Question Details

Patti Pereyra, Real Estate Pro in Chicago, IL

Agents: How important do you think it is to include your photo in your marketing materials (incl biz card)?

Asked by Patti Pereyra, Chicago, IL Sat Aug 18, 2007

And Sellers/Buyers: Does whether or not an agent uses a personal photo matter to you or impact your decision to hire him/her at all?

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15
I know it is VERY customary for real estate agents to have their picture on all their advertising. The idea is that they are branding themselves. There seems to be some merit for that idea.

I went to Wayne State University to study small business tactics. I've seen several marketing studies proving that about 65% of the population could care less what the person looks like when it comes to picking who to work with. 30% actually choose not to do business with a person based upon the fact that they prejudged them because the picture reminded them of someone whom they don't like. The remaining 5% chose based upon something they saw in the picture that they liked. So the conclusion is that your picture is making a negative or nuetral impact at best.

The most influential item on your business card and other advertising is a statement that tells folks why they should do business with you and only you. We call it your unique selling propostition. Write your USP in a way that builds confidence and trust. People do business with people they like and trust. Your USP can even be in the form of a guarantee. What are you willing to assert that you will do that no other agent in your market is willing to do?

If I were you, I wouldn't fret about putting a "great" looking picture on your cards etc. The worse thing you can do is put a picture on your card that is staged and really doesn't look like you. People will think you are vain, and guess what? They are right!

I know this observation of mine is against industry practice, so I expect to get flamed by many irrate agents. Tough. The real estate industry seems to be the only one pre-occupied with looks. Makes you wonder how the other 16 million professional sales people in other industries ever manage to make any money without having a picture on their business card. I think most buyers chose substance over form. Give it a go and see if this isn't true.
Web Reference: http://sellmyhomeken.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
There are another 16 answers on a companion Trulia thread titled "Is it beneficial for real estate agents to have their personal picture on business cards?" The link is below.

http://www.trulia.com/voices/Tech_Tips/Is_it_beneficial_for_…

My opinion: In 1994, it was kind of novel. so it helped you to stand out. - Plain cards cost $12 per thousand then and photo cards were about $50.

Today the card prices are cheap, so I carry several different cards, one with a picture, one that says commercial, one that says residential, one that says loans, and one that has name and company only, no phone#, to leave at showings (to make it harder for agents and their assistants to call me for "feedback")
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
Jim Walker, Real Estate Pro in Carmichael, CA
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Yep that is my Bloodhound, Harold. He is about 140 lbs and he was DEFINITELY walking me in that photo! Everyone who sees my website remembers that photo and asks about it.
Web Reference: http://www.erinattardi.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
Erin Stumpf, Real Estate Pro in Sacramento, CA
MVP'08
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The only reason I think it is sometimes nice to see a photo on a marketing piece is not for ego, but if you work a small area, people associate name with face and that is such a powerful brand especially if you are doing a great job or people recognize you at the grocery store or at local events. I do like to see an updated photo and not one from the mid 80s. With many Realtors® and agents out there, sometimes a face, logo or name is the only quick visual item to differentiate from others. Some not at all. Different approaches for different personality types.

Find your own "thing" whether it be an identifiable logo, a great smile or stern face or perhaps have such a memorable name. Run with it. Don't be afraid to be a little different and find your niche memorable item (no more agent team shots posed in front of their scripty team name – it's already been done). ;-)

Heather & Steve Ostrom
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
Steve Ostrom, Real Estate Pro in Roseville, CA
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Thanks for your answers, everybody. I personally do not use photos on my business cards or marketing materials, and never have. It seems I am in the minority here, but somehow using my face as a means to brand myself seems vain -- I believe the real estate industry should be customer-centered and not agent-centered. In the entertainment industry, I can certainly understand the correlation between face and marketing... but in real estate?

Deborah, I've heard the accountant example as well, and I see what you say about how the relationship with an agent is more personal. But to cite another example, I've never seen my doctor's or gynecologist's face on their marketing materials, and I don't think it can get more personal than that.

I don't know, I may be wrong -- I actually enjoy seeing your pictures next to your comments because it does give me a sense of talking to an actual person -- but I still struggle with whether or not I should cave and start using photos as part of my marketing.

Thanks for the 'food for thought'!

P.S. Erin - is that really your dog? Beautiful dog -- looks like he's taking YOU for a walk! ;o)
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
Patti Pereyra, Real Estate Pro in Chicago, IL
MVP'08
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I am not a huge fan of the practice of plastering my photo over everything...however I do put my headshot on my flyers and my web-related advertising. I do not have my photo on my business card. I also have a 'panoramic' shot on my main website homepage that EVERYONE remembers and asks me about...isn't that the point!? Just good marketing...but I try not to go over the top with it.
Web Reference: http://www.erinattardi.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
Erin Stumpf, Real Estate Pro in Sacramento, CA
MVP'08
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If you have a friendly face then I think it is very important. Real Estate agents don't have logos, so our face is probably the most recognized thing right after our name. I think someone who can smile and is at least average should always put their picture on their marketing marterial. All agents should have photos of themselves on a business card. Who else is in the clients wallets? Just their family - that's who you want to be - family. Particularly on the internet, I would think that you have any questions about how friendly you look you might opt to leave the photo off. With no photo, people can't judge you on anything but what you say.

I doubt people would honestly answer that they didn't use someone based on a photo, but I get all kinds of comments on my photo from internet buyers.
Web Reference: http://www.jrjarvis.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
Joshua Jarvis, Real Estate Pro in Duluth, GA
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Patti,
I came back to post a previous thread, and Jim beat me to it! then I realized Jim and I had selected two DIFFERENT threads... The thread referenced below had a bit more variety than this one, but I'll have to go check out the one Jim posted too...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
The idea of using a picture is so the agent can in part brand him or herself. Most of us use pictures for recognition. If you find a catch slogan or phrase, it will be remembered more than your picture, unless you are creative with your picture. I have seen agents in grocery baskets, or holding a sold sign, or a telephone. Try holding your cell phone and have the slogan "Call me on my sell phone!" People will remember the combination. It is catchy and a cute play on words. I have seen agents that have a cartoon drawing of themselves as their marketing picture, this is cute too. To answer the question, I think it is very important to have some kind of marketing gimic or photo!
Web Reference: http://carriecrowell.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
I don't place my photo on my card, but find the practice perfectly acceptable and even helpful in our industry.

How many of us have every talked with someone on the phone or via email and eventually met them only to find they look completely different than what we expected? If we don't know what someone looks like, we start to formulate an image in our mind.

The connectivity in a real estate transaction is highly personal, which is a factor that makes placing a photo on a biz card acceptable in this industry, while it could be unprofessional in another.

I have heard criticisms on that note.......i.e. Accoutants don't place photos on their cards. I think what we do is highly personal, touching their homes, playing a part in shaping their lives as they choose a next home and this all makes us different than the accountant.

I like Joshua's comment about a face being like a logo.

Agents do not have protected territories like sales reps who work for a company. Agents must be able to distinguish themselves from the other agents in their office. Since the Broker logo is the same, the individual photo is a visual imprint to help a consumer remember a particular agent.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
MVP'08
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I think it offers a feeling of comfort to the customers and clients. They become familiar with your face and feel like they really know you when they are speaking to you on the phone or email. However, I agree that it should be a current photo.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
I guess that it could depend on the photo. I have seen many, let's just say "experienced", agent's cards. The photo is a very nice photo of them...back in 1983. The point is recognition. The customer/client to look at a card and remember meeting that agent. It does appear to be an industry standard. I would say that it is more important than not. However, try to do it differently. Seek a professional photographer try some more creative approaches, such as a shot from above. Be different and keep it updated. Now, that being said, I have to go shoot a new photo.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
I put my photo on print postcards in areas where I would be most likely recognized however that's about where it ends. NAR stats show that 97% of buyers and sellers want home values and home prices, 3% want an agent so the site I'm designing only has a pic on the contact page, way down at the bottom with my bio.

I find it strange though how many agents ignore this an put their picture up front, streaming junk from the top of the page, and awful music.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 18, 2007
No go on putting your picture on the business card or other advertising for that matter. There is discussion of branding your self but that is mis guided. You want to brand the services you offer and how they will help the consumer. Now, don't get me wrong, I like the way I look and am a handsome guy, but I want to brand the product and not me.
Web Reference: http://zoglist.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 17, 2007
For years I operated without a photo on my card or marketing material. Someone finally another agent convinced me to put a photo on my card. Now I have branded myself with my little yorkie and my logo. Truthfully I could go either way.
Hovever, have a picture on your material allows the viewer to pass some sort of judgment before meeting you!
Web Reference: http://pamwinterbauer.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 18, 2007
Pam Winterba…, Real Estate Pro in San Ramon, CA
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