As previously discussed in Canton Fair Etiquette post, exchanging business cards at the fair between you and suppliers you speak to is common and expected. During the course of the fair, expect to hand out and receive 50 to 80 business cards within those few days. This depends on how active you are in engaging with the suppliers. However, this also means, your business information is now with all of them. Hence, it is crucial to ensure you have the right information on your business cards. A good business card will ensure the suppliers remember you, take you seriously and most importantly, you won’t get hassled unnecessarily by all of them.
Business Card Options
You can choose how you represent yourself within the business card, depending on your circumstances. Below are some of the business card options we have used :
Printed Business Card
Purchase business cards for Canton Fair suppliers cheaply from Vista Print or any printing companies. Don’t pay too much for unnecessary graphics, gloss, matte or anything fancy. Just a simple business card will do. Our business card for the fair cost us $A 5.99 with only a simple logo and our information.
Digital Business Card
Create free business cards online that are optimised for mobile. We use digital business cards for all online administrative works, such as Canton Fair application. But you can also use it to send it to your suppliers at the Fair. Use website such as Business Card Maker or app such as eVaunt to help you create great business cards for free. You will then share your business card with the supplier via email/wechat, or if they have the same app as you, you will be able to swap your cards through the app.
Business Cards Reader and Organiser
App such as CamCard is great for digital organisation, if you don’t want to carry suppliers business cards physically and rather store them on your phone. You can scan cards, add notes and manage suppliers business cards more effectively this way, if going paperless if indeed your thing.
Tip: Remember, while digital business cards are acceptable, the traditional way of exchanging cards is still the most fun. Especially in places like China where the exchange etiquette is still heavily embedded in their business culture.
Information on Business Card
You want the card to represent you the best way possible. Good first impression. You would like to be easily reachable by the suppliers, but at the same time, by giving your information away to 50 or even 100 companies, you risk being ‘harassed’ unnecessarily by the sales people. It is essential that the card contains just the right amount of information for you to appear professional and be taken seriously by your supplier.
Be as simple as possible. Ida wouldn’t dream about placing her full name on her business card. If you have an exotic or a long-difficult-to-pronounce name, simplify it. Pick a common English name if you must. After all, that’s what the Chinese do, you will meet the Sandy’s and the William’s, instead of the Wu Xia Xue and the Ng Man Tat.
Your Business Name
This doesn’t have to be a company name. If you are a sole trader or only trade on ebay/amazon – put down your store name. Put a name that you represent. This should make part of your elevator pitch
Your Position and the Nature of your Business
We find it helpful to put what we do in the card, this means we spend less explaining to them about who we are and spend more time on the product. Something as simple as the Director (Position) of an Online Merchandise Store (Nature of Business).
This tells them where you are from. As an online seller, you should own a PO Box by now so perhaps have your PO Box on the business card. Emphasise you are from Australia in our card because, just like everyone else, they LOVE Australians.
Your Contact Information
Email : Creating an email address for the trade show purpose is recommended. The thing about exchanging business cards is,once you exchange email address with the suppliers, be prepared to receive weekly follow up from these suppliers… this could mean 40 to 50 unnecessary emails coming through your email box weekly. Once you are sure with your shortlisted suppliers, then move them to your actual email. Especially if you are going to be a Trade Show regular.
Phone : Chinese suppliers have no qualm about ringing you , trying to sell you their product. If you share your phone number in the business cards, be prepared for this. If you don’t want to be bothered , eliminate phone numbers all together. Only give it to your confirmed suppliers.
WeChat/Skype : Nearly all Chinese people have WeChat, it is probably the best way to get in touch with them. Again, just make sure you give your we chat acc sparingly or your account will be full of suppliers you don’t want to work with. We find that you tend to get faster replies when liaising with them via WeChat as oppose to emails. But remember to keep records of all logs and to keep the important discussions bound on emails.
If you can write in Mandarin, or know someone who can, it is always a nice touch to have a Chinese translation of your business card. We do this regularly and find that Chinese suppliers tend to warm up to you quicker, which means more attention from them and meeting the decision maker sooner.
Any other Business Card suggestions we overlooked? Let us know!