Is the Business Card Dead?

10-08-2016  The business card has been around for nearly four centuries, dating back to France’s King Louis XIV.  At that time, the card was used to announce visiting elite and was adorned with gold leaf and the crest of the nobility. The technology behind the card may be changing, but the spirit of the business card remains the same, heralding the possibility of a fruitful and harmonious relationship between two professionals.

Benefits Of The Old School Card

Before looking at ways to make it better and more modern, it is important to understand the role that the traditional business card plays in business relationships. At its most basic, a business card is a slip of paper with contact information on it. Whatever you do to improve it, the business card must be able to carry this data with it. The physical card itself plays an important part in establishing business relationships. It allows you to break the ice, with a token of your establishment, and opens the opportunity to begin a dialogue so that the information on the card is linked to real human interaction. All over the world, etiquette and social norms have been developed around the exchange of this little paper card.

“Teching Up” The Business Card

In order to maintain the custom of exchanging business cards but increase the amount of data that the card can carry, business people have begun to add Near Field Communication (NFC) chips into their cards. Embedded into the paper, these simple circuits work with today’s high-powered smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge to deliver the extra information that a traditional business card can not. With a swipe of the phone, the card will open up your website, connect the person to your social media groups, and share personal preferences, like playlists. This allows you the social interaction of a business card but keeps it going long after the prospect leaves.

The Virtual Bump

Not everyone is part of the business card culture. The Millennial Generation has grown up with a smartphone in their collective hands to the point that a new cultural paradigm has been created. This outlook has seeped into all aspects of life, including work and business environments. For this younger generation of business people, the business card is being replaced by Beacon and equivalent technologies. This system of near field communication resides on the smartphone and passively tells people in the area that you are there. With your permission, it will transfer whatever data you choose from your mobile device to the people in your vicinity. Beacon technology is extremely versatile. For example, a conference host may code every attendee into one system, allowing them to identify each other and create the same social interactions as a business card. All of this can happen with a bump between two smartphones.

Offline To Online Applications

Whether physical, virtual or some combination of the two, your goal with a business card is to move the customer from an offline interaction to an online business relationship. This means creating a robust Person Wide Web (PWW) with your contact data as well as a glimpse into your personality and business offerings. It should invite a potential stakeholder into an association that is centered on your brand. Your PWW is today’s version of the noble’s crest; use it to herald brilliant collaborations.

Another Opportunity for Meaningful Connection

One of the most valuable things we ever did was write a book. Yes, write a book.  If you’re writing online, why not connect your various thoughts, combine the objectives, and create a book that you can leave for a new client?  One of most significant things we have discovered is that you can successfully use the Business Card when you open the door, but to leave a significant impact, simply pull a copy of your book out of your briefcase, and share this with your new connection:

“A few years ago, I wrote a book.  I’d like to leave you a copy.  Perhaps you may find something of value in the book.  I hope so.”

Then ask…and this is one of the key points,

“How would you like for me to autograph it?” 

If you want to create lasting impact, you’ll leave a copy of your book.  No one will turn it down, because you’re an AUTHOR.  I’ve even had people to whom I gave copies of the book call me and ask me to send them another book for a friend…or, because they have worn out the cover or they’d like to have one for the office, etc.  If you’re a writer or blogger, consider this suggestion.  It will prove to be valuable many times over.

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