You can sell a product or service for a significant amount of money and do it without a business card. We've done it, and you can too.
The business card served its purpose, which was to communicate contact information for potential use at a later date and (as silly as it sounds) verify legitimacy in a pre-online world, but the business card is not the relevant business tool it once was.
Frustrated at networking events knowing that there's only so much pocket space for a cell phone, wallet, car keys, and a stack of business cards, we sought a better way.
Here's what we did.
We accepted two basic principles that helped set us free of the business card...
The first principle is: There are two types of people that receive business cards:
- Those who take your business card and then throw it out.
- Those who take your business card and then put it in a stack of other business cards that's held together with a rubber band, and never really look at it again.
The second principle is: If someone is potentially going to do business with you, they're going to background check you - Google search you. LinkedIn resume check you. Twitter Post investigate you. And Review Site scope you.
It's happening right now.
What we did...
We used a talk track to cover those social situations where we did not have a business card and people wanted to exchange information. It went like this:
Forgive me, I don't have any business cards on me but if you'd kindly give me your card, I'll be sure to email you with all of my contact information.
It was at this point that most everyone presented us with their business card (long live social habits), which we collected and then used to send an email as a follow up.
This method has two wonderful benefits (three if you count lighter pants):
1. Our email and contact information, when sent, can be saved with ease and archived away with a click of a button - increasing the odds of being viewed or used at a later date when the time is right - which is the exact goal of a business card. I can view any contact information I saved via email on my mobile device right now, thanks to cloud-based technology.
2. Our email signature has the opportunity to create a greater and longer lasting impression. Email signatures can contain links to our website/blog/social networks, etc., all of which provide more detailed information than a business card, as well as your signature can contain images or photos.
If they do not have a business card, our talk track continued like this:
No worries. Let me pull out my phone and take down your contact information, this way I can email you.
At this point, you can choose to send an email right then and there from your mobile device or store the contact info and send a connection email later. If you choose to email from your mobile, take note that your mobile email signature may be different or less robust than your desktop email signature - make sure you're accomplishing your goals of delivering contact information and making an impression with your email signature.
We've been able to develop wonderful business relationships that begin this way, and hope that this method helps provide a bit more freedom in your business life, if that's something you're looking for.
To the Entrepreneurs and Businessmen with the bulky pockets heading to hang out at the next networking event...let the old social habits go. We won't think you're weird for not having a business card.