphic designer, but a disaster for a financial planner. Make sure that the design and text or font on your card delivers the correct message / professional image that you want to convey.

Include appropriate information. We’ve all looked at cards and tried to figure out what that person does for a living or what the company’s services are. So many companies have vague or similar names (another article for another day) and that can make it hard to place them in the business world (which is one of our objectives). If your business card is anything like that, add a bullet point or tag line somewhere that says what you do for a living. That’s vital information to the holder of your card and will keep it from being tossed due to wondering what you’re all about. It’s definitely worth a reprint of your cards.

Make it easy to contact you. In a recent online poll from Kansas City Small Business Monthly readers, over 60% of respondents indicated that e-mail is their favorite means of communication, over telephone, text and face-to-face contact. Yet nearly one third of the business cards that I see have no e-mail address listed. Be sure to include it on yours.

Like I said earlier, your business card is often more important than a tossed brochure or long forgotten presentation tool. In fact, in many cases it’s all that you have. Make it a good one.

Troy Harrison is the author of “Sell Like You Mean It!” and a Speaker, Consultant, and Sales Navigator. He helps companies build more profitable and productive sales forces with his cutting-edge sales training and methodologies. For information or his weekly E-zine contact Troy@TroyHarrison.com or visit http://www.TroyHarrison.com

About the Author: Troy Harrison

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