The agents at Maury Street Realtors were having their weekly meeting. They started talking about missed opportunities, defined as potential sales that they could have acted on if they had known anything about it, but they didn’t. The topic of discussion was how to cut down on missed opportunities. So much in real estate is left to chance: whether someone hears about someone else wanting to buy or sell, or whether someone drives by a house potentially on the market, or whether someone makes a good introduction. They wanted to find ways to cut down on missing those opportunities.
They decided to call on someone they knew who might be in a position to advise them: a salesman at a full service printing company and who had helped them in the past. They ran into him by chance, and they invited him over to visit them in their location. After listening to their concerns and understanding their situation, he came back to them and recommended a rack card program.
His theory was as follows: the best place for them to advertise in a rack card would be at the local airport. Of the many people arriving every day by place, a certain number were newcomers to town. Many of them would be thinking about buying or renting a house right away. A rack card would be the perfect advertisement to get people to come to contact Maury Street Realtors directly from the airport or from their hotel room. After all, if they didn’t know anybody in town then the one firm that was right there asking for their business had an advantage. The salesman thought that this approach would have a very positive impact on her business and he recommended that she start right away.
Rack cards are usually found in public places – places where there’s a lot of human traffic – airports, hotels, motels, tourist attractions, rest stops, convenience stores and restaurants. The rack card concept is borne out of two phenomena:
when waiting in public places, people often have time to kill. They look for something to distract themselves.
local businesses want to ensure that people visiting public places become aware of services or activities that are available in the area.
Thus, we have a convergence of needs: a general, unspecified need (to fill some time and possibly learn something about the local area) is met by a need on the part of a local business to make a specific offer (to give you a chance to play golf at a first class hotel located ten minutes away, as an example).
You go to a trade show. You are going to be talking to people all day long, and you are going to begin the process there with the possibility that many of those conversations will eventually turn into sales. In some cases you will be closing sales that started at some other place and you and your customer simply decided to meet at this trade show and close the sale.
You have to do a balancing act, however. You can’t just ignore all the people stopping by and wanting to find out more about your product. You can’t ask them to “take a number” because the line would be very long and it would take hours to deal with them on an individual basis.
That’s why you have rack cards. Rack cards allow you to take care of the needs of many people. Someone comes to your booth and they clearly want to see what it’s all about. You hand them a card. If they read it and decide that they need to talk with you further, you make an appointment for later in the day and you move the sale forward at that time. Or if they decide that there is no real hurry, they can at least take your card and keep it with them and come back to you or re-contact you at a later time.
If you are so busy that you can’t take any time at all for the large number of the people who stop by, then letting people look at your rack cards and take what they need may be the best that you can hope for.
The point is that no one needs to leave empty-handed. Of course, if this latter experience reflects your experiences then you are obviously doing land-office business and you need to hire more sales people!
Rack cards are similar to a common brochure design in that they are often if not uniformly tall and narrow, but that’s mainly because rack cards tend to be found in one place only. Most trade shows are going to have common areas, and a card rack is a great place to leave both your brochures and rack cards if possible. This accomplishes a couple of goals: it alerts newcomers to your presence at the show, and those who are leaving can grab more of your literature on the way out.
The author, who is associated with Conquest Graphics, is a nationally recognized expert on all aspects of printing, print marketing, the internet and social media. Contact Conquest Graphics for a discussion about how your organization can use rack cards to raise your public profile.