About a year ago, Byron Lazine posted a YouTube Short titled, “Why Business Cards Suck & What To Do Instead.” 

That post now has over 7K likes, along with more than 380 comments. 

Many of those comments, unfortunately, were reacting to Byron’s story of how he sent himself a text using a potential client’s phone instead of just handing him a business card. 

Because without context, quite a few people had a negative reaction to the short-form video

So, this week, Byron released a long form video providing context for that story and explaining why business cards (still) suck—along with better ways to build rapport, become memorable, and convert more leads. 

Taking action vs fixating on “memorable” business card design

Byron recalled a conversation with someone who asked him to review their marketing plan, only to ask for his help in choosing the best business card design. The agent held up a metal business card, saying— 

I really think this would stand out. You hand this to somebody—a metal card—and they’re going to remember you.” 

Byron’s response: 

“‘Where am I going to put this?’ is more likely what they’re going to say. How much time have you put into this?” 

At that point, the agent showed him a page with over a dozen business card designs. 

This is not a marketing plan. It’s a distraction. This is not “taking action” as a sales professional. It’s tricking yourself into thinking you’re doing something to lay the foundation for a successful business. 

What you’re actually doing is pushing that success further away. 

Time-wasting details vs income-producing activities

If it serves any purpose at all, fixating on business card design is a great way to procrastinate and avoid the income-generating activities you should be doing. 

This is something that not just salespeople do. Everybody does this. When you know you have a big task ahead of you, oftentimes you’ll do all the little meaningless things ahead of that task.

Byron Lazine

For a sales person, those tasks would include— 

  • Getting in front of clients and prospects
  • Making sales calls
  • Providing value-based follow-up
  • Setting up appointments
  • Meeting for consultations

To avoid the above, especially when you’re starting out and you find these actions extremely uncomfortable, you might fixate on details that don’t get you any closer to closing a deal. 

Designing the “perfect business card” is one of those details. 

I’ve never heard of any real estate agent saying, “I got a listing because my business card was so memorable.

Byron Lazine

Without a real human connection, your business card has zero value. No one hires a real estate agent for their design skills. 

You don’t actually need business cards

Gary Vaynerchuk is one of many sales professionals who don’t use business cards. Here’s what he has to say about them when responding to a comment—way back in 2015. 

I do not have a business card. A business card in 2015 makes absolutely zero sense. A business card delivers information. Take out your f**king phone and email the person on the spot. Better, cleaner, never lose the business card, more efficient. I like to show them, “Is this your email? Good, good.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

The overall point here is that if you can’t get someone’s email address or phone number, they’re not calling you back. Giving them your business card just gives them something to throw away. 

If they’re not willing right then to extend their permission to follow up with them by email, text, or a phone call, your business card won’t change their mind. 

That goes double for those who go to conferences and leave their business cards on the seats of other attendees without ever having made the effort to connect with them—and often without even meeting them. 

Instead of going to a conference and handing out 5,000 business cards, salespeople would be much better off going with the goal of meeting two people and having an hour conversation, maybe at cocktail hour or at a dinner, and securing a real foundational relationship—somebody who can send you referrals or introduce you to the contacts that you want to be introduced to. That’s going to be far more valuable than spending your two days…and dropping off 5,000 business cards that are all going to end up on the conference room carpet.

Byron Lazine

Business is about relationships. People do business with people they know and trust—people who have done something to earn their business. 

As Byron explains in his video, there are other ways to be memorable: 

  • How often are you reaching out?
  • What does your brand look like on social?
  • Do you have an email campaign?
  • Are you calling them so they remember you?

It’s never a business card that puts you over the edge.

Byron Lazine

Having memorable conversations is another way to stay top of mind with potential clients, along with giving presentations that are unforgettable and that align with a consistent follow up plan so there’s no option but to remember you. 

What we mean when we say business cards suck

Let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with having business cards and handing them out to those who ask for them. But therein lies the reason why so many of these cards end up in the trash. 

If you’re handing out business cards to people you haven’t even talked to, it should come as no surprise if they toss those cards right into the nearest trash bin. 

That applies to business cards of all kinds—including those made with metal, thick cardstock, or some other extra-AF material.  

Because these were never meant to replace rapport-building conversations—or make up for the lack thereof. They’re meant to be a conveniently-sized resource to share with someone who asks, “Could I have a business card?” with the intention of contacting you at a later time to continue the conversation. But why stop there? 

If you’ve gotten to that stage, ask if you can enter your contact information on their phone to make it even easier for them to reach out to you—and vice-versa.

It’s not (as some of the commenters on the YouTube Short suggested) “creepy” to do this. What it is, if you’ve laid the groundwork and established some trust, is effective—and memorable. 

Memorable in a good way, too—not “I remember that agent because I sliced my finger open with their business card” memorable. 

Be memorable by building rapport first. Then build on that by getting their contact info. 

That’s what Byron did with a client of his about 10 years ago. After building rapport with an investor and home flipper at a local bar, they reached a point in the conversation where Byron asked for the other’s contact information.

That’s when the investor asked Byron for his business card. And Byron said, “Sure.” And he had one. What he said next, though, set him apart from the legions of agents who would have stopped there. 

“I’ll give you my business card, but I know where these end up. So, I’d much rather call you and get a time and place.” 

The investor replied with, “I don’t know. Just give me the business card.” But because they had been joking and because they had built up some rapport, Byron said, “Your phone’s sitting on the bar. What if I were to just text myself right now?” 

The investor said, “You won’t do it.” Byron’s response was “Hey, I’ll do anything to close a deal. And it’s the same thing I’ll do when I’m working for you.” 

He took the investor’s phone and texted himself from it. 

It was funny, he laughed, and it was in the moment, and it worked in that scenario.

Byron Lazine

Nowhere in either video does Byron suggest aggressively grabbing people’s phones without asking so you can text yourself or enter your contact info. That’s a good way to get blocked.

The point of the story still holds: If you work in sales, your goal is to get people’s contact information. 

You should do everything you can to be memorable and unforgettable and let them know you’ll go the extra mile when you’re working for them. 

That’s the difference between somebody who’s going to close a deal and someone who’s going to keep getting ready for one—keep making pretty business cards, keep thinking about metal or thick cardstock. Stop worrying about all of that because we know it’s going to end up in the trash. And you should take the action necessary to show people what value you bring. Get in front of more people. 

Make the decision to do that and you won’t have to worry about ordering business cards in the future.

Byron Lazine