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Heinrich Wie…, Real Estate Pro in Boise, ID

Is it beneficial for real estate agents to have their personal picture on business cards?

Asked by Heinrich Wiebe, Boise, ID Thu Jul 19, 2007

Do people find value in this type of marketing -beyond entertainment value? Not that I'm against it, just want to hear what the folks we serve thinks about the issue.

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18
I was sooooo tempted to read the other responces before writing mine! I shall wait...
I am very conservative when it comes to this issue. Let's lift the status of our industry. Does your doctor, attorney, CPA have their picture on their business card? Does you car salesman? Unfortunately the answer many times is yes on the last one. If I haven't impressed you enough to remember me without a visual clue, then I am not doing my job well enough. This policy also avoids the shock factor of meeting your Realtor after seeing their picture. Whoa...you look so much older in person!
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 20, 2007
Mario Pinedo,…, Real Estate Pro in Cupertino, CA
MVP'08
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I have had cards with and without pics. Currently I do not have my picture on my card. I believe that one of the main reasons for agents to place their pics on cards is so that people can identify them through looking at picture if they forget the name of who they spoke with.

Consider the buyer who has not yet chosen a Realtor to represent him/her. The buyer goes to 10 open houses and at the end of the day can't remember which house or which card is attached to the memory of the conversation he/she had with this sharp agent. Upon reviewing the collection of biz cards from the day, the picture assists in the correct identification. (All of us humans are not as good at remembering names as we would like to be.)

I came from a corporate sales and marketing career prior to entering real estate. No, I did not have my picture on my card. In that environment, I was representing my company in competition with another company. I was not attempting to brand "me", but instead sell the products and services of the company for which I worked. Yes, if the decision makers liked and trusted me, it helped. The focus of the brand was the company, not "me."

In real estate, the consumer is exposed to thousands of agents in a marketplace. The agent is representing himself or herself and the picture is one tool an agent uses to help the consumer remember them and reflect back on the conversations they had. The agent is aksing the consumer to choose them and trust them. This is a different sales process than selling widgets for a manufacturer and explaining why widget "a" is better than widget "b".

I have also heard comments that CPAs and attorneys do not use pictures. Again, I think that comes back to the sheer volume of contacts the public has. If I were looking for an attorney, I might gather the names of a few, even meet with a few. But, I wouldn't interact with 50. I couldn't decide Sunday to go chat with 20 CPA's and get a feel for how knowledgeable and hard working they are. But, the public can go meet 20 real estate agents this Sunday, even 30.

Did someone say that real estate was not competitive? :) I thought I heard that once.......

Pictures are a tool that helps the public remember or recall a specific agent in a highly competitive industry where the public might meet scores of potential individuals in a short period of time.
Web Reference: http://PeninsulaFirst.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 20, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
MVP'08
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Just don't use the picture with your adorable Yorkshire Terrier or frisky Calico. Seriously, how do people put these on their cards and expect to be taken seriously? And don't even get me started on the soft light glamor shots that were taken 20 years ago! You know who you are ;)
Web Reference: http://RayandPaul.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 19, 2007
I would say yes, if you believe that you are your brand. Branding is everything; the reason big guys don't put their peoples pictures on their cards is because that person is not the brand. The brand that is recognizable is HP, DELL, IBM and so on. If all people see is your name next to, over, or above a company logo, to them you are no different than any other agent at your company, not to mention if your company is lesser known than you, you will suffer for lack of recognition all the way around.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 20, 2007
HAve you ever seen someone's picture on a business card outside Real Estate? i.e. IBM, Motorola, Toshiba, Dell, Boston Consulting, Hopefully people will judge and select you as their Real Estate Representative by the benefits you provide to them and not by your locks (or lack there of). Stephan Biermann, Broker, Licensed in NC & SC, SellHomes4U.com
Web Reference: http://www.SellHomes4U.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 20, 2007
I used business cards for years without a picture. As time progressed and I attended a number of marketing and advertising seminars, I began to learn the importance of "branding." Studies suggest that when asked on the spot who they would call on when thinking of real estate, most consumers can only name two agents. Our goal should be one of those two names they remember (and preferably the first or #1). I agree with other posts that the photo should be recent and without gimmicks. Just a good quality photo that people can begin to associate a face with a name. BTW, finding a good quality business card with a photo doesn't have to cost an arm and leg. Check out the website link below where I've been ordering my business cards from for the last few years.
Web Reference: http://www.gapco.com/
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 19, 2007
Vicki Masell…, Real Estate Pro in Duluth, GA
MVP'08
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I didn't have my photo on my card for my first two years. Once I started going to conferences, I started getting drilled by agents for not having it on there. I understood once I got home and tried to remember everyone from a pile of cards. The ones with pictures were the ones I remembered. Let me clarify...those with CURRENT PHOTOS. Nothing worse than having to do a double take on a card when someone hands it to you...is that really you??
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
I removed my photo from both my business card and my website a couple years ago and haven't regretted it in the slightest. If you're worried about branding, I would argue that I unique business card would serve better than another cheesy Realtor photo...or worse yet, the Realtor on the phone head shot.

That being said, I do find it a bit ironic that my photo is right over -----> there
Web Reference: http://myeastbayagent.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 3, 2007
This is a controversial issue amongst the so called experts with some saying it is important for the branding and recognition factor, while others say the seller or buyer could not care less, and to just give them the information they need.

Personally, I believe it is important to have my photo on all my marketing.

For example, when I sent material to my first farm several years ago, I like to walk and we have a subdivision of 450 homes. As time passed all of a sudden people who were outside said oh you are the Realtor guy. It took about ten months before I started getting business out of the marketing, but it is funny because people will stop while I am walking and ask what the value of their home is, or other questions. I think if I had sent these people marketing materials or business cards without photos I would not be recognized.

Outside of my farm the same has happened, but not as extensively since they do not see me out walking. However, I have had times where I walk into a store or event and people say oh I get your letters or notes with your business card. You see I send congratulations notes when some person gets recognition for something special, job promotions, births, weddings, etc.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2007
I used the photo card as a new agent, but ended up removing it for a more professional, polished look and feel. I still use a photo on my website, but I am aslo considering getting rid of it.
Web Reference: http://www.cindihagley.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2007
The Hagley G…, Real Estate Pro in Pleasanton, CA
MVP'08
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I've done it both ways for years and it didn't seem to make a difference. Then again, I depend on referalls more than marketing. My most important lead generator of non-referred customers is my website. I keep it high in the search engines by carefull word placement. I agree with Mario, we need to improve our image as professionals and leave the cutsie stuff for entertainers. I don't think it hurts if the picture is dignfied and small.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 20, 2007
To me it is more about having a card to serve as a "memory" piece to visually refer to that face again so I remember who they are and our conversation ... We meet so many people in this profession, I think the photo proves to be functional as well as informative. Keep your photos fresh and updated.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 20, 2007
Steve Ostrom, Real Estate Pro in Roseville, CA
MVP'08
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I don't put my photo on anything (website, marketing materials, business cards, etc.). I want the consumer to get to know me and my level of knowledge and service without having a chance to disqualify me before even having a conversation. I figured this out as a young agent in the business (started when I was 23) and although I'm much older now, the same principles apply. I have discovered that people can be fickle and I want to get every chance possible to interact with potential clients.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 20, 2007
Brand of oneself is important, but plastering your face on a card is more of following a script that most others are following. People I help don't care what ' I ' look like, they are more concerned if I can help them sell , or aquire real estate.
Most pictures or faces I've seen on cards aren't even close to what the people that handed them to me look like!
Thats a little like 'bait and switch' to me, folks I help want someone that is going to listen, not someone that needs a picture portfolio to boost their image.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 20, 2007
As professionals we should all realize the "value" of placing your photo on your business card - we have it on our trulia sights too - don't we Heinrich? Its a question that needs no answer - but I wanted to let Ted know that I love the website for the cards and plan on using it.

BTW - My pic was taken a few weeks ago - luckily I can change out with the next order Paul - and yup - putting my puppies on there would be a little silly.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 20, 2007
While reading these answers I found it funny that everyone has their picture on the side, ha! I like seeing the person to whom I'm speaking, or in this case, reading. I have found it helpful when the client is a female from out of town that will be spending the day with me inside my vehicle. If she is previewing before the spouse gets involved, she may be more comfortable knowing what the person looks like before committing to getting into the car. Some crazies look normal but I've seen some agent pics that were scary from the start!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 25, 2008
I think it helps people remember you, but I don't think it's very professional. I have several business cards I use and I only use a photo on one of them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 4, 2007
Never had one on. Don't plan to ever put one one.
Web Reference: http://mioaklandcounty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2007
Maureen Fran…, Real Estate Pro in Birmingham, MI
MVP'08
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