That iconic scene from American Psycho where Patrick Bateman gets one upped on the quality of his business card is something that everyone should really take into consideration when hand picking their business cards. So that you too can feel a righteous sense of accomplishment when you’re asked those 6 words that are like a call to stand up and take your place as a true champion, “Do you have a business card?”. You should be able to relish in that sense of pride that washes over you as you hand over your painstakingly designed business card, that has been printed on just the right paper that represents you as a maverick in your field, as they take that first glance at your business logo or title and accept you as their hero!
So once this monumental moment has taken place and etched into history for all eternity what happens after that?
In most cases the answer is absolutely nothing! Yes nothing. Which brings the question, “Business cards are they now pointless?” Any business seminar, entrepreneurial master class (held in any of the hotel conference rooms across the globe) or any branding professional will tell you that if you are doing business, be it buying or selling and you want to be taken seriously then you must have a well designed professional business card. It would seem that the business card seems to be the final bastion against the digital reign, a final stand for paper! The idea is that the exchange of this piece of card is that tangible physical engagement that will stay with the person you are engaging with that will remain in their psyche, and when they look at it again they will instantly be transported back to that magical moment you bestowed upon them, and in turn it will nudge them to contact you for another dose of that magic. Well here in the real world of short memories, busy lives and good old bullshit more times than not that magical monumental moment is a more a cheap card trick than a parting of the seas, a moment in the mind rather than a life changing experience that will lead to no future contact beyond the wave as you both acknowledge each other in what looks like an acknowledgement of the beginning of a beautiful business relationship. But is in fact a farewell much like when you wave from your doorstep at the one night stand as she gets into her cab with her heels in hand.
So now that you know that your business cards are only worth a moment on the mind do you make the decision to not bother with this archaic practice?
Well here’s the thing. Do you really want to be the one looking unprofessional when you are out peddling you wears at a networking event and you get to indulging in a magical conversation with the business opportunity of your dreams, and when asked those 6 words you have to respond with “I don’t have one”. And have them look down upon you like some charlatan? Do you want to miss your moment to stand like a hero in their eyes? I hear you asking why should it even matter, we’ve both got smart phones and don’t need to add to the decay of the rain forest with these ridiculous business etiquette gestures, when we can just enter each other’s details in to our phones and follow them on social media there and then? And it’s a good question. Well here is your answer. So it’s the end the evening you both wave across the room and give gestures that say “we’ll talk soon”. Well it would appear that soon is a mighty long time, as weeks and months have passed since you exchanged details and no revisiting of the magic. And you start to question yourself, “Have they not contacted you because they haven’t seen your fancy logo? Have you got lost in the wilderness of contacts in their phone? If only you’d had a business card to give them, surely they would have called if you had that all important piece of paper?”
What to do, what to do?