Instant communication? Palm Pilots, laptops, cell phones, instant messaging devices - of all the communications tools out there, the single best one is still the business card. With it, you instantly communicate your name, your business, your contact information and, with a little design capability, your personal style.
A well designed business card marks you as a professional, so make sure you choose a design that reflects the products you represent. Selling high tech computer equipment or software? A sleek, modern, minimalist design is perfect. Selling Victorian clothing or home décor accessories? A more elegant design with a floral or lacy theme may be more suitable. And while basic white is still popular, choosing a card design with dynamic colors will make your business card stand out from the crowd.
Make sure you include all the information you need to make it easy for prospective customers to contact you. Your name and business address, landline and cell phone numbers, and email address will direct your customers to you. If you have a website, including the URL on your business card will also let you provide substantial sales and background information to prospective buyers before they even contact you. Not only does this make your sales job easier, since you've already educated prospective customers to some extent about your product, the people who contact you after seeing your website are more likely to be serious customers.
Once you receive your business cards, get creative about how you distribute them. If you're at a restaurant, dry cleaners, or other business that offers you a chance to win something for depositing your business card in a bowl, take them up on it. Just make sure, if you're supposed to put your card into a clear container, that you deposit the card facing right side up, out at the customers; that way everyone who comes to that business's counter can read your card.
Still paying bills the old fashioned way, through the mail? Drop a business card in with every check, every month. Join the local Chamber of Commerce, and pass your business card around at their after hours get-togethers. Need to hand someone connected to your personal life your home phone? Write it on the back of your business card.
You never know where your next sale is coming from. If you've got well designed, information-rich business cards on you at all times, you'll be prepared to make contact whenever a prospective customer appears. In addition, a sales training workshop can help you close the deal after that prospective coustomer makes contact.
Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire and frequently contributes to Tips and Topics . She has published numerous articles in local and regional publications on a wide range of topics, including business, education, the arts, and local events. Her feature articles include an interview with independent documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and a feature on prisoners at the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org