By Todd Brian Natenberg

With social media and the digital are in full bloom, many question the need for business cards at all. But a need there still is. The difference between now and 10 years ago if your business card is not effective, it is a hindrance. How so?

Business cards today are used for 3 reasons only:

  • First impression
  • Branding
  • Contact information

Let's take these 3 one at a time.

1. First impression- When you hand someone a business card after a quick conversation, their immediate thought is whether this is a professional they want to work with or refer business to. To ensure that first impression, I recommend the following:

Sounds basic, but it must have all the necessary basics on the FRONT of the card (name, phone number, title, e-mail, company name, website and in this day and age a regional address such as Kansas City, MO is fine).

- More often than once I don't even see an e-mail on the card. This immediately hollers lack of professionalism.

-You must have a professional e-mail (not Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.). Again, this is a red flag that hollers lack of professionalism. If you own your own company, it immediately shows you aren't serious.

-You must use the space on the back of the business card: It's too valuable and too strong a free advertisement not to include to emphasize that first impression.

2. Branding

- Your business card should match your website, your e-mail signature and your LinkedIn profile. Colors are good, photos are good- if that's your thing- but the idea is "branding." Repetition, repetition and repetition.

In my case, I gladly like being known as the "I just got a job in sales! Now what?" (title of first book) guy and the "I've been in sales for 10 years! Now what?" guy (title of second book).

-The back of my business card has my benefit statement, a picture of my latest book cover, and our motto- "Are your sales people busy or are the productive?"

3. Contact information

Specifically your work phone, cell phone, and e-mail must be on your card. I recently did some business with the CFO of one of the largest telecommunications company in the world  and even he had his cell phone on his business card.  (In this day and age, texting can be an effective form of communications- but that is for another blog)

Cards that don't have phone numbers, e-mails or websites- being upfront- I toss them instantly. If someone doesn't get the basics, while I appreciate where they are at, they aren't a good lead, referral source or even someone that I can truly help.

That's what the business card is truly for: Helping others. Hey, isn't that what sales is all about?