Full Transcript Below:
When it comes to business, small things are important. One of those small things that most people don’t think about are the first impressions involving business cards. I’m a firm believer in the idea that business cards, you need to have 2 of them. One of them pure information, that’s the business card you drop off in a list when people are collecting business cards. You print them in bulk. They have every possible way to connect to you: email, phone, whatever you want to put on them. They’re not really about an impression. They’re just about information. That’s the one you can go find a cheap VistaPrint or something like that and print them by the thousand.
The other business card you have, that you put in time and effort. That you make it look nice. This is important. You create white space where you can write something down. The idea is the next best thing to having a business card is not having a business card. As a matter of fact, I might even say that slightly different. I might even say sometimes the best business card is to not have a business card. Here’s what I mean by that. For a long time, it’s been known … Quotes have been attributed as far back as Benjamin Franklin. There’s been books and psychology studies written about it. Most recently you could have heard it on NPR with Robert Cialdini talking about persuasion. His book is called Influence and the Psychology of Persuasion.
What he talks about is if you want to get someone on your side and you want to connect to someone and you want them to connect with you, one of the easiest ways to make an emotional connection with someone is to ask them to do you a favor. That’s counter-intuitive for people who are responsible and feel like they want to be presented as professional. To show up in an environment where you’re supposed to be professional and have your act together and ask someone a favor, that feels counter-intuitive, but it really works to get someone to connect with you.
What I mean is if you’re hanging out with a group of people and you finish a conversation and someone says, “Here’s my card,” the value you place on that card is going to be very low. It’s going to go in your pocket. You may or may not remember. You may wash it and find it later in a wad in the back of your pocket or you may stack it with the other 50 business cards you got at that gathering. What if instead you had an interesting conversation with someone and at the end there are 2 things you can do. If they want to get in touch with you, that’s one approach.
When you’re in a conversation and someone wants to connect with you and you are looking for that connection, the next thing to do is not, “Okay, here’s my card. Give me a call.” You’ve basically ended the contact at that point. Instead what you do is say, “I don’t have a business card on me. Do you have a pen and something I could write with?” Then they reach and look around and find maybe even one of their own business cards and a pen. You write down whatever way you want them to contact you: phone, email, doesn’t matter. While you’re writing it down, you say, “This is really the best way to reach me. Do me a favor, don’t hand that out or pass that along. That’s my personal phone number,” or, “Do me a favor, don’t pass it along. That’s my personal email. I try to keep the emails coming into that account at a minimum so that I can actually interact with all of them.”
No matter what you’ve done in that situation are 2 things. 1, you’ve asked a favor. They’ve done something for you. Now whether they want to or not, they feel an emotional connection there. It’s all base psychology. Number 2, you’ve made them feel a little bit like, “Hey you got some information that I don’t just throw around. This is not the business card phone number that I drop into the basket to get a free chicken fried steak dinner at the local restaurant. This isn’t the thing where I put in the vacation box at Costco and hope someone calls me and gives me a free cruise. This is my actual phone number. This is my actual email address. You got this and I don’t give this out to everybody.” That’s a big deal.
What about the next group of people, the people you really want to reach? They may or may not want to reach you. You still want to have a connection with that person. There’s 2 ways you can do it. You can ask for a pen and this sounds so silly, but it really works. You could ask for a pen or you could take your business card that you actually have that looks nice that’s remarkable, memorable, maybe a different size. I’ve got one for the Whisky Marketing School. On one side, it’s all the whisky logo and on the other side mostly blank space, no contact information, no phone number, no email address, nothing, just my name and the Whisky Marketing School, no website, no URL, nothing. That alone is remarkable. Who hands out a business card … ?
One of my good friends and a great part of the Wizard Academy is Gene Naftulyev. Gene has what I consider to be maybe one of the best business cards of all time. It just says, “Gene Naftulyev, a legitimate businessman.” You’re going to have a hard time finding a better business card than that. I still talk about it, and I’ve only seen it once.
Here’s what you do when you’re trying to connect with someone who may or may not want to connect with you, but is interested in the conversation they’re having with you. You take out your card. If it feels appropriate, ask them for a pen. Borrow their pen to write your contact information on there. If it feels inappropriate to do that, take out your own pen, but still no matter what, write your own contact information on that business card and say the same thing you said before, “This is my personal phone number,” or, “This is the best email to reach me.” Don’t add the, “Please don’t hand this out,” because in that conversation you are just hoping they reach you. You’re not trying to keep it private and believe me, they don’t care about handing out your personal information.
Keep it just to the first part, “Hey, this is the best phone number to reach me at,” “Hey, this is the best email to reach me at. It’s hand written. Here you go. Take that. Please give me a call. Please send me an email. If I don’t hear from you, then I’ll shoot you an email a little bit later.” No matter what, you just turned that interaction from something that took 3 seconds, “Here’s my card. Give me a call,” “Here’s my card, shoot me an email,” to something that was an actually interaction with an exchange, a give and take and a reveal of personal information. The odds of followup to that connection just went up dramatically.
Remember 2 important things: 2 business cards, one for general pamphlet purposes and one for true interaction, and the cardinal rule of business cards, sometimes the best business card is to not have any business card.