Real Estate Agent Business Card created for Vibrant Branding Agency.
Why Business Cards Still Matter
Business cards still matter because our memory sucks. How many times have you met someone, spent most of the conversation thinking of what to say so you don’t sound stupid, then promptly forget their name when it’s all over? Mitchell Friedman, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Career Development at Presidio Graduate School, explains:
…when you meet a person at a business event, get their business card. Perhaps even write a note or two on the reverse side of the card to capture the key points of your conversation while they’re still fresh in your mind. The bottom line here is to have a physical record of contacts you make so you can follow up as appropriate in conjunction with your broader job search/career development efforts.
A business card is a road map to opportunity. It could lead you to a great new job, a great business partnership, or simply help your business make money. Think of a situation where you you’ve got your networking pants on and you’re looking to benefit your business by making contacts. Suddenly, you notice someone that could be a potential client. What do you do? You introduce yourself and describe what you do, but at some point, you’ll need to hand off your contact information. A business card saves you time and makes you look professional. You’re not fumbling around with a pen to scribble your e-mail address on a cocktail napkin, and you also give them a sense that this isn’t your first rodeo.
Business cards put a face to a business – When meeting someone new, handing them your business card (preferably with your photo on it) will help keep your business in the back of their minds. Though they may not need your product or services today, there may come a time when they do, and hopefully they will be able to pull out your business card and call versus trying to remember your company name and searching the web.
Your business card is a physical object that potential clients can take with them that keeps you or your brand from just being a name that floats around in the ether. It’s great if you have a web site, but commercial printer Shaun Caldwell explains on his LinkedIn blog that cards have certain perks:
Business cards never have downtime.They’re always accessible, and never have dead zones or Internet outages. Your business card can be viewed no matter where you are located, and even times when cell phones and other devices must be turned off, such as on an airplane ride or in a hospital. Your business card is always working for you.
Not everyone thinks business cards are essential, and some argue business cards have lost their edge. Ilya Pozin, writer for Forbes and Inc., describes a shift he’s seen on his LinkedIn Blog:
As for me, I haven’t had business cards for many years either. Instead, I make a point to ask my new connection to email me. (When I respond, I include my full contact information.) It’s become normal to see people at networking events in L.A. using their phones to collect contact information right there on the spot. Fast-forward a few years, and it won’t be surprising to find Google Glass-wearing techies exchanging contact information by looking at each other.
Technology, and—more specifically—smartphones have made information sharing easier. These days you can email someone while you’re meeting them with a few quick taps of your thumb. There are even apps out there that can share contact information with someone with barely any effort at all. So why bother with a card when you have all of this other stuff? Networking is about making meaningful connections, and sometimes technology—or the act of using it—can be impersonal.
Meeting someone in person only to look down at your phone and start tapping can seem rude and disconnected. You want to smile, make eye contact, and make the conversation you’re having be your main focus. You don’t want to be hoping they have the same information sharing app, asking for their email immediately to send your info, or looking down at your screen. Technology can still be used to enhance your experience, however. Apps like Evernote can scan the business cards you collect and make storage and organization easier. But business cards already use one of the best information sharing apps out there: your hands. Until we actually can look someone in the eye to share information, you’re better off keeping conversations personal and connected.
Business cards are cheap, portable, and easy to give away, so there’s no reason not to have one. Even with email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, people expect you to have a business card. It shows professionalism and it demonstrates that you care. In a sense, business cards are a way for you to say, “I belong here, I know what I’m doing, and you should consider me a factor.” They are a paper handshake that instantly gives whoever you meet everything they need to know in order to do business with you.