Pro Tip For Business Cards – It’s Better To Receive, Than Give

Smart ways to market with business cards
There are more creative ways to market with business cards.

If you’re thinking that the purpose of a business card is to give it away – you’re missing the real value.

It’s not how many business cards you give away, or how many people you give your contact details to that counts. What matters more is how many prospects give you theirs.

So if you’re looking for smart tricks to attract new customers with your business cards, or tips to make your business card the best marketing tool ever – it might pay to look at different more creative ways to market with business cards instead.

But before we get into that, let’s start at the beginning. Why is it more important in this case to receive rather than give?

The Call That Never Comes

How many times have you given away your card to a prospect, they say they’ll call you – and you end up growing old and broke waiting for them?

More often than not, their call never comes.

But that doesn’t always mean that they don’t want to hear from you, or that they’re not interested in what you can do for them.

Waiting for the phone to ring
Stop waiting for the phone to ring. Take charge of the communication process.

Let’s Shift Perspective

Let’s take a moment to consider the world through the eyes of your prospect. Let’s call her Rachael.

You met Rachael at a networking event. She enjoyed chatting to you, and she’s keen to chat further. She fully intends to call you. She may even know that she has a problem that she needs solved, and you could be the perfect person to solve it for her.

But, the moment she walked out the door she discovered that her car had been towed, her daughter just broke up with her boyfriend and she’s beside herself, her elderly mother has lost her false teeth, and the big sale that she and her husband have been waiting for is finally finalised – which means they now need to hire 20 people before the end of the month.

Life just got in the way
“Life” just got in the way

All of a sudden, what you were going to do for her has become a rather low priority, unless you have a recruitment company … :-).

Before you know it, your card has been lost, she can’t quite remember your name, or the name of your business – so later when she does want to call you – she can’t.

It all just became way too hard, or completely forgotten about.

On the flip side, consider this

You met Rachael at a networking event. She gave you her card or contact details. Maybe you offered to send her something, or do something for her which meant that she needed to give you her details (it’s not always a business card). Maybe you simply asked her for her card or contact details.

After she left, you made a note on her card or your CRM to remind you of the conversation. A little later (or when it was agreed that you’d contact her) you sent her a note, or gave her a call to keep the conversation alive.

Phone call to prospect
You gave Rachael a call :-).

Rachael now feels like she matters, and she also has your contact information in a form that’s unlikely to be lost – email, phone contacts, their CRM etc. She may even know someone else who’s in the market for what you offer, and she shares your details with them.

You make the effort to stay in touch in a helpful and respectful way. You invest in building a relationship until the time is right for Rachael to buy. You may even help her get to that point.

Over time she begins to know, like and trust you, and let’s face it – people buy off people they know, like and trust.

All this is because you created the opportunity to stay in touch, and led her along the way. You were proactive, as opposed to reactive. If you don’t have her details and you’re relying on her to contact you, you might never have that opportunity.

(And yes, some people may tell you to naff off, or refuse to give you their contact details. Perfect, that’s the process of natural de-selection in action. That means you can focus your precious time and attention on the right people.)



Rather than looking for smart tricks to attract new customers with your business cards, or tips to make your business card the best marketing tool ever – consider more creative ways to market with business cards instead that result in other people giving their cards or contact details to you.

Do we mean NEVER give your business cards or details away? Of course not. That would be stupid.


  • it’s more important in this situation to receive, than to give
  • stay in control of the communication and sales process in a way that’s meaningful, and adds value to your prospect.
  • build the relationship so that your prospects know, like and trust you – and so that you’re “Johnny” on the spot when they’re ready to buy.

And in the meantime, consider and answer this…

What’s the ratio between how many cards you give, vs how many you receive?



Lisa McCarthy
Lisa shares the most simple, powerful and proven tips and strategies that have helped her add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the bottom line for owners of small businesses as a business coach. She has been a business owner herself for many years working across three continents - as a licensee, franchisee, and independent business owner. In a former life she has created and led start up programmes for entrepreneurs, and held senior leadership roles in the world of finance, banking and insurance.


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