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Article by Lori Samson

The Psychology of a Business Card How to create the perfect business card for your business

  The first year I began doing real estate I used the Office Depot, print it yourself, business cards. I then started realizing the need to have good business cards. I started accumulating a mountain of business cards from other investors and miscellaneous sources. I feel that a card is a "mini billboard". There are billboards that we all remember and then there are ones we have never noticed that have been there in the same place for years but because of their content and poor choice of color or poor color arrangement, we have never remembered them. You have to get noticed!

  In designing a business card you first have to come to grips with a few things. The first is are you willing to pay the price for a great card, or are you willing to settle for the norm? The second thing is, can you commit some serious time and thought to a tiny 3 ˝ x2’ piece of paper? Lastly, what is your purpose for giving out your card?

  These few questions can help you to begin to see a card as being more than a traditional handshake and exchanging of business cards that our society has become too familiar with. [We do it not because we see it as a means of advertising, as much as we see it as legitimizing that we are “An Investor”.] Everyone else has them, so I need one also. Break the mindset, and see your card as an important tool to advertising what you do.

  Your business card is who you are in style and in taste, but most importantly it’s a way to get your message out about what is your area of expertise. Did you notice I didn’t say about who you are? I’m sorry to tell you but no one really cares about what your name is. They do care about what you can do for them. The difference between a politely nice card and a fabulous business card that NO ONE EVER THROWS AWAY is going to be the secrets of the psychology of the card: who, what, where, when, why, as they say in journalism.

  Let’s look at the (old) function of the business card. It’s to give the consumer:

  1. An idea of what services you offer.
  2. Your phone number so that when he needs you he will remember that you gave him a card, and he will be able to retrieve it to call you.
  3. Why they need your information.
This is what we should be giving them:
  1. A unique impression of what services you offer.
  2. Your phone number that can be retrieved easily because they remember where they last saw it.
  3. Why they need your expertise and specialized services.
  Now ask yourself how many cards you have right now that you can pull out of your wallet, purse, desk, junk drawer and car console. Lay them on a table. Will you be able to recall who gave it to you, and, most importantly, WHY? I collected about 50 business cards and sorted through them and after about a year or so I threw away all the cards that I couldn’t remember……
  1. Who gave it to me?
  2. Why he gave it to me.
  3. Where I had received it.
  Into the trash they went! I threw out about 30 cards at one time. I saw them sitting in the bottom of the wastebasket and thought how I would feel if my card was sitting in the bottom of someone else’s wastebasket or worse yet… if someone used one of my business cards to write someone else’s name and address on because he needed a piece of paper to write on! He picked mine and because he couldn’t remember who it belonged to. None of you have ever done that, right? You want your cards to NEVER end up in the wastebasket or with someone else’s information on the backside of your card?

  Here are some important things to remember in designing your card. We laid out about fifty cards I had collected, and started pulling out all the ugly, blah, mundane, colorless ones until we had only a few that stood out. We asked ourselves why they stood out and here’s what we discovered.

  • COLOR-COLOR-COLOR- This is so important! Never do the traditional ivory, white or off white cards. Watch billboards for a few days when you’re driving around, and see if you see those colors for background colors. See what catches your eye and what colors against other colors catch your attention quickly. Bright blues and yellows are great for backgrounds. Yellow and reds are great for lettering. Watch the billboards and see if I’m right. Jot down some notes on what you find.
  • MESSAGE- the message you are trying to deliver is what you can do for someone. That’s the true purpose for giving him your card, right? We have a card for business contacts and a different one for trying to locate buyers and sellers. I carry both at all times.
  • HEADLINE- That’s the one line that will grab his attention and keep them reading! Every billboard has an instantly quick message to get your attention to read the rest. Was it a picture or words that made you look? I saw one that said, "Ah, ha! I made ya look!", with a big pair of eyes. You couldn’t help but look and laugh because if you read it then they were right; you looked! The owners were advertising the billboard itself. I haven’t forgotten that one, so it was affective advertising! You want your business card to sit in a pile of 50 other cards and your card will yell, “AH, HA! I made ya look!”
  • TEXTURE- A slick, shiny laminate is what we use on our cards. If he is not still rubbing it between his fingers when you walk away, you haven’t got a fabulous card yet! There are some new heat processes that are soft and pliable in the laminates, so you may have to shop around. We had our cards designed by a friend and it took him several tries before he got a soft laminate that worked. When someone holds your card you want him to fall in love with it! You want him standing there rubbing the finish of your card and forgetting what you were saying. When you see him paying attention to your card and not to you anymore, you know you have a great card and he will not throw it away! He is going to remember you now because he will remember your card and will be able to put a face with it too! Please don’t waste good space putting your glamour shot on the front. You’re not selling yourself; you’re selling real estate!
  • FRONT SIDE- Keep the front of your card free from anything except the headline message; no phone numbers, faxes numbers, etc. Use the back of your card for that.
  • ATTENTION GRABBER- Try to use a graphic or picture that relates your headline. For example, “I buy houses for cash” and you could have a picture of a little monopoly house sitting on a pile of money. Our card says, "WE WILL BUY OR LEASE YOUR HOUSE FAST!" We look for lease options mostly so it tells exactly what we do in a short sentence. We have our house logo that has the name of our company coming out of the smoke of the chimney. You have only a second to get an image portrayed to him without any clutter of phone numbers, addresses and fax numbers. He has to turn the card over now to get the full picture of what this card means. You now have his attention! When you turn the card over you give the Body Information.
  • BODY INFORMATION- this is the information that tells quickly what you can do for him. Use 5-6 bullets telling the information.

      Here is what the back of our card looks like:

    *Offering full market value
    *We will make your payments
    *We will cover maintenance
    *You keep title until closing
    *Allows you to move quickly!!!

    LSI Properties
    Lori Samson
    P.O.Box 1101 Lancaster, Tx 75146

  • CREATIVE FORMAT- Change the direction of your text from one way on the front to going the opposite direction on the back. You walk a fine line in writing too much and writing too little. Think it out carefully.
  We have spent a good deal of time and expense on cards, but it’s an area we all tend to overlook as advertising. You’re creating a mini billboard, remember? You need to be willing to spend what it takes to be the only card left in someone’s hand over the wastebasket when he is trashing everyone else’s cards! There is something about a slick business card with full color and graphics that keeps him from ever throwing away the card and this type of card wins the free lunches when thrown into the fishbowls at restaurants. If your print shop is resistant to designing this type of card then keep looking! Some print shops may want to charge you a set up fee to design it and make the first set of cards. It is a good and sometimes costly ($200-$300) investment to create a fabulous card but think about all those little billboards that will stay in circulation indefinitely because you took the effort! I have had our cards end up in other states and even in a college classroom and shown by a teacher. I still have no clue, to this day, how it ended up there! They are on the bulletin boards when all the others have been removed, and if you leave them on a table the waitress will put it into her pocket and not the trash! Where do you think some of your typical cards ended up? Millions every year are located now in our local dump! I hate the thought of hundreds of my old (blah) cards sitting at the local dump buried beneath tons of garbage!

  You may have to spend a good deal of money and time, but if you will make this sacrifice of time and money you will not be sorry! We will spend more time planning a weekend picnic then we do on something as important as our business cards!

  Put the correct time and effort into this area of advertising and you’ll love the reaction you’ll get from people when they say, "Wow! What a great looking card!"

Lori Samson, is the founder and president of LSI Properties, Inc. Greg and Lori Samson, and the entire LSI staff, will help you achive your personal and financial goals.

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