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.”


Written by Tom Fox

05/07/2008 at 1:04 pm

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