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7 Ways to Magically Turn a Business Card into a Paying Client

by Jay Reeves |

business cardDon’t become so consumed with marketing your practice online and through social media that you overlook the awesome power of a tiny slip of paper that costs only pennies and fits easily inside your pocket.

We’re talking of course about the humble business card.

These days it’s not getting much respect. It’s small and cheap. You can crank one out at your desk in minutes. And compared with sexier alternatives like SEO and targeted tweets, it is a decidedly old-school method of marketing.

But despite mind-boggling advances in technology and communication, the business card remains a potent – and often underutilized – marketing tool.

“The business card is the most powerful single business tool – dollar for dollar – you can invest in,” says networking guru Ivan Misner. “It’s compact, energy-efficient, low-cost, low-tech, and keeps working for you hours, weeks and even years after it leaves your hands.”

Your business card does far more than simply tell people who you are and what you do. It gives them a way – several ways, preferably – to contact you. It imparts a sense of your personality. And it leaves them with something tangible to take with them and share with others.

“People have mixed feelings about business cards,” says Meredith Fineman in Entrepreneur. “Some think they are silly, but I will tell you, they still matter. Some people throw them in the trash or have forgone them altogether. But it’s the most literal and physical representation of yourself besides, you know, standing in front of someone.”

7 Tips For Business Card Bliss

Here are some ways to get the most out of your business card:

  1. Make it memorable. Those of us of a certain age can remember when all business cards were pretty much the same: black, white and rectangular. No longer. Cards now come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Consider adding something to yours – an image, a favorite quotation, a unique typeface – to make it stand out. But remember: you want to get hired as a lawyer, not a graphic designer. Keep it professional and dignified.
  2. Don’t leave home without it. “It’s a great idea to keep a small box of your cards in your glove box, just in case you find yourself in a situation where you need more than you’ve carried in your pocket or purse,” says Misner. “In addition to my jacket pocket, I tuck them away in my briefcase, wallet and computer bag, just to make sure I never run out.”
  3. Ask others for their card first. When networking, use the tried-and-true Dale Carnegie method of expressing interest in others before talking about yourself. Put the focus on them. Ask what they do. Get them talking first. That way, when you request their business card, it will seem comfortable and natural to give them yours in exchange.
  4. Write key information on the back of cards you collect. “After the conversation ends, make sure to write down three things on the back of the card you acquired: the date, where you were and what you talked about,” says lawyer and author Larry Bodine. “When you get back to the office, immediately enter this information into your computer contact list. Don’t stick the card into a stack with a rubber band, because it cannot be searched electronically.”
  5. Follow up with anyone who gives you their card. “There is no better way to close a connection than a simple email or hand-written note,” says former NFL quarterback-turned-entrepreneur Mike Kafka. “Be impeccable with your word. For example, if you tell someone that you are going to reach out to him or her, do it. This will reiterate your commitment to the connection and allow for easier transitions in to future conversations.”
  6. Don’t overcrowd your card. “One email, one to two URLs and one phone number,” advises Fineman. “Otherwise, it’s sensory overload and someone will ignore most of it.”
  7. Follow the rules. Business cards – like all lawyer marketing and communications – are subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct. Make sure yours is in compliance.

How do you use your business card?