Using Proper Business Card Etiquette to Win Over Clients

Using commonsense when giving out business cards is a simple way to avoid a social snafu. However, social situations in the West aren’t quite as formalized as those in Eastern countries. When dealing with potential customers at a convention in the United States or the British Isles, offering your business card or accepting the one on offer is a simple transaction. Nevertheless, you should put your social skills to good use upon receipt of a business card. Comment on the card if you want to confirm details. If the card looks aesthetically pleasing, compliment the donor’s choice of color. Showing interest in the person’s card is an extension of showing interest in the person’s business.

Plain common sense can also be used in printing your own business cards. If the only e-mail address you’ve ever used is hotmamma1978@aol.com, maybe it’s time to set up a more business-friendly e-mail account before you even think about emblazoning your details on a business card.

Business Cards Can be More than Just About You

Another courtesy is to use both sides of the card to your advantage. You could have all of your own contact information on one side of the card. But ask yourself, how could the card be used by a potential client other than to contact you? An engineer may have different customary measurements listed alongside their various equivalents in metric. A chemist could print a small periodic table on the reverse of his business card. An English Lit professor might include quotes from his favorite Romantic poem. These may sound like gimmicks, but the card could have more utilitarian functions.

State department employees or government officials could have a listing of important federally funded helplines pertaining to their bailiwick. The diversity of material that can be put on a business card is endless. The card’s recipient might refer to the business card again and again, and maybe a year down the line, he or she will remember that the card is more than just a helpful aid to show how many centimeters there are in a foot. You’ll get a phone call when your expertise is required, and a business relationship may blossom.

Have a Little Fun with Your Business Cards

Business cards, in terms of their size, are slightly smaller than standard playing cards. They can easily fit into the wallet of a potential client or new business acquaintance. How can you make your card stand out? Presentation on the card itself – the layout, details, and colors – may draw a prospective client’s eye to your business card.

But let’s forget about the business card’s presentation: What about your own presentation of the business card? If you’ve struck up a good rapport at a social event, you might impress potential customers with an illusion or two using your business cards. That sleight of hand trick you taught yourself as a teen with the deck of cards after practising for months and months may get a chuckle of amazement, and you’ll stick out in a new contact’s memory. Use all the skills at your disposal to win the admiration of a possible customer when handing over your contact details.

There are some territories, such as Japan, and social events, such as critical business meetings, where parlor tricks like this might be regarded as ill-mannered. But if you’re holding a party for potential customers or attending an informal trade event, you can exploit the good humor at these social occasions to your advantage. The card’s size makes it easier to hide up your sleeve than the playing cards you’d be used to. Obviously, you need to gauge your audience: Will cynical onlookers view that one-handed card flip as the action of a “smooth operator”? Also be conscious that the CEO of a Japanese corporation won’t look too kindly on that trick where you pretend to tear up his card before revealing it in the same pristine condition that he offered it to you. Be aware too that people in Muslim countries will consider it an insult if you offer or accept a card with your left hand. So use your common sense, as usual. If you’re unfamiliar with a client base’s culture, don’t do anything with your business cards that might scare them away!

Article created on 10/27/2008

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