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.
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")
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 â€“ it's already been done). ;-)
Heather & Steve Ostrom
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)
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.
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...
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.
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.
Hovever, have a picture on your material allows the viewer to pass some sort of judgment before meeting you!