The business card used to be more about status, less about communication; simply a name, job title, address and company phone number. For the sales person, this was a useful confirmation of generic contact details and perhaps the correct spelling of a tricky name.
Without many salespeople noticing, the business card has become a much more interesting sales tool. Contact details have moved from the indirect to the direct. Email address, DDI and mobile phone number are now all direct. This is access the salesperson of 10 years ago would have dreamed of. Business cards now are less about status (many don’t even have job titles on them), but all about communication direct to the card holder.
Salespeople should obsess about collecting business cards; in every company they visit, every exhibition they attend and every conference they sign up for. Even if the card isn’t an obvious sales lead, the contact details allow for networking opportunities and future email campaigns.
The next thing to plan is the contact strategy. When you give salespeople the contact details of 10 senior decision makers and ask them to put together an approach strategy it’s surprising how often they struggle.
The opportunity to talk direct to decision makers, not gatekeepers or call screeners, and not end up in the waste paper baskets of redundant mail shots, but to have proper, unmediated direct access requires real, relevant content. If you’re going to call peoples’ direct line phone number you must have something really interesting and compelling to talk about, not vague ‘I wonder if you had the time’ or crass selling plays like ‘we have a great offer on at the moment…’.
Next month well look at ideas for creating those effective approach strategies.