“Do you have a business card?” “No, but I can throw some out of my window for you when I am back at my office.”
I first heard this reply from my favorite mentor and sales technique inspiration Claude Diamond.
It has a lot of truth in it, and by hearing that, you might think that it doesn’t make sense at all to carry around business cards that you throw at people that you meet.
Another cliché or mental image is the guy with the oily hair at a “free” networking event who is only talking about himself and then throws his business card around stuffed with outdated stock photos and a fat logo of his company on top.
It doesn’t have to be that way and today you will learn how you can make your business card the best you‘ve ever had and never lose any “offline” opportunities again.
This “offline” situation is also about conversion, and part of the “power triangle” I mentioned in my first article.
What’s the Function of a Real Estate Business Card?
Let’s apply the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) formula of copywriting to a business card.
So, you want to get attention for your new contact. You want to get them interested to read further and create the desire to use the information provided on the business card to contact you, ideally for new business.
In a meeting, at a conference or any other encounter in all kinds of different places, you sometimes get the opportunity to talk to new people who could turn out to be potential clients for your real estate business.
In these moments, you would ideally have some hasslefree information handy that you can give out, so you don’t lose a potentially good opportunity.
If the person is old-school or if the situation requires it due to social or cultural reasons, you might want to use a business card or a smart phone with an easy to scan QR code when the traditional business card route is not necessary.
Business Cards from a Conversion Perspective
One element of conversion is to make it as easy and as desirable as possible for the prospect or lead to take action.
Did you know that according to a statistic from Adobe, 88 percent of business cards handed out get thrown away within a week?
So there is some truth in the funny reply from my teacher.
But this means that, on the other hand, 12 percent of business cards handed out don’t get thrown away and may get used to contact you for new business.
I don’t have further statistics about the remaining 12 percent. But many optimists and business card fans would say that 12 percent will contact you for new business and become clients.
If we compare this to online marketing, this would be the conversion from website visitor to email subscriber.
But not all email subscribers become clients.
Depending on your offer (the area of economics in the power triangle) and how much this offer meets the needs of the potential client, there is another conversion rate that needs to be taken into account.
It’s the step from email subscriber to client, or from business card recipient to client.
According to this article, the average open rate of emails is roughly 18 percent.
This number seems quite low to me, and it is very likely that it is higher for business cards, since you established a personal connection when handing it out.
So, let’s estimate a more positive rate of let’s say, 36 percent.
When we apply this 36% to the 12% of the business card “retaining rate,” we get a likely realistic “business card to customer conversion rate” of 12% x 36% = 4.3%.
Of course, all these numbers are relative since it all depends on how good your business cards convert and, in the end, how good your sales skills are.
How You Can Influence the Conversion Rate of a Business Card
What action do we want the person to take when they receive a business card?
Exactly, the first is to not throw it away and second, to contact us for potential business, so you can sell them something.
Usually when you give out a business card, the person receiving it stores it somewhere.
And if it doesn’t get washed when doing the laundry because she or he forgot to take it out of the pants pocket, it gets stored in the tray on a table somewhere in the office or another room.
If you have great attention-grabbing copy on the business card that meets the right needs, the person might make a mental note to not store the information somewhere where it could get lost.
The next step for this interested person would be to use an app to store the information in some sort of contact database or CRM (customer relationship management software) or doing it the traditional way and typing the information in a physical address book (who still has a physical address book? I am curious).
So, ideally, we have the steps that your new contact needs to take:
- Receiving the business card
- Storing it temporally in a pocket, handbag or wallet
- Taking it out of the temporal storage and passing the contact information over to a sort of contact database (e.g. Google Contacts, MS Office, etc.)
So, to increase the conversion rate, you need to make those steps as easy and smooth as possible.
Regarding Step 1: Here it’s not only the business card that counts but how the interaction between you and the potential client goes, so the handing over of the business card must be in the right frame so it is remembered.
So, the guy who is only talking and throws his business cards around won’t be remembered very well and thus doesn’t create the positive frame to be remembered.
Regarding Step 2: This one, you can’t influence very much and it is a tricky one.
Maybe you could encourage the new contact to store it in a place where he doesn’t store the other business cards he received.
If you have a QR code printed on it, you could get him to scan the code before storing it in his pocket.
This might make him remember you better. (e.g. “Ah the guy who made me scan his QR code on the card at once.”)
Regarding Step 3: I already mentioned the use of a QR code on the business card. By using it, you could get rid of this additional step altogether.
You drastically reduce the steps required to pass the contact information manually into a contact database and make it less of a hassle and obstacle for your new contact to access your contact information.
To have a great attention-grabbing business card, what you can do is:
- Put your name and photo on it
- Putting Your USP on it (unique selling proposition)
- Use a QR code
- Put a call to action on it
- Put a testimonial on it
- Add relevant accreditation or trade association memberships
- Use both sides of the card
- Don’t be afraid of space on the card. It shouldn’t get stuffed. The information you store with the QR code helps with that
Here are some examples of the best and worst real estate business cards of 2019. I like number 16 best, although none have a QR code.
And here, numbers 1 and 3 are my favorites (QR code is present).
If you want to store important contact information with a QR code, I can recommend two websites. The first one is not free, but the second one is.
There is a sort of debate going on with two factions.
One wants to stay with the traditional business cards and the other one wants to go completely digital.
Yes, you could basically do it only with QR codes and save one as a picture on your smartphone and then let the new contact just scan the picture with the code.
I can’t back it up with A/B tests and statistics, but my feeling is that a flexible hybrid solution will be the most effective one here.
So, you still use your well-designed physical business card, but with your QR code on it.
By doing that, you can still have a picture of your QR code on your smartphone (you generate it for your business card anyways), so you can use one of the two according to the social situation you are in and your target group of potential clients (e.g. a young real estate buyer working in the tech industry in Silicon Valley vs. a real estate buyer in her sixties from the midwest).
Let me know if I have missed something. And good luck should you upgrade your business cards soon.
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