The possibilities of the business card
Calling cards, once an integral part of the courting ritual of the 17th and 18th centuries, became vital to the promotion of the businesses of the industrial revolution. The “trade card,” which was handed out freely, included the name of the business, services provided and a map to the shop location. Remember, in those early years, all communication was local. Word of mouth was the norm.
There was no Internet. No Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, web pages, blogs, electronic newsletters or special group discussions demanding your time and offering to spread the word of your law practice. It is true that an interesting and informative blog or newsletter distributed to your clients keeps them informed and keeps your name in their minds; sort of a modern ‘word of mouth,’which can bring in business.
One can ask, is there a place for the common business card in this modern electronic world?
They can be a goldmine of information.
The business card can be:
- The start of a relationship that can bring you new clients
- An addition to your network of referral sources, or
- A person you can introduce to another contact creating a mutually beneficial joint business venture; with you as their lawyer, of course.
How do you make this come about?
1. When you receive a card and before you shove it in your pocket, look at it. If it is unique in some way, comment on it. Be sure there is contact information. And, most important, on the back of the card, write the date, where you are and what you talked about. The person will be flattered you are so thorough and you won’t forget.
2. When you get back to the office, do not throw the cards in a drawer, put the information in your favorite contacts list, particularly what you discussed.
3. As you gain more information about the person, such as family relationships, interests, job changes and any particular problem they may have, record that information. You now have a basis for a business relationship.
4. Now use your LinkedIn account to invite this person to be in your network. More connections equal more contacts equals more business.
As it was in the 17thcentury, it is now—who you know is more important than what you know. And it can start with that little goldmine of information, the business card.