The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Basic narcissism of business cards

So, the guy came by the house to sell me new gutters. I told him that I didn’t want new gutters, and after he talked to me for about 30 minutes he finally got the message that I didn’t want new gutters. As he was about to go away, I asked him for his business card. I always ask for a business card. As it happens all too frequently in my experience, the guy said , “Ummmm . . . sure. I think I have one in my truck.”

The problem with a standard business card is that it is pure, unadulterated self-promotion. Business cards are “me-centric“, as Seth Godin called it.

Here is my phone number, fax number, cell phone number, voice mail number, email address, and mailing address. Contact me.

Why should I call you?

Be sure to hang onto my business card for future reference. Even if you don’t need me now, you might in a year or two. Plus, it cost me 3 cents to have printed.

Why should I keep your business card?

I suspect that people are not excited about handing out their own business cards because on some deep intuitive level they understand ninety-nine and forty-four hundredths percent of those business cards will end up in the trash. Plus, many people have an ingrained resistance to shameless self-promotion.

Standard business cards have no immediacy, no urgency, no offer, and nothing about them to warrant their retention.

I always ask for business cards. I put them in a box. Once every year or so I go through this collection. My standard reaction is “Who the hell is that?”, or “I don’t remember this at all.” I keep the really good business cards, but ninety-nine and forty-four hundredths percent of those business cards will end up in the trash.

It is all a massive waste of opportunity.

My next business card will have this image printed on the reverse side.

Relax chick business card

Every guy I give my business card will keep it. When his wife asks him why he’s keeping this photo of a nearly naked chick, he’ll answer, “Oh, that’s Tom Fox’s business card. I’m going to call him someday. It has nothing to do with the photo of the nearly naked babe.”

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Written by Tom Fox

05/07/2008 at 1:04 pm

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