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Forward on reverse: What the Wall Street Journal failed to tell readers about HELOCs vs. HECMs

May 31, 2006

Your business card--your billboard to successBy Gary Opper, CPA, CFPBusiness card design "Don't be so humble; you're not as great as you think you are." —Golda Meir Do you want to turn your simple business card into a powerful, effective and efficient marketing tool? Here are some ideas. Some are very simple and straightforward. Some are passive. Some are very aggressive. Use the ones that feel comfortable now, and slowly increase your marketing with your business card to include most of these ideas. Touch = business card If you touch someone, give him your business card. This sentence is so important that I'm going to repeat it. If you touch someone, give him your business card. Whenever you have contact with a person, he should have your business card and know what services you provide. Who do you touch, each day? You would be surprised at the answer. Of course, there are the obvious ones, like your clients and vendors; but, what about your mailpersons, newspaper carriers, cleaners, librarians, doctors, dentists, other health professionals, attorneys, accountants and stockbrokers? Also, let's not forget about the ticket sellers at movies and sporting events, airline agents and skycaps, hairstylists, waiters, bartenders and dining room attendants. Don't leave out your fellow members of clubs, associations, churches and chambers of commerce. If you think that covers everyone, you're forgetting your children's teachers, the parents of your children's friends and classmates, car salespeople, neighbors, gardeners, tollbooth collectors, driver license examiners, department store salesclerks and hotel clerks. The list goes on and on. You should try to mail two business cards and a short letter or flyer to everyone you talk to on the telephone. Two cards per touch When have you passed out too many cards? You've passed out too many when everyone in your state has two cards—one that you gave them and one that a friend gave them! Who of these people needs a mortgage now? Who knows? Who of these people will need a mortgage in the future? Most will. Who of these people knows someone who needs a mortgage now or in the future? All of them do! Pass out at least two business cards to each contact. Pass them out as if your business cards are important, valuable documents. Don't fling your business card at a prospect. Tell him, "Here are two of my business cards. One is for you to keep and one is for a friend of yours who needs a mortgage now," or, alternatively, "Here is a business card for you to keep until you need a mortgage, and here is a business card for you to give to a friend. Please keep my card and call me when you need a mortgage. Thank you." You have just doubled your advertising. Make your presentation an event that will make your prospect remember you when he looks at your business card. Ask your prospect for a business card. Follow up with a telephone call, flyer or short letter to that person. What can 'touchees' do with your business card? A person who gets your business card can do one of three things with your card. One—he can keep the card and, hopefully, will call you when he needs a mortgage. Two—he can give your card to someone who needs a mortgage. Three&mdash:he can throw your card away. By giving him one more card, you increase your chances that number one and two will happen. You probably decrease you chances that someone will throw your card away when you give him two cards and the speech about giving one to a friend. Be prepared As an Eagle Scout, I follow the simple Boy Scout motto, "Be prepared." I always have business cards ready. You should have business cards in small business card holders in: • Your purse or wallet; • Your briefcase; • Your car (in the front and in the mortgage box in the trunk); • Your spouse's car; • Your spouse's purse or wallet; • Your coat pockets; • Your workout bag for the gym; • Your recreational backpack; and • Your luggage. You should keep a marketing box in your car. The marketing box should include business cards for each niche product, flyers for each of your niche products, a stapler, thumb tacks, business card holders, flyer holders, pens, pencils and a pad of paper. You should have your business cards and business card holders at pack-and-ship stores, waiting rooms, video stores, your bank's lobby, your title company's office, your appraiser's office and anywhere else where you are permitted to place your business cards. Aggressive advanced techniques Some aggressive techniques only require that you place business cards in strategic places. Basically, just leave a trail of business cards, and people will find you. When you check out of your hotel room, leave some business cards in the room. When you have your car serviced, leave some business cards in the front seat. Leave business cards at telephone booths and restaurant tables. Leave business cards on tables, benches and seats that you occupy throughout the day. Leave business cards in public bathrooms. Put your business card on bulletin boards in office break rooms, hardware stores, etc. Each business or personal letter that you write should have two business cards included. When you send a check to pay a bill, include two business cards with a message explaining what you do. You should supply your biggest fans with cards to promote your business. That is, your spouse, your adult children, your parents and your in-laws should have plenty of your business cards. Joe Girard, the number one car salesperson in the world, would throw business cards out at Detroit Tigers baseball games and Detroit Lions football games. People would look strangely at him, but they would also buy cars from him! He used business cards as confetti at New Year's Eve parties. He included business cards with his Christmas cards. Girard went though 16,000 business cards a month. Designing a business card Gather and review all of the business cards that you have collected over the years. Include cards from mortgage brokers and everyone else. From all of these cards, determine what a good business card looks like. After you have designed your business cards, review them for the following: • Your name; • Your title; • Your company name; • Your company logo; • Your company theme, motto or slogan; • Your designations (e.g., CRML, CMC, CPA, CFP or Esq.); • How to contact you (see below); and • Exactly what the benefits to your clients are. Put the name that you use on your card (full name or nickname). Make it easy for them to remember you. When a person receives your correctly designed business card, he will know exactly what you do and how to contact you in several different ways. Include an area code with each telephone number. Update your card as area codes change. A business card should have some or all the following ways to contact you: • Street address; • Post office box; • Local office telephone number; • Toll-free office telephone number; • Office fax; • Beeper/pager; • Voicemail; • Cell phone number; • E-mail address; • Web site; or • Home telephone number. At minimum, your address, office telephone number and fax number should be on your business card. Most mortgage brokers have beeper and cell phone numbers that they also include. If you don't have an e-mail address, yet, get one now. If your cell phone number is on your business card, be prepared for substantial telephone bills. If your home telephone number is used, be prepared for calls at any time. A business card is a mini-billboard. Since business cards are relatively inexpensive, you can have several business cards. For example, you can have one set of business cards that describes available niche products, such as A and B/C loans, a separate set for hard equity mortgages and another set for commercial loans. In addition to niche-product business cards, you may want to have niche-market business cards. For example, you may have separate business cards designed for consumers, real estate agents, builders and professionals (CPAs, CFPs, attorneys, etc.). A business card can be double-sided or double-sized and folded. The additional information that extra space would allow could further explain your services and products. Determine the wording, font types and font size, and then add your logo. Limit your business card to no more than three font types. Raised printing adds professionalism to your card. Determine if you want a white business card with black letters or a colored card with colored letters. A black-and-white or color picture is also an option for your card. Your business card, stationery and fax coversheets should all have some coordination of color schemes, wording, font types and sizes and logos. Determine from the above list how you want your prospects to contact you. Tell your prospect exactly what you do! Summary The small, lowly business card can be your big billboard to success. This week, redesign your business cards and place the order with your printer. Every person you touch should be given two business cards. Give! Give! Give! Using your properly designed business cards can propel you into top sales. Of course, business cards are used to supplement and complement your other advertising. These items increase the public's awareness of you and your mortgage company. Gary Opper, CPA, CFP is the president of Approved Financial Corporation and is past president of the Florida Association of Mortgage Brokers Miami Chapter. He may be reached at (954) 384-4557 or e-mail [email protected].
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