Make Your Business Card Your Best Salesman
By Rick Hendershot

You need a business card. So now you have to decide what it
should say and what it should look like.

Before asking the inevitable questions about the design of your
business card, you should ask what its function in your overall
marketing plan should be. Above all you want to make sure it
communicates the most important things about you and your

**Include Your Most Important Sales Message**

We all know a business card should contain basic contact
information: your name, company name, address and phone number.
But probably even more important is conveying your Most
Important Sales Message. If you don't have an "MISM", you
should create one. It is a brief, succinct statement of what
your company is about. It is the answer to the question: "What
does your company do?"

Sometimes this kind of answer is called an "elevator speech".
You're on an elevator and somebody asks you "What does your
company do?" You have six or seven seconds to give a memorable
reply. Good elevator speeches go beyond hackneyed answers like
"We do web marketing" or "We make bowling balls." They are
confidence-inspiring marketing statements: "We create websites
that sell tons of products for people." or "We make the world's
most beautifully balanced bowling balls."

Your MISM (Most Important Sales Message) may very well be a
"product" (as in the bowling ball example above), but it should
always be accompanied by a "pitch" of some kind or another.
Often this will essentially be a "slogan".

For your elevator speech you need a seven second slogan. For
your business card you will need the same slogan boiled down to
an string of words that not only sounds good, but looks good on
the card: "Websites that Sell Like Crazy", "The World's Most
Beautifully Balanced Bowling Balls", "The Discount Real Estate
Guy", "The Source for Cottages and Summer Homes", "Beautiful
Color Vinyl Banners."

**Consistency has its place**

It is always good to make your business card consistent with
your corporate image and the rest of your marketing materials.
Usually this boils down to basic things like your choice of
colors, typeface, and layout style. And of course you will want
to include your company logo.

Usually your marketing consultant or graphic designer will want
to plaster your logo on all your marketing materials, sometimes
using the logo as a substitute for real marketing design. "A
lot of work went into creating that logo, and we must convey a
consistent corporate image" is the usual mantra. What ever you
do, don't ask "Why is consistency so important?" That question
opens the way for tedious theorizing about "the long term
importance of developing a corporate image."

You would be better to agree. "Yes, by all means, we want to
present a consistent corporate image." And then add, "But I
want this business card to do some selling for me, so I would
like to give the sales message a bit more prominence than

In other words, use the usual corporate colors, typeface and
layout style on your business card. Include the logo too,
because it IS important. But every business card should give
prominence to the sales message. Show a picture of your
product. Or if you think you are the product (as most real
estate agents seem to think), then include your own picture on
your business card. But don't forget to enhance the photo with
that slogan we talked about in the previous section.

And now that you have a business card worth handing out, get
out there and start doing it.

About the Author: Rick Hendershot publishes the Linknet
Publishing Network. See For more
business card resources, see For more
advertising design resources, see