Thursday, March 19, 2009

Avoid Business Card Blunders

Have you attended any networking events lately? Joined any new business groups? Met a new client for coffee? If you've done any of these things, then you've probably been passing out your business card. Does it make the grade?

Make sure your business card follows these guidelines set by sales trainer Renee Walkup and you'll be in good shape for your upcoming networking opportunities.

1. The name you like to be called. If your name is "Robert" and you prefer to go by "Bob", use your nickname. Otherwise, those who see your card will call you by the name you would rather not use.

2. Include your business title. People like to know what you do in a company. If your title is confusing, archaic, or just plain wrong, get a new title or order new cards. This is important.

3. Include your email address. If you want people to find you, especially customers, email is absolutely a necessity. Not just your website, but your specific email.

4. Phone numbers are critical, as well. If you have a toll free number, include that. A direct line with the extension is great, and of course, if you are extremely mobile, include your cell phone. Customers need to know how to get in touch with you.

5. Your address is important, too. Customers like to know what city and state you are in. They also want to know how far you are from their facility. If you work from home, include the corporate or branch office address. Avoid a PO Box number, unless it's essential to getting your mail there. Most people dislike working with those who don't have an address. By the same token, if you work from home, it's best not to include a home address. It doesn't look as professional "348 Homewood Court" as a business address and there may be safety reasons as to why you wouldn't want your home address on a card.

6. If there is room on the front, back or inside a fold-over card flap, include what your business does, any critical certification, or a special offer. These types of messages often are conversation-starters and help customers gain a better understanding of your business at a glance.

Renee Walkup is president of SalesPEAK Inc. and author of "Selling to Anyone Over the Phone."

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