My Shingle

Help, I forgot my business cards….

by Carolyn Elefant on July 15, 2006 · 26 comments

in Marketing & Making Money

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Whenever I meet lawyers without business cards, I wonder about their professionalism.  Well, yesterday I joined that club when I came out to Oregon to speak at a conference full of prospects and I discovered that I forgot my business cards.  How embarrassing…what to do?  It was a short trip, so not enough time to have anyone ship them to me, even if I had someone to ask.  I asked people for their cards, but that’s not the same, because they won’t have mine.  And suprisingly, lots of people don’t bring business cards.  I have the conference list and I guess this means that I have alot of business cards to send…

So here’s my question for you:  what would you do if you forgot your business cards?

  • http://www.jeremyrichey.com JR

    That would be an easy one for me — I always have my laptop when traveling and often a portable printer. All I would need to do is go to Wal-Mart and pick up some business card stock, quickly design a business card and then print as many as I wanted.

  • http://www.jeremyrichey.com JR

    That would be an easy one for me — I always have my laptop when traveling and often a portable printer. All I would need to do is go to Wal-Mart and pick up some business card stock, quickly design a business card and then print as many as I wanted.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaxzine/ Jamie Parks

    Hi Carolyn. What if your subconscious intentionally forgot those business cards?
    I mean, lets presume that your audience actually enjoyed your speech. So much so that as your message left your lips, and projected through the air, it would wrap itself around your listeners hearts, rendering them unable to forget you.
    If your presentation is meaningful and your audience finds a value in it, they would willfully carve your contact info into their minds(or use a pen and write it on the notes that they were taking while you were speaking.)
    Why would it really matter if they got a piece of paper with your name and blah, blah, blah, on it??
    MyShingle.com is far easier to recall than “Where did I put that lady’s business card?”
    Personally, I still believe business cards serve a major purpose in American social interaction. Although, in such instances where one has either run out of cards or forgotten to bring them, I would simply address the human err openly with your audience and refer them to a web uri.
    The whole point is to get them reading this blawg. This is what will enable a stranger to really get to know you and discover the value of your efforts.
    What do you think?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaxzine/ Jamie Parks

    Hi Carolyn. What if your subconscious intentionally forgot those business cards?
    I mean, lets presume that your audience actually enjoyed your speech. So much so that as your message left your lips, and projected through the air, it would wrap itself around your listeners hearts, rendering them unable to forget you.
    If your presentation is meaningful and your audience finds a value in it, they would willfully carve your contact info into their minds(or use a pen and write it on the notes that they were taking while you were speaking.)
    Why would it really matter if they got a piece of paper with your name and blah, blah, blah, on it??
    MyShingle.com is far easier to recall than “Where did I put that lady’s business card?”
    Personally, I still believe business cards serve a major purpose in American social interaction. Although, in such instances where one has either run out of cards or forgotten to bring them, I would simply address the human err openly with your audience and refer them to a web uri.
    The whole point is to get them reading this blawg. This is what will enable a stranger to really get to know you and discover the value of your efforts.
    What do you think?

  • http://pinkletterlaw.blogspot.com pinkletterlaw

    That reminds me of the time not so long ago when I attended a conference for Guardians Ad Litem. I am not a lawyer yet, but I am thisclose to being one and that day I realized the importance of meeting lawyers and being able to stay in contact with them. I did not know anyone at the conference so I seated myself at random and ended up meeting a sole practitioner who is a great source of advice. At the end of lunch, he offered me his card and I clumsily fumbled to locate paper and pen, and wrote mine on a scrap of paper – I felt so very silly. That day when I got home, I related the story to my significant other and he suggested that I create cards with my contact info on them, even though I have no “business” to speak of. I take them everywhere and love exchanging cards with people. If I ever forgot my little pink card holder, or if it were ever empty, I would ask for their card and write a note on it to email or mail them mine as soon as possible. I’d let them know that I had forgotten mine and I would send them the information by mail or email whichever they prefer.

  • http://pinkletterlaw.blogspot.com pinkletterlaw

    That reminds me of the time not so long ago when I attended a conference for Guardians Ad Litem. I am not a lawyer yet, but I am thisclose to being one and that day I realized the importance of meeting lawyers and being able to stay in contact with them. I did not know anyone at the conference so I seated myself at random and ended up meeting a sole practitioner who is a great source of advice. At the end of lunch, he offered me his card and I clumsily fumbled to locate paper and pen, and wrote mine on a scrap of paper – I felt so very silly. That day when I got home, I related the story to my significant other and he suggested that I create cards with my contact info on them, even though I have no “business” to speak of. I take them everywhere and love exchanging cards with people. If I ever forgot my little pink card holder, or if it were ever empty, I would ask for their card and write a note on it to email or mail them mine as soon as possible. I’d let them know that I had forgotten mine and I would send them the information by mail or email whichever they prefer.

  • http://www.SCTrialLaw.com Dave

    Carolyn,
    I would call down to the nearest Kinko’s or Office Depot and have them print up 50-100 cards. I haven’t checked lately, but a number of printers can do a limited run ‘while you wait’ or within a few hours.
    I travel a fair amount and am tremendously absent-minded. I have a courier bag that I use for travel. I keep the following in there 1. Several Pens and highlighters for seminar materials.
    2. Stack of business cards and blog cards. 3. Spare charger for my cell phone (I have an extra one so I don’t have to remember to pack it. It’s already packed).
    4. Spare charger for my iPod Nano.
    5. Wireless router for hotel room.
    On a somewhat but not quite related note, I also have spare items for my shaving kit so I don’t have to worry about packing it. When I’m ready to travel, I just grab it and go.

  • http://www.SCTrialLaw.com Dave

    Carolyn,
    I would call down to the nearest Kinko’s or Office Depot and have them print up 50-100 cards. I haven’t checked lately, but a number of printers can do a limited run ‘while you wait’ or within a few hours.
    I travel a fair amount and am tremendously absent-minded. I have a courier bag that I use for travel. I keep the following in there 1. Several Pens and highlighters for seminar materials.
    2. Stack of business cards and blog cards. 3. Spare charger for my cell phone (I have an extra one so I don’t have to remember to pack it. It’s already packed).
    4. Spare charger for my iPod Nano.
    5. Wireless router for hotel room.
    On a somewhat but not quite related note, I also have spare items for my shaving kit so I don’t have to worry about packing it. When I’m ready to travel, I just grab it and go.

  • http://www.HowToMakeItRain.com RJON@HowToMakeItRain.com

    Welcome Back Carolyn,
    Here’s a different point of view I learned by accident several years ago. . . I once had a sales call scheduled with a prospective client whom I’d been trying to meet with for a long time.
    We had scheduled the meeting weeks ahead of time & the morning of, I woke-up with a frog in my throat. I mean you could barely hear me speak. So instead of doing all the talking, like I used to do, I was forced to do all of the listening. And what I discovered is that people really will tell you exactly what they want to hear if you know the right questions to ask.
    I got the business and learned a valuable lesson which I’ve adapted quite successfully at business card & networking exchanges. . .
    As a general rule, I limit the number of business cards I’ll bring to most networking functions. I discipline myself to only bring with me a few cards. Then I work very hard to spot the centers of influence in the group (every group has them) and make a meaningful connection with a few people by applying the Secret Code that most Top Rainmakers know, rather than pass out a stack of cards.
    When you make a meaningful connection & have a system for following-up afterwards, business cards don’t matter much. In fact one of the best Networkers I know, likes to say that the most valuable thing he’s ever gotten from handing his business card to a prospective client or referral source, is THEIR business card!
    If anyone’s interested to learn more about how my Rainmaking Clients and I do this second step of the Rainmaker’s Dance, it’s part of my How To Market A Small Law Firm audio program. I would explain more here but then I’d be re-typing what I already worked hard to record so that you can enjoy the convenience of listening in your car to learn how it all works instead of reading about it in your “free time.”
    Respectfully,

  • http://www.HowToMakeItRain.com RJON@HowToMakeItRain.com

    Welcome Back Carolyn,
    Here’s a different point of view I learned by accident several years ago. . . I once had a sales call scheduled with a prospective client whom I’d been trying to meet with for a long time.
    We had scheduled the meeting weeks ahead of time & the morning of, I woke-up with a frog in my throat. I mean you could barely hear me speak. So instead of doing all the talking, like I used to do, I was forced to do all of the listening. And what I discovered is that people really will tell you exactly what they want to hear if you know the right questions to ask.
    I got the business and learned a valuable lesson which I’ve adapted quite successfully at business card & networking exchanges. . .
    As a general rule, I limit the number of business cards I’ll bring to most networking functions. I discipline myself to only bring with me a few cards. Then I work very hard to spot the centers of influence in the group (every group has them) and make a meaningful connection with a few people by applying the Secret Code that most Top Rainmakers know, rather than pass out a stack of cards.
    When you make a meaningful connection & have a system for following-up afterwards, business cards don’t matter much. In fact one of the best Networkers I know, likes to say that the most valuable thing he’s ever gotten from handing his business card to a prospective client or referral source, is THEIR business card!
    If anyone’s interested to learn more about how my Rainmaking Clients and I do this second step of the Rainmaker’s Dance, it’s part of my How To Market A Small Law Firm audio program. I would explain more here but then I’d be re-typing what I already worked hard to record so that you can enjoy the convenience of listening in your car to learn how it all works instead of reading about it in your “free time.”
    Respectfully,

  • http://lemberglaw.com Sergei Lemberg

    Carolyn,
    Staples and probably kinkos sell do-it-yourself business card kits for about $15. It probably would take you 30 minutes to design a card using Word and print it. I’ve done that a few times.

  • http://lemberglaw.com Sergei Lemberg

    Carolyn,
    Staples and probably kinkos sell do-it-yourself business card kits for about $15. It probably would take you 30 minutes to design a card using Word and print it. I’ve done that a few times.

  • http://www.georgiabankruptcyblog.com Scott Riddle

    Carolyn – A failure to have sufficient cards may reflect forgetfulness or absent-mindedness. Doing it frequently may reflect poor marketing skills. I am not sure how either would lead to a question about their professionalism. I found that to be a curious comment.

  • http://www.georgiabankruptcyblog.com Scott Riddle

    Carolyn – A failure to have sufficient cards may reflect forgetfulness or absent-mindedness. Doing it frequently may reflect poor marketing skills. I am not sure how either would lead to a question about their professionalism. I found that to be a curious comment.

  • Laura the Law Librarian

    Take the high road. At a consumer law conference a few years ago, Ralph Nadar was talking to a group of lawyers. One asked him if he had a card. His dignified and courteous response, “no, but I have a piece of paper.” (Waste not, want not, reduce, reuse, recycle :-)

  • Laura the Law Librarian

    Take the high road. At a consumer law conference a few years ago, Ralph Nadar was talking to a group of lawyers. One asked him if he had a card. His dignified and courteous response, “no, but I have a piece of paper.” (Waste not, want not, reduce, reuse, recycle :-)

  • http://www.bankruptcyblawg.com Carron

    Do you have a Palm Pilot? My Palm has a “business card” in it that I can beam to any other compatible device including virually all Palms, and many other PDAs. My Palm is always with me.

  • http://www.bankruptcyblawg.com Carron

    Do you have a Palm Pilot? My Palm has a “business card” in it that I can beam to any other compatible device including virually all Palms, and many other PDAs. My Palm is always with me.

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  • http://www.hiltonmckeeverlaw.com Jennifer

    I usually get a bit panicky if I forget the cards, I love those cards- the logo, all the information, it is presented just as we want our PCs to receive it. BUT Sergei is right, sometimes meeting people and connecting with them exchanging an email or phone number on paper makes for the most meaningful business relationship.

  • http://www.hiltonmckeeverlaw.com Jennifer

    I usually get a bit panicky if I forget the cards, I love those cards- the logo, all the information, it is presented just as we want our PCs to receive it. BUT Sergei is right, sometimes meeting people and connecting with them exchanging an email or phone number on paper makes for the most meaningful business relationship.

  • Sarah K.

    For even greater professionalism, another idea is to create international translated business cards. I stumbled upon a translation site I on Google when I required Chinese business cards and Japanese business cards for my trip to Asia. It worked out well since one can keep the standard English on the front and another language on the back. The site was called LunaConcepts.com, and their service was professional and efficent. I would definitely recommend them as well.

  • Sarah K.

    For even greater professionalism, another idea is to create international translated business cards. I stumbled upon a translation site I on Google when I required Chinese business cards and Japanese business cards for my trip to Asia. It worked out well since one can keep the standard English on the front and another language on the back. The site was called LunaConcepts.com, and their service was professional and efficent. I would definitely recommend them as well.

  • http://lasorsalaw.com Peter LaSorsa

    If you forget your business cards, go to the local Kinko’s or Office Max and have some made on the spot.

  • http://lasorsalaw.com Peter LaSorsa

    If you forget your business cards, go to the local Kinko’s or Office Max and have some made on the spot.

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