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Business Cards – Put A Fork In Em, They’re Done

Business Cards Stink

 

 

Do you have a business card? I remember when I got my first box of business cards. {start dream sequence}… I has right out of college, working at a new car dealer. “Stephen to the sales managers office” the loud speaker said. “What did I do?” I thought. I walked over to the sales managers office with a look of confusion - “what does he want with me?” I entered his office. “Sit down” he said. “Oh, crap” I thought. He reached into his desk drawer and smiled as he pulled out a box, it was my business cards. I had arrived.

You should have seen me. I was grinning from ear to ear. I couldn’t wait to hand out my cards. I even tried to give one to my sales manager. I left his office with a little more bounce in my step. A little more confident. I started conversations with people, any person, in hopes of giving them my stamp of approval, of corporate America – my business card. Business cards come in all shapes and sizes. Funky business card colors, sizes, designs, and shapes. Some even come in CD-ROM form. No longer restricted to the traditional “white” rectangle, business cards speak to their owners personality and profession – professionalism. There is only one problem.

Business cards are dead.

I am a former business development manager for a national title insurance company in Phoenix Arizona. My job [as a title rep] was to help real estate professionals grow their business. Over the last 10 years, I have seen a lot of things come and go – I’m on a quest to get real estate professionals, all professionals to drop the business card like a bad habit. I discussed this quest in a previous post – Business Cards Suck.

I met with a woman the other day, as we talked, she referenced a time gone by when real estate agents carried a book [with them] with all the properties available for sale. She prefaced her statement with “I’m going to date myself by telling you this but….” What she didn’t realize was, she had dated herself long before her statement – when she handed me her business card.

Business cards represent a time gone by. When we didn’t have email, still wrote and received thank you cards and didn’t have built in CD players in our cars. Yep, business cards are dead. I can tell a lot about someone that wants to hand me a business card, I can tell even more if that card has a picture, rather, a  glamour shot, of the person. That’s another story though.

Today, communication is happening electronically. Yes, I do carry business cards, but much like a firearm, I hope I don’t have to use it. Why? Because handing it out means absolutely nothing.

I have a secret.

When you give me your business card, it goes in my pocket. When I get home, I empty my pockets – your business card goes into what I call, The Drawer Of Death. That’s because what goes into it, NEVER comes out. We all have our own variation of the Drawer Of Death, I bet yours is filled with forgotten business cards like mine.

Today, I exchange information vie email, Facebook email, iPhone app and of course – Twitter  In some scenarios it’s easiest to swap phone numbers — for texting – duh, no one actually calls anyone anymore :-) Electronic communication methods  allow people to keep in touch with each other [easier]. Your preferred method of communication says a lot about who you are [and who you aren’t].  Handing me a business card screams “I am not tech savvy!”. If someone truly cares about your product or service they are going to ask you for your information right then and there – then they will put it into their phone.

Today business opportunities are often presented based on your ability to engage. A business card offers little or no opportunity for engagement. Next time you are tempted to give out your business card or ask for someone else’, instead, ask for something that offers a residual benefit, that offers the opportunity to engage now and in the future, their facebook, twitter, website or phone number – for texting of course.

When someone asks for my information, I usually tell them one thing.

“Google Me”. Asking someone to Google me opens up engagement. That’s because when I {MyTitleGuy or Stephen Garner} am searched for in Google, the search results tell a potential client so much more about me, about what I do about my value than a business card ever could.

How do you exchange information with a potential customer?

Looking for help with your real estate business? Check out PRO-Found Marketing OR

Google Me.

Stephen

Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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  • http://www.gailkeithmarketing.com Gail Keith

    Love it!!While I still have biz cards – I receive them from time to time, they are a dieing animal. I have already experienced having a meeting with someone and we connect via Facebook right on the spot because they didn’t have biz cards on hand. I shouldn’t tell you this because you will find the article and write a blog before I get to it. But I heard a news story the other day of a company that no longer issues email addresses, they tell their employees to use twitter. Saves on server space. On Tosh.O the other night he referred to Blackberrys as the out of date clunkers that old folks use because they are afraid of iPhones. lol

  • http://mytitleguy.net MyTitleGuy

    Thanks for stopping by Gail! Yes, technology has changed how business is done. As far as I’m concerned, if my ideal client can’t “find” me, it’s my fault. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Search Engines (or their equilivant) is all the future generations need. What’s a business card? I don’t know what the future facebook and twitter are, i just know they will be online. How are things with you?

  • http://www.SORTEDorganizing.com Brenda Spangrud

    Oh Stephen- you’ve hit the nail on the head!!! As a professional organizer that specializes in paper piles, I see the “drawer of death” or “pile of death” created by business cards. I tell my clients to only keep those that are for follow up now and dispose of the ones for someday when.

    Although technology is amazing, there are those that still live in the paper world and aren’t comfortable letting go and making the transition. Then there are those that that are stuck half & half. Give them mercy (and my contact information) because more than likely there is the will, just not the way!