Business Card Protocols in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

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In commercial real estate brokerage today, the traditional business card remains the most effective marketing tool that you have.  It is small, and you can use it anywhere.  In many respects the card is likely to be kept rather than discarded.

In many respects you do not need to use or have any other marketing material.  You can use your cards at meetings, when door knocking, canvassing, and prospecting.  In saying that the business card must be well designed and considered; there are some rules to the process.

Here are some rules to help you:

  1. Business cards are usually quite important to professional salespeople and top clients.  You will notice that the quality people that we work with will regard the business card with respect and courtesy.  When you hand them the card, they are likely to fully review it, before continuing the conversation or the meeting.
  2. There are some cultural differences and protocols to be careful with.  Many cultures in Asia regard the card exchange process with extreme respect.  That being said, it is wise to adopt that approach across all cultures and clients that you work with.  In that way you will not make any mistakes when exchanging cards.
  3. Always keep your cards in good condition.  Carry an ample supply in a business card holder.  Ensure that the holder itself sends the professional image that you require.  Never handout cards that are damaged or already written on.  Provide a card that is indicative of your professional business style and image.
  4. As a general rule, the front of the card should feature all of your business branding and communication points.  The necessary telephone numbers, e-mail contacts and website should feature on the front of the card.  You can also describe your professional position beneath your name.
  5. It is interesting to note that some of the clients we work with get some comfort from the title or position that you hold.  That being said, give due consideration to the job description or workplace description that applies to your role and property speciality.
  6. The back of the card should also be printed on in a meaningful way.  In dot point form, it should have a clear description of the services and specialities that you provide.
  7. Never take your business cards from your back pocket.  It sends the wrong message to people across many cultures.
  8. As part of visiting a new person for the first time, you should hand across your business card with two hands; the face of the card should be directed in an upwards position towards the person that you’re talking to.  Hold the business card from the two top corners.
  9. Accept the card of the other person in an exchange.  Review that card carefully showing respect for the person and their business position.
  10. Do not write on the other person’s card; it shows disrespect.
  11. Ensure that your card is slightly above average size without being too obvious.  Size sends a message.
  12. Use your branding colours that are matched to your market.  If you work with some cultures you will have to consider colours carefully.
  13. Use rigid card stock paper.  There is nothing more unprofessional than a card that is flimsy.  When the client takes hold of the card, they will notice the flimsy nature immediately.  Indirectly that reflects on your business and you as a salesperson.
  14. When you are handed a card, spend a moment in studying it and place it on the table in front of you.

So the simple message here is that your card exchange process should be professional and polished.  Take the time to get to know the other person that you are talking to and use their card as part of that process.

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