This Guy Tried to Earn My Business, But I Earned His Instead. Here’s How…

A few years ago, I had a conversation with a client about first impressions. When we initially met, he was soliciting lawn care service in our neighborhood and trying to earn my business, but after he handed me his business card, the tables turned.

Two things immediately stood out about his card: The logo was a poorly drawn caricature of an indiscernible rodent-like animal, and it was printed on an inkjet printer with cheap tear-away stock paper. It looked entirely unprofessional. What exactly was he selling? And why would I want to buy it?

I looked at his card for a moment, then said, “I can help you do this better.” This is something I see all the time. He was trying to get his business off the ground and cut a few corners to save money.

But it doesn’t work that way.

There are oodles of business owners out there, just like this guy, trying to get a toe hold in their respective industries by earning new customers and building business. The last thing any kind of professional should want is to look like an amateur when they’re making a pitch. A good question to ask is, would you hire you with what you’re currently pitching?

Sure, you can keep handing out jack-leg business cards — save yourself a few bucks on the front end, but you can also expect to continue losing potential customers. They are judging you and rightfully so. They’re looking for a quality business to spend their hard-earned money on, and nothing about you is screaming, “I’m a professional! Hire me!”

Face it, you are not a graphic designer. Stay in your lane. Spend the money and hire a qualified designer who can make your business look as professional as the services you offer.

The right designer will ask questions about your business: your demographic, your goals, your competition, etc. They’ll do the industry research and create a comprehensive design brief then come up with some sketches of rough logo concepts for you to consider. They’ll use their expertise to get you to the right result and produce a finished product that doesn’t just resonate with your business, but with your customers as well — and that’s what matters most.

Take that one step further and have them design your business cards, your letterhead, and your website as well. If all goes well, you’ll have a designer in your back pocket for when you need billboard ads and mailers designed for your growing business.

Trust me, the cost of professional design services are far outweighed by the loss of revenue in not making the right first impression.

The lawn service client turned out to be a pretty decent success story. Together, we rebranded his business — new logo and business cards initially, but then came polo shirts, custom shrink wrap on his trucks, advertising, and signage. We still do business together and I’d like to think much of his success started off with a conversation on my front lawn.

Why? Because his first impression of my business earned me a new customer.