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Are you sitting at your desk wondering how to attract more customers? Where are your business cards? Are they on top of your desk in a convenient holder or perhaps they are inside your desk drawer under a pile of papers. How do you expect your customers to find you when they have to trawl through the yellow pages or on the internet when they can't remember your number.
Do you think that business cards are now passé with the use of the internet? This isn't the case as people still like a personal touch not a random entry on the internet. They want to know that you are a solid business. A tangible reminder is often reached for before they will search for a new service on the internet.
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Quality business cards
If you are expecting people to use your services, your business card is your calling card. Use a one that feels like you mean business. It is as important as the clothes you are wearing. Perhaps more so because it will hopefully be with them long after you leave. If it is unprofessional your potential client will assume the service you provide is equally unprofessional and consequently will opt to use the services of someone else.
If you are offering your services to someone, a business card placed in their hand is a great reminder and adds a professional verification that you are ready and willing to help them.
Everyone thinks that the business card has to be handed to a potential client to be effective. This isn't always the case. Below I will suggest a few other options to get your business card into the hands of potential customers.
Keep it with you
When you go out, do you always have your cards with you? Whether you are going out socially or out on a business trip, you should carry your them with you. This is the difference between successful salespeople and the also-rans. Never miss an opportunity to pass your card onto someone. If you are in a conversation with someone and they say, “ Hi Bob, what line of business are you in?” Ka-ching that is your opportunity to pass your card to them. You don't have to follow this up with a hard sell, just say, “If you are in the market for 'Insert your business here' give me a call." They may call you next week, next month or they may pass your card onto someone else. Business cards aren't usually thrown away, they are placed in a drawer, wallet or a notice board.
Where to place your business card
So besides having your card with you at all times for a potential client to ask for it, where else can you put it?
"What?" I hear you say. Let me explain. Let's say for example you are a dog trainer. Go to the section of books on this subject and pop your card into a couple of the books that look promising. People like books with photographs so keep this in mind. Tuck the card deep in the centre so the card doesn't fall out when they take it to the desk, you want the card to go home with the book. This could be used for such areas as gardening, computer maintenance, or learning languages. If you are a maths teacher you could have a card for tutoring maths tucked inside a homework help book. If you repair sewing machines, pop your card into a craft book. Remember you are targeting your market here.
Do you attend church services? Leave one of your cards inside the hymn book, if the vicar asks why your card is in the hymn book just tell him you were using it as a reading guide.
Does your grocery store have a notice board? Often these are near the front of the store and are offered as a service to the community. Normally they are free or are offered for a nominal charge. Put your card up there. Check frequently to ensure it is still there. Sometimes people don't just write the number down, they walk off with the card.
In the UK there are newsagents who also offer a service to place an advertisement in their window.
Networking brings customers
Go to networking meetings, these are often held in hotels and there is normally a charge for this but there will be many businessmen/women swapping ideas, information and it is possible your services will match the needs of someone at the meeting
Give talks to groups of people, these can be for all ages. Schools, Boy Scouts, church groups, women's groups, Wherever there is a gathering of people they all need speakers. This is a great way to promote your business. You will give a talk, surrounding your field of expertise, possibly a slide show and of course you will have literature including your business cards for the potential clients to take with them. Tailor your information to your audience.
In public bathrooms
If you are saying, in your John McEnroe tone, "you cannot be serious", well yes I can, and am. Think about it, you have a captive audience. Currently in many public restrooms, there is a notice on the back of the stall doors. This is a perfect place for advertising. Or in the corner of mirror. The top corner works best as it avoids moisture getting to it. If you are worried about it being removed, have a word with the cleaners. If they know you or you possibly pay them a small amount to keep your card there it is a win win situation for both of you.
Leave your card at other businesses
Often other businesses will have a bulletin board where you are allowed to put your business card up. It is important to not allow this to get covered up by others. Check back often and reorganize so your card is in a prominent position.
At some restaurants, for example, near the check-out, there will be a place to drop your business card into a bowl which will go into a draw sometimes for a free meal. Pop your card in there, people often glance around whilst waiting to pay.