You’re at a networking event and leave with a bunch of cards from people you just met. You probably write something on them or draw a little picture of the person you just met as an aide-memoir. Maybe you check out their website. And then they go on the pile…
The etiquette of business cards
In the 16th century when calling cards (as they were known then) came about, there was a defined etiquette to follow, a defined user journey. You left your card at the door with the servant of the house as a means of introduction, the initial contact would not be face to face. If the corner of your card was left folded the recipient would know you had delivered it in person, as opposed to your servant. A response would then be sent.
Somewhere down the line, etiquette got forgotten.
Modern day business cards at least have added the address and contact details, but without the structure provided by etiquette, the journey often does not resolve itself, there is often no response. I’m not saying there need be a response every time you receive a business card, just that we need to work harder at eliciting that response.
Respond to customer problems
If you are offering a service, you are providing solutions to people’s pain points, the things that they need help with. When you meet a new contact, inevitably you’re going to discuss their current issues to see how you might be able to help. But when you hand over your business card, you are expecting the recipient to do quite a lot of further work. There may have been a large crowd, there may have been alcohol and you’re expecting them to remember your name, your face and what you talked about.
If you managed to establish a rapport then that’s going to help motivate the contact to act, but if there wasn’t time or opportunity to do that then what are you left with?
In the design business, the contacts I meet are often experiencing similar issues; they are thinking about redesigning their website, they have an idea for a new online business, they want to update their content etc. These are the pain points that I can address.
So, my old pal Chris and I defined 8 common problems and composed the business cards on this page to address those pain points, leaving the contact something useful to consider that addressed their issue and providing them with a simple next action that may help them even further. The feedback was good, the response was positive and who knows, maybe one or two even avoided the bin for a while and got stuck up on the wall.
The format is a simple as
- Define the problem
- Respond with your solution or approach
- Provide a simple and useful next action
Do you think it’s an approach worth thinking about in your business?