Do you have a business card? I could feel my face flush as the three people stared at me. I was searching in my purse for a little piece of paper. If you learn from my mistake you will never feel embarrassed like I was.
A prominent attorney asked me to come to his office to discuss his case. I knew who he was but had never had the opportunity to work with him. When I got to his office I was early, so I decided to park on a quiet street around the corner and call my senior administrative assistant. Anticipating the attorney’s question, I asked her, “Who else have we worked with at this firm?” I wrote down the names and headed to his office.
Have you worked with anyone else here?
One of the first things the client asked me was, “Have you worked with anyone else here?” Feeling smug, I rattled off the names. After discussing the case with me, the attorney introduced me to his partner and told him what I was planning to do on the case.
Do you have a business card?
His partner looked interested and abruptly asked, “Do you have a card?” I assured him I did and opened my purse. My smugness evaporated. I searched. And searched. And searched while my client, the paralegal and the partner stared at me.
You see, my purse is full. I carry items like a cell phone, wallet, eyeglass case, nail file, receipts, little notebooks (maybe I don’t need 4 of them), pens and pencils, post it notes, a magnifier light, tea bags, lens cleaners, notes, travel size toilet paper (you never know when you need this), hand wipes, a pen drive, house keys, and tissues. The easiest way for me to find something is to remove other things from my purse. I knew I could not do that in front of my curious audience. The partner said, “You DO have a card, don’t you?” I said, “I’d like to say I can find it.”
Becoming impatient, my client said, “You can mail him a business card.”
Still flustered, when I returned to my client’s office, I began searching again, while he commented about his wife’s purse being full. “Do you ever put your hand in it? I’ve been married for 47 years and my husband will not go into my purse.” My client retorted, “Never, it is forbidden territory!”
Remembering the brochure I brought my client, I found my business card inside the cover and we returned to his partner’s office, where I triumphantly handed him my card. “Oh, I know you,” he said, and then discussed a case he had for me.
When I left the office, I had 2 cases, a promise of a third, and a new resolve to restock my purse. When I got home, I found my business card case in the bottom of my purse, as well as the business card cases I had removed right before vacation so my purse would be lighter. (I went to the attorney’s office the day after returning from vacation.)
I now have business cards in my wallet, in the outside compartment of my purse, in the zippered compartment, and in a business card case.
How about you? Do you carry business cards? Can you locate them quickly?
Patricia Iyer is president of The Pat Iyer Group. She now knows where her cards are. Learn more about marketing and sales calls by investing in our marketing course for LNCs: How to get All the Clients You Need.