Networking events are so common that most people end up making mediocre efforts when it comes to meeting new business prospects and partners. But as exhausting as these events can be, we need to stick with the most important thing that keeps our business alive – new contacts. You must have realised by now that in the many conversations you start in such an event it often ends with the question, “do you have a card?”
The succeeding exchange of cards is often a practiced exercise too many people take casually. And this is even reflected on the style and quality of their business cards. Sadly when the card cannot help you stand out in the hearts and minds of your prospects then you will eventually lose another opportunity to grow your business. When bad card design is coupled with lacklustre conversations then you can be sure you failed your business one way or another.
Experts say that there are some things that will make you and your card unforgettable:
- Card size
- Paper quality
- Overall design
- Paper texture
- What you say during the exchange
You will discover that there is nothing casual and ordinary about business cards. In fact this can be one of your keys to success in business. Read on and learn!
Size is important
It is very tempting to get out of convention and break tradition when it comes to the size of your card. But you have to remember that business cards are kept in standard-sized wallets and sleeves and when yours is too big or too small there is a big chance that it will be tossed out in the bin or lost in the process of safe keeping (since it is too small). Your card will be collected with dozens of others cards. Standing out is not the only consideration. Easy handling is also as important. The UK standard size for a business card is 85mm x 55mm.
Card design with intent
We all want to express ourselves and the way we develop our brand is an example of how creative we can get in expressing our personality through our business. If this is the case then card design is very important. It must be detailed enough that it will remind people of us. It must also be deliberate so that everything about it is an experience in itself of the kind of business we can offer to our clients.
How can this be done? Integrate the colour of your logo to the card, use the same font you use in your website, and make sure your personal style will show through your card. You have to consider the card as an extension of yourself, a statement of your business.
Making the card look sharp and fancy
You got the right size and you have perfected the design for your card but if it is too thin and flimsy then that would undermine everything you have achieved so far. The thickness of your card (also known as card stock) is measured in points from 12 to 16. Go all out for your card. Remember that its quality reflects on you and your business.
To have a sharper look you can choose to have rounded corners for your card as this can make it more resistant to wear and tear. This can help prevent bending on the edges thus preserving its pristine condition for a long time.
Pay attention to the finish
It is not just the design and the thickness of the paper that will leave a lasting impression. The feel and touch of the card also helps. Because of this the matte finish is the obvious choice especially when you only have text in the card. However, if your line of business is into graphics then putting an image to the card is a better presentation for your business. A glossy paper will work better for image-laden cards but this can make it hard for people from jotting down important notes on the card because of the glossy surface.
Trust the professionals
If you are still thinking of making your own business card with your computer and printer at home then think again. Save yourself from amateur looking cards by tapping into online services that can help you design and produce professional looking ones. You can also visit your local printer and look through the options they can provide for you. Get the look of your card right the first time.
Making the exchange
We have already covered everything about making your card stand out from the rest. Now we will go into the details of how you can complement your card with personal impressions that last. After all you should be as memorable as your card.
You do not go around the room and start asking people for their business cards. Remember that the quality of your conversation with your prospective client is the best way to win their hearts. When you do this right, you can be sure to hear from them soon enough. The goal is to make a connection with your contacts, not just leave a piece of paper to them.
When someone asks for your card be sure to return the favour. Ask for their cards too! Before you are tempted to just pocket the card the moment you receive it, take a moment to scan through the contents of the card. This adds authenticity to your interactions.
How about follow up? While other people will be content in folding one corner of the card as a sign of some special interest to that one specific contact, you can be more strategic with this. Jot down notes like “email proposal ASAP” on the card for example so that you will know what to do with the card you just received.
Business cards are still in use today simply because many business people still prefer it over other modes of exchanging contact details with others. Sure there are mobile phones and other online tools that can prove to make contact exchange easier but would you rather have one than be caught with nothing when someone important asks you to give him or her your card?
Although there are less rigid means to do contact exchange (handing your phone over for contact detail entry), nothing beats having a business card in your wallet, just in case.