IF A SALE DEPENDED ON YOUR BUSINESS CARD, COULD YOU MAKE ONE?
by Jeffrey Gitomer
A business card may be the only thing left for the prospect to remember you (or not remember you) by -- after you've gone.
After you've given your great sales presentation about your product; your card remains behind. Don't be telling me about quality when your business card says "cheap and ordinary."
My business card is an important part of my image. Is yours? If I'm offering top quality services, my card must mirror that image. People tell me mine does. What kind of message are you sending when you hand your card to someone?
Look at your card. Then ask yourself three questions,
1. What do I want my card to do or say?
2. What do I want my card to reflect?
3. Is my card accomplishing these objectives?
If the answer to number 3 is no, tear up the ones you have, and invest in new cards now. Here's how...
Developing a card is more intricate than you think. It's a delicate balance of design and printing that delivers a message and creates an image. Here are the secret ingredients for making a great card...
* Invest in logo. Pay a designer for your mark of distinction. Logo's from graphic designers will cost between $500 and $2,000 (design fee is usually based on the dollar sales volume of your company). It's a long term business investment.
* Invest in design. Graphic layout is as critical as logo. Let your design firm work their magic from your criteria. Your logo and layout will begin to create your style. Be the best.
* Add color. Let the designer guide you to colors of distinction.
* Use the best materials. Distinctive paper type can set you apart. Paper stock and style are becoming an important part of image. Select color that punches your logo and layout. You are not limited to paper. Plastic, metal, wood and other substrates can make your card outstanding. Match the card with the business. If you're in the lumber business, you card has to be wood. (Be careful if you're in the septic tank business.)
* Use printing options that set you apart. There are printing options that can add distinction and color at the same time (and the cost is surprisingly modest). You can add the options of blind emboss (raising a portion of your name or logo) or foil stamping (shiny metallic material in a wide variety of colors). Emboss and foil stamp are the current rage. The more traditional companies and professional firms use the engraving process. It's similar to blind emboss, but it adds ink to the raised letters. Engraving is the classic style. Your best bet is to get samples of everything, lay them out, and see what works best for you.
* Use a top quality printer. Printers are the link between design and reality. The difference in price between good and the best is minimal. Select the best. This is a one time investment in your image. Make it.
* Something else unusual. A different size, a custom shape, special fold, die cut, your mission statement on the back, a creative title. The final touch that sets you apart from the others -- especially the competition.
* Ask opinions before you go to press. Get the opinion of your friends, customers, prospects, and people you respect. Let them give you information and feedback. Don't let them make your decisions. In the end -- go with your gut feeling.
Just add money and presto! Know approximate costs before you begin. Get estimates in writing from everyone, or you may be in for a mild (or wild) billing shock.
Beware of the 5.5 pitfalls. Don't do this to your card.
1. Don't do thermo graphic cards. (Type of printing process) It feels cheap and cards stick together in your wallet.
2. Don't be in a hurry. If you can't wait a few days or a week for your card, something's wrong. Makeshift a few to get by, and wait for a masterpiece. I've never seen a good "rush job."
3. Don't try to tell the history of your business on the card. Less is more.
4. Don't let your printer be your designer. It's like going to a drug store for brain surgery. First hire a great designer, then find a great printer.
5. Don't try to save money by cutting corners. You don't spend money on business cards, you invest in the image of you and your business. What's that worth?
5.5 Don't ever say "That's good enough." Developing that attitude will lead you to mediocrity and no further.
A few more points to ponder...
* A new card for an existing business can be a business facelift. New, better, revitalized, up one notch.
* You may need more than one card. Revolutionize the cold call with a hot card. Have a special card just for cold calls or trade shows.
* The quality of your business card reflects the quality of your image after you leave a prospect's office. Make it a top quality, lasting impression.
* The investment you make in cards is not just paper and ink. That's the smallest portion. You're investing in creativity, expertise, and craftsmanship.
Picture this...your biggest prospect mulling over the decision to select you or your biggest competitor. He's fondling your card and your competitor's card. Look at your card -- would you pick you?
When you hand your card to someone, you only want to hear three words:
Wow, great card!