Use biz cards? Shred ’em!

This week's question from my portal “The Neagle Code: Directions for Life” comes from Anna.

Question:

Hi David,
I find myself obsessing over business card and website design for my local service business, and nothing I produce ever satisfies me. I am at the point where I'd be happier just forgetting about those marketing tools completely. I'd rather approach prospects face-to-face and rely on my personality and positive energy instead. Do you think it's a mistake for me to not have business cards and a website?
Thank you for your time!

Answer:

Hi and thanks for your question!

You know, I NEVER carry business cards and I tell all my students to do the same.

When networking, if someone asks for your card, tell them that you don't carry cards, but you'd be happy to take one of theirs and follow up with them. Take their card and write notes on the back so you can remember the conversation you had.

That way YOU are in control of the follow up.

Last year my website was down for almost a year, and my company GREW!

Actually it was my best year yet.

Most marketers will tell you that you MUST have a website. I disagree.

NOTHING can take the place of a personalized person-to-person approach to sales.

In fact, in this market, it's been the single most IMPORTANT thing my company has done.

Don't get me wrong, a website has a purpose, but if your most pressing need is sales and income, a website is not going to get you closer to that goal. Your ability to reach out to someone, have an effective conversation, and close a sale WILL.

My advice would be to prioritize.

First, bring in the sales through one on one conversations, and when you have the capital, build a website that focuses on collecting opt-ins to build your marketing list.

“Just Believe”,®

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16 comments

  1. LOVE this advice, David! It’s refreshing and I so appreciate that you tell us what you’re actually doing in your own marketing (and that you are willing to say the opposite of what everyone else is saying).

    For what it’s worth, the only place I have to disagree with you here 🙂 is for those folks selling to corporations. A recent benchmarking study found that 80% of corporate decision makers check out an expert’s website before they return a voicemail, an email or schedule a time to talk with them. So it really is important in the B2B corporate market space.

    On the business card front, I’m quite curious as to how corporate people at, say, an industry association conference would respond if I used the line that I don’t carry business cards. I’m really intrigued by the strategy. I’m going to test it out at an event I’m speaking at in June for IABC and see if it works.

    My hunch is that it will. I’ll let you know!

    -Angelique
    The Corporate Agent

    • Thanks for the post Angelique. I appreciate your perspective and look forward to hearing how your business card experiment plays out at the event you’ll be attending in June. Let’s put this into action!

  2. Awesome! Such a refreshing perspective…I also started noticing a particular dead and draining feeling every time I thought I needed to focus on cards and website and while it took me a some time to figure out what that feeling meant, it was so freeing to finally drop that focus and direct my attention to connecting with the people I’m here to serve instead…(it’s also a lot more fun!)

    Thanks for sharing this feedback with us David- I love the way you have of getting to the heart of what really matters — it’s helped me to make some big shifts at critical moments in building my business 🙂

    With much gratitude, Angela

    • That’s great Angela! Just know that when you allow yourself to be distracted by these ‘bright and shiny objects’ like cards and website it’s so easy to get off course from what it is that you truly need in that moment. I appreciate the post.

  3. Wow, David, that’s great advice and not advice I’ve heard before. I’ve been stressing over not having business cards that go along with my niche or an extensive website, and your advice takes a load of stress off of me. Thanks and look forward to meeting you at your September event!

    • Thanks Stephanie; some would say a bit unconventional but it works for me and my team. It all comes back to what your most pressing need is at the moment. For the majority I speak with it is sales. A business card is not going to satisfy that.

    • Whether your are an introvert or an extrovert Lalitha, most of us here are in the service business. It is becoming increasingly difficult to make sales via email since they just don’t convert as well as getting on the phone. That being said, one cannot ignore the use of a website because it is where people go to look for you. It’s the social proof, but reaching out and touching someone has never been more important than it is today.

  4. I like this advice a lot and am going to remember to start getting contact info for anyone who inquires about my services. I already ask for cards but find in my industry that many people forget their own cards and don’t have anything to give me. I’ll start asking for their contact info anyway – to jot down in a follow up list – but will still make sure they get one of my cards too.

    • Thanks Felicia. However you choose to do it is entirely up to you, but whatever it is make sure to keep the communication in your hands. This makes all the difference.

  5. but David, what happens when you keep running into folks who have taken this advice?
    And isn’t an in-person meeting with someone wherein you will take their card one of those personal one on one opportunities? Of course get their card, but what is really wrong about giving them yours?

    • There is really nothing wrong about giving them your card Beth, but generally it’s just a polite exchange and if you’re there to do business then you should have a proper funnel in place. They are either right for your service or not. If they are, then you can move forward. If they are not, then getting a card is just a polite activity that doesn’t do either of you justice and it contributes to building a false list. My thought has always been if you have 10,000 cards and you put all those people on your email list, knowing they are not your ideal client, you might as well have no list at all.

  6. I agree about cards. So, are you saying if I’m going to be a sponsor at an event, all I need is “Me” and the question “how can I help you”? (Compassionate Conversation) Oh, yes and a fish bowl to collect their contact info? No website.

    • For sure Linda. You will surely need a strategy for collecting information (Ala the fishbowl), and of course for following up with those you do connect with. I strongly suggest going in with a clear goal of what you hope to accomplish in the opportunity, which will allow you to stay focused on that result. As far as the website, if its sales you need then spending time on building the perfect site is time not well spent. I appreciate the post.

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