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!
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.
That being said, I do find it a bit ironic that my photo is right over -----> there
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.
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.
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.