Why Gary Keller Doesn’t Carry Business Cards

The first rule of selling, I was taught, is “Always carry business cards”. You never know when you might run into a prospect. Over the years, I’ve had occasion to hand people my card at the grocery store, on a light rail train, even (forgive me) at a funeral.

So it was interest that I read the following passage in Gary Keller’s book “Shift: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times”:

When someone asks me for my card, my reply (as I smile, pull out my pen, and poise to write) is: ‘Thanks for asking. I’m sorry I don’t have one with me, but what is your name and address and I’ll get one to you.’ … Remember, you’re in the capture business.

His point is that it’s more important for a seller to get the prospect’s contact information than vice versa.

I’m inclined to think that in my world of business-to-business advertising sales, it’s still a good idea for the seller to have a card — the prospect likely also has one, and generally cards can be exchanged. In Keller’s world of residential real estate, however, his approach makes a great deal of sense, since the homeowner or potential buyer may not have a card.

Portland Real Estate Agent Craig Reger offers tours of foreclosures, short sales and bank-owned properties on the “Real Estate Investment Bus.” There’s basic information about the concept on his web site, but he doesn’t post the tour schedule. If you’re interested in knowing when it runs, he’ll be happy to tell you — once you fill out the contact information form.

In any sales environment, the principle is a good one. A lead isn’t a real lead unless you know who the prospect is and how to make contact.


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