House of Business Cards Season 2
(Please forgive the corny titles. I just can't help myself.)
So now you have ten to twenty boxes of business cards and you are ready to hand them out to every warm body you come across. First, I hope you are planning on keeping your number, email, and website for as long as it takes you to go through all those cards. Just throwing that out there.
Next, you will probably want be careful about peppering those puppies all over the place. Think of how it is portrayed in entertainment. If a character walks up to another character and goes, "Hi, nice to meetcha my name's Sam Vee I'm in (some business), here's my card." What is your knee-jerk reaction to this character? Sleazy, slimy, and smarmy. I'm sure you don't want to come across that way. Or even worse, desperate.
The better way to do it is to have a conversation. Connect with the person you are speaking with. Be sure to talk about what you do but don't "sell" them. I like to tell a funny story about a gig I worked on or a technical snafu I once had. By the time the conversation is over half of the time the person is asking for my business card. The other half of the time I make a judgement call. Sometimes I ask if they want it, and sometimes when I get the vibe they have no interest I say my goodbyes and that's that.
I know I may get some flak about that, but frankly there are some people who will not need your services. Someone who lives in an apartment complex will probably never need to call a plumber. When their toilet needs snaked they will call their landlord who will call a plumber. It's a just a fact of life. Some folks work under the belief that everyone is a potential customer. That isn't wrong. But once you start to get to know somebody that potential may dwindle. Yes, every person I meet I work under the assumption that they will need my services. But I'm not going to cling to that assumption despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Not smart to fool yourself. It's a waste of their time and yours. (Note: I would err on the side of asking anyway. I would say it's a 80/20 split. Most of the time I ask.)
One final note here, always ASK if they want your business card. Never say, "Here's my card" unsolicited. Granted if they ask for your number or email address or have specifically asked for a card then knock yourself out. But if you get to a point where they haven't asked for your information and the conversation is about to end and you want to hand one out just throw out a polite, "You mind if I give you my card, just in case you have any questions about 'so and so?'"
NOTE for VO Artists: This is ESPECIALLY true when you are meeting other folks in "The Business." If you are meeting a top tier performer, director, casting agent, you keep that damn business card in your pocket until they ask or you feel comfortable asking if they want it. The truth of the matter is if you go in guns blazing with your card right out of the gate, then it will be accepted with a smile, then tossed in a trash bin as soon as your are out of sight. If your lucky it may make it back to the hotel room or in a wallet for 6 months before it makes it to the trash bin. I've heard this from multiple big names that they toss business cards of folks who are that brazen. Why? Because it comes across as desperate. And they don't know you from Adam. If they are going to go to bat for someone it's going to be for a person who they know and trust. Not some guy who shoved their card into the hand with a, "HEY! I LOVE your work. Here's my card. Why didn't you do that voice in the movie too? I thought you....."
Again, hope you guys liked this weeks entry and hoped it was informative. As always give me a holler at firstname.lastname@example.org.