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Craig Duswalt: Calling cards for business rock stars


Posted: January 18, 2011 8:07 p.m.
Updated: January 19, 2011 4:55 a.m.

If rock stars carried business cards, what would they say? Imagine — “Jimmy Page, Guitar God.”  “Eddie Vedder — Moody Singer for Hire.”  “Charlie Watts, Watching Mick Jagger’s Rear End for 40 Years.” 

Of course, it’s ridiculous to think of rock superstars passing out business cards. But what about business superstars?
Do you think Donald Trump passes out business cards at every function he attends? I truly doubt it.

Really successful entrepreneurs find other more creative ways to get people to remember them.

They write articles, they produce YouTube videos and they use social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to get the word out that they exist, and they probably blog at least once a day. They do not need business cards.

I don’t hand out business cards because, first of all, my brand as a RockStar Speaker doesn’t allow me to.

If I’m being true to my brand, I have to act like a rock star even though I know I’m not a real rock star.

Second, I don’t like to waste money on printing cards that most people will probably ignore.

So if you don’t have a business card, how do you get people to contact you? 

I have two ways:

Search me
If they want to contact me because they are really interested in what I have to offer, I tell them they can either Google my name, which is not easy to spell, or even better, to Google the name of my business.

Through search engine optimization tools, I make sure I’m all over the first page of most search engines. The search results direct searchers to my website where they can view all my contact information and find out everything there is to know about me.

Books, not cards
I hand out my “RockStar System For Success” books instead of business cards.

I recently wrote five books in about 12 weeks, because I know and teach that small books are key for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

It’s a means of standing out from their competition.

Let’s face it — people often throw away business cards as soon as they get back to the office. But they will never, ever, throw away a book. It just doesn’t happen.

My books cost me, on an average, about $1each to print.

Yes, printing a book costs more than a business card, but think of all the promotional items you buy for your business — pens, mugs, hats, golf balls, etc.

A book is about the same price as a promotional item, but it is filled with information about what you do and how you do it.
If written properly, your book is a glorified sales letter.

So instead of business cards, I always hand out my latest book. And coincidently, just like a business card, it has my contact information on every page. 

People I give my books to are shocked that I hand out books for free.

But here is the key — I’m perceived as being successful because I can afford to give away books. And people always want to associate themselves with people who are doing well.

In addition, the Law of Reciprocity basically states that if you do something positive for someone else (giving them a free book), they will do something positive in return (give you their business).

Think of it like this — successful musicians rarely market themselves personally. (Promoters do it.)

But every fan knows when their favorite band is coming to town, and exactly where they’re playing.

You don’t want to go see your favorite band perform because they gave you a business card — you want to see them because you’re a fan of the band’s work and the band has been properly promoted.

Successful entrepreneurs get clients because they build a base of fans. They don’t need to pass out business cards.

Craig Duswalt is a professional speaker, author, business coach and creator of the RockStar System For Success — How to Achieve RockStar Status in Your Industry. Duswalt’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. Craig helps regular business owners become RockStar Entrepeneurs at his RockStar Marketing BootCamps every March and September in Los Angeles. For more information:


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