Why is Real Estate the ONLY Profession With Pictures On Business Cards?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Tower Realty

My son is in real estate (trust me very ecstatic with his decision), anyway I was looking at his business card awhile back and realized there was no picture of him on it anywhere.  So I asked him why he decided to opt out of having a picture of himself on his business card.

He came back with..."Do doctors have pictures of themselves on business cards? What about lawyers or even carpet cleaners?" I guess I really never thought about it. We are really the only profession that universally has our own pictures on our business cards.

Well, I guess I couldn't argue with that, but still it doesn't really sit well with me. I guess I feel like it helps with exposure to have a face with a name.

Does anyone agree with my son? Or maybe have a different opinion. I would love to hear your comments.

Comments (11)

Michael (Mike) Elliott
Nottingham Real Estate Group - Hamilton, NJ
I was recently chided by an AR member for telling her she was not as professional as could be with her dog in her pic. she then dug all over my posts / website etc and told me why I was so horrible. Anyway, this age of agent promo is just at the beginning.
Dec 10, 2007 03:47 AM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

I have to go against the grain and side with your son.  I remember when I first got into real estate and everyone I know asked if I was going to put my photo on the signs and cards.  They all thought it was tacky.  (I did have one occasion that I absolutley wanted to do it, but didn't--it was for a listing in my ex husbands neighborhood.  I thought it would be funny to make him have to drive by and see my face everyday. tee-hee.)

I think if you are going to do it, you should live up to the photo in person and update it annually.  I've seen plenty of photos that don't look anything like the people I am meeting in person.

Dec 10, 2007 03:48 AM
Leigh Brown
Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive - Charlotte, NC
CEO, Dream Maker - Charlotte, NC

The difference between our profession and a doctor/lawyer/carpet cleaner is that we specialize in relationship-building.  And people connect better/faster with a face than with just a random name on a card.  It's not an ego thing-it's about connecting.  I get a lot of referrals and such from folks who 'like' me before they meet me-based on my smile or whatever.

I do agree with Amanda, the photos need to be at least halfway-accurate.

Dec 10, 2007 03:51 AM
Linda Futral
Newnan, GA
I opted out.  No photo on the card for me and honestly there is just one other agent in my particular office who has a photo on her card.  We all have our reasons but me in particular as a single gal doesn't want that floating around in some guys wallet.  I know weird thought but I know two agents that were stalked by a guy who found them via their cards with pics on them.  Now you say yes even without the pic they could stalk but I just prefer not to have mine on there plus it is one less thing I have to remember to do --change that darn pic.
Dec 10, 2007 03:53 AM
Jason Smith
DreamDirt Auction - Mondamin, IA

I think it could go either way.  I know agents with no photo, and agents with photos.  For me it just kind of puts a face to the name.  Maybe just a bit more of a personal connection.  If you were handing it to them in person then I think no picture is fine.  If you are sending them in the mail or they are getting it somewhere else then I think it might help them put a face to it.

I do agree with living up to the picture.  It should be reasonably close to what you actually look like and I don't really know why. 

I have seen many other types of salespeople with their photo on their card though.  Insurance, car sales, home inspectors, auctioneers.  Doctors and lawyers are no necessarily in the sales field but look in the phone book yellow pages and see if you see photos of lawyers or on bill boards close to the local jail. 

Dec 10, 2007 03:56 AM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

Hey Linda, my husband felt the same way about the photo from a stalker point of view.  (I do have the photo on my AR profile, my web-site and in real estate magazines but perhaps he just doesn't know it.)

Dec 10, 2007 04:04 AM
Jo Olson
HOMEFRONT Realty - Kettle Falls, WA
Retired - HOMEFRONT Realty @ LAKE Roosevelt
I have never had my picture on my card. It is however, everywhere else. I have been thinking about adding it. We will see.
Dec 10, 2007 04:07 AM
Steve Glose
Keller Williams Classic Group - Orlando, FL
TRC, CIPS, 407-616-7286, Orlando Real Estate, Orla
I was just talking about this the other day. We are a personal profession and people want to see who they will be working with.
Dec 10, 2007 04:14 AM
Dennis Serra
Meridian Business Group - Schaumburg, IL

Your image is your brand.  A picture can only enhance it.  I have never received a card from a doctor so I can't say if they do use a picture.  Please do not use a picture that was taken in a different decade.

Do you absolutely need one?  No.  It is only one little piece of your marketing.

Dec 10, 2007 04:33 AM
Chelle Gassan
RE/MAX Regency and Staged Homes VA - Bristow, VA
NOVA Realtor and Stager
In the beginning I fought the photo on my business card, but somewhere along the way, I did it...it just seemed right.  But, I think it doesn't really matter one way or the other.
Dec 10, 2007 05:12 AM
Fred Light
| Nashua Video Tours - Nashua, NH
Real Estate Video Tours for MA and NH

I agree with your son, as do most of the younger generation.  Younger people today shop for real estate and agents in a different manner than their parents or grandparents.  I've been telling my customers for YEARS to 1) get rid of their photo on their business cards, 2) get rid of their photo in their marketing, and for God sakes, get RID of that photo on your home page!

I personally think it's a bit cheezy.  And don't even get me started on the 25 year old photos, the "glamour shots", the photos with the cute little pocket dog, etc....  Guess what?  A photo doesn't always work in your FAVOR - if you know what I mean!  Do you want someone to choose you based on your photo??  One of the best print ads I ever saw was a photo of an agent holding a card OVER his face - which said "Would you choose a realtor based on his photo?".  It was a great ad - that speaks a lot of truth.

Even if you think that having a photo is a plus, it's harder and harder for agents to differentiate yourself from the gazillions of other realtors out there.  NOT having a photo on your card is one little way of standing out a bit!  And I believe you look 100% more professional.

When I see business cards with photos, they're usually of insurance salespeople, used car salesman, ambulance chaser lawyers, etc.  Not the most trusted of occupations.  Think about it. 


Dec 10, 2007 07:09 AM