Are they really that important?
The importance of a business card….
The FSA decree that you should give out a business card when you first meet a new client. Apparently it’s the very first thing you should do. I think it is supposed to demonstrate you are trustworthy and are professional in your approach to dealing with customers.
Whilst having a business card is good and offers the client the chance to obtain your contact details, I think what you say, do and how you look when you first meet a client is more important. The cliches are that first impressions count and you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
Cliches they may be, but they are still true. When you meet somebody they will generally make their mind up about you in the first few minutes. It is therefore important that you give careful consideration to how you approach those first few minutes. What kind of impression do you want to make, what image do you want to convey, what should you say?
People tend to warm to people who are confident, friendly and professional. You can display confidence with a firm handshake, eye contact and a smile. A friendly approach can include showing interest in the person you are meeting by listening to the answers they give to the initial questions you ask. People tend to like talking about themselves so give them the opportunity to do so! Planning for the meeting and finding out about the person and business you are going to see can help demonstrate your professionalism. People like to do business with those who know what they are talking about.
Simple things, common sense even, but you would be surprised at the number of people who turn up for a meeting not prepared and unsure of what they want to achieve. This tends to become apparent in the first few minutes!
One final tip, take some business cards with you! 🙂