Why your business card is making you lose business
By Tyler Hoffman, FMA
There are four key processes that you absolutely must have in order to run a successful business: You must attract, convert, leverage and retain clients.
Whatever you use as your personal marketing tool is the centerpiece of how you attract, convert, leverage and retain your clients. There are a lot of choices when it comes to personal marketing tools. Many of you have personal brochures, websites, networking groups and, of course, the old standby: the business card.
And in this age of technological advancement, more and more professionals are starting to use the multimedia presentation.
Let's talk about how we close more sales. How do we close a higher percentage of the prospects we're in front of? And how do we get in front of the right type of prospects to begin with?
In order to close more sales, we first have to understand the competitive nature of this business. The public has more choices today than ever before. In fact, your prospect will speak to and interview three or four different financial advisers, insurance agents or financial planners before they finally select one. So, it simply boils down to how they see you versus the competition.
If they're going to speak to and interview three or four different competitors before they finally select one, then the last thing in the world you want to do is look just like everyone else. What are you going to do to separate and differentiate yourself from the multitude of competitors?
Do you realize your prospect is bombarded with 3,000 commercial messages and advertisements a day? How do you stand out and become memorable in your prospect's mind?
This is the problem with relying on a paper business card or static brochure. We spend all day long trying to be different, and then we undo an entire day's effort in 30 seconds by handing them a business card which just reinforces the the whole "dime a dozen" perception. That's the very thing you're trying to get away from.
It's all about marketing. You used to be in the sales industry, but no longer. Today, you're in the marketing business, and that has more to do with your success and your income than any other single factor. If you think about prospecting, all you're really doing is applying for a job. And it's one of the most important jobs your prospect is hiring for, so you'd better be qualified.
Today trust is the issue. No sales occur unless trust is present, so you had better figure out what you need to do to be seen as trustworthy.
This leads us to the purpose of a business card or introduction tool. The sole purpose of a business card, and the reason you hand them out every day, is to provide information. But today, your business must provide people with a completely different set of information than it ever has before.
So, if the purpose of a business card is to provide information, and you agree that a prospect must buy you first, then the role of your business card has changed. Today, your business card must do three things. It must make them feel they know you, like you and trust you, and this is the problem with a paper business card. It's impossible to know you, like you and trust you when it includes nothing about you.
But watch how this all changes with the new multimedia presentation. Using a dynamic flash presentation via the Web, you will appear qualified in your prospects' eyes. Inside your multimedia presentation, you can focus on your business. You can educate them about your background, experience, education, qualifications and designations. You can bring focus to your values and philosophy and even a mission statement if you have one.
If the purpose of a business card is to provide information, then we should educate prospects about the typical clients you specialize in working with, along with your areas of specialization. You can focus on what's unique about what you do, and finish with a call to action.
There is no better marketing tool today, and if you are among the group of advisers who deploy this technology, you will be able to get your prospects to know you, like you, trust you and, ultimately, buy from you.