In the business world, owning a business card is important. But it does not end there. It is one thing to own a business card, and it is another thing to exchange business cards and master the important etiquette that comes with it.
Many persons today focus on just owning a beautiful business card and they tend to forget or pay no attention to the importance of business card etiquette and the advantages that are associated with it.
Statistics have it that people have only 30 seconds to either make a good impression, an excellent one, or a bad one. It is as a result of these that many persons are very keen about what clothes they are to put on, what shoes they are to wear, how they are to act, gesture, and even eat if meals are served. All these are put into consideration and practiced in other to create a perfect first impression.
Having in mind that the things mentioned above are consciously taken into consideration by virtually every business person, this article would focus on that which is barely paid attention to. You might be wondering what that might be. It is how properly exchange business cards. This article contains what you need to do, and how to do them before and after you exchange your business card with other business personnel, investors or interlocutors. You might be wondering, is there is any need for this? Can’t I just hand my card to other interlocutors in whatever way I desire? The answer to these questions are yes and no respectively. And you will see reasons as you read on.
What you need to know and always remember about business cards etiquette
1. Always have them Handy
An opportunity to hand out your card can arise at any time. And if you do not have your card on hand at that moment, you could miss out on that opportunity. Whether your business is a new one or an already established one, you do not want to miss out on opportunities. Always ensure you have your business cards with you at all times so that once the need arises, with ease, class, and style you would hand over your card to who you want to. This not only makes you look composed. It makes you look professional and well-coordinated. And this is very good for your business growth. It also saves you from looking unserious. For example: imagine meeting a prospective business partner and instead of handing him or her a business card which contains all your necessary business detail, you start asking for writing materials to put down your details. You would agree that handing over a business card would surely make you look more coordinated. So, to save yourself from embarrassment, ensure you have your business card with you at all times.
2. Your business card is not a souvenir
Either the business is a new one or an old one, always remember that your business card is not a souvenir or candy. Do not hand it over to everyone you come across. Be speculative. Do your best to hand it over to those who would value it. Many persons who hold seminars are in the habit of giving their business cards to all attendees. Do not do the same. Hand your business cards to only those who indicate interest to have it. It is not compulsory that everyone present must have one. Because the fact remains that not everyone would patronize you even if you hand out your card to everyone present. Learn to place value on your business cards. When onlookers see how much you value your business cards, they might be moved to value it too.
Do not force your cards into cars, the hands of strangers, or even the vicinity of uninterested persons. It is rude to do so. So, be certain that the person you are handing over your card is interested in having it. Where the person rejects it, respectfully oblige. There would certainly be someone out there who would be willing to have it.
If you desire to create more awareness for your product, rather than share your business card to everyone you meet like candy, utilize other advertisement strategies. You could use billboards, catalogs, brochures television adverts and so on.
3. Ask for a card in return
You might be wondering why this is necessary. Asking for a card in return is very advantageous. It automatically gives you the contact of the other party. This would enable easier follow up. Again, no man is an island, you might need the services of that person someday. When the need arises, just as you would want other persons to reach out to you when they require your services, do so to others. Again, the need for forming a partnership might arise someday. Having the business card of someone who offers those services would be a good start for you. Asking for a card in return also gives you access to their e-mails and social media handles. This means that you could follow them up on social media. And this would be good because the opportunities that the media offers are numerous.
This does not mean that you should go around collecting tons of cards that you are certain that you would not need. Take only what you need or what would be useful to you. This is so that you do not start wasting the business card of others. It was printed with money just like yours was. And just as you would not want people taking your cards just to throw them away, do not do the same to others.
4. Be bold
Do not tremble when speaking. Be confident in yourself and your business. If you begin to tremble, shy away or cower in fear, people would become skeptical to try your product or even employ your services if you render any. So be bold and convincing.
5. Ask questions
Many of those just starting a new business find it difficult to ask questions. Some assume that it would be rude while others just shy away from doing so. If you belong to either of these categories, you need to change. When you have questions, boldly and respectfully ask your question. If you need the contact of the person you are talking to, go ahead and ask for it. If you intend to follow up on the individual as a result of his or her level of interest shown, go ahead and ask if the person would have a problem with it. If you keep Silent, you will build unnecessary restrictions for yourself and this would not be good for your business.
6. Apply good judgment and discernment
Good judgment and discernment are very important in every business. It would help you decipher when to speak and when not to. For example, it is improper to go for burial and while many persons are grieving, you start Speaking of your business. So, it is best to always choose the right time to speak. If you advertise your business at the right time and in the right gathering, you can be certain that you would have not only the right audience but also lots of interested persons and patronizers.
7. Show appreciation
Showing appreciation can go a long way. So do not forget to show appreciation. The very little things matter. In almost every culture, showing appreciation goes a long way to determine how mannered you are. Not showing appreciation might send the impression that you are rude, disrespectful, ungrateful and many more. So, to avoid all of these, always show appreciation.
8. Wear a warm smile.
A smile makes onlookers feel that you are friendly. So learn to do it. Most persons usually say; “I don’t know how to smile.” “that’s how my face is”. “With time they will know I am a friendly person”. In business, all of these excuses would not matter. It is all about the first impression. You do not want to send the wrong message while trying a make a good first impression. So make sure you wear a smile.
Also, remember that many persons might feel threatened when they see a stranger walking toward them without a smile. Some might even avoid you before you get to them. And you do not want to scare your prospective customers away because of your looks.
9. Keep your business cards neat at all times.
How your card looks tells the public about you. It tells if you are orderly or tattered, and it tells about your hygiene level, as well. To ensures that your business cards are neat at all times, endeavor to keep them out of the reach of children. Do not allow food particles to drop on them. Do not put them in very small spaces that could cause them to tear or squeeze. Ensure that the place you store them is not overly cramped. It is important that you put them in a presentable place as well. So that when you bring them out in public, it does not look offensive.
10. Lastly, protect your business cards
Do not keep them carelessly in such a way that they could get missing. This is because your business card is your primary means of advertising your business. If it gets into the wrong hands, it could be used for fraud. So, be very careful with your cards.