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Why Do Realtors Put Their Pictures on Their Business Cards?

(And on ads, brochures, signs, too.) I’ve heard many explanations, but none really convincing. “It’s a relationship business.” “It’s recognition.” “It’s vanity in a vain industry.” “It’s expected, since everyone else does it.” (This one makes sense – kind of like a negative feedback loop.) Art sales is a relationship business; stockbrokers want the same level of recognition; cosmetic surgeons are in the vanity business.

Maybe all the above reasons are a little true, maybe none. But from a sales and marketing perspective it doesn’t really make sense. A model or actor might put their photo on their card, but their face is their product; they are their brand. A Realtor’s product is a house, it’s not themselves. And a Realtor’s brand is more related to the company they work for than to themselves.

From a sales standpoint, it’s wasted real estate (sorry about that very bad pun) on the card/ad/brochure. The space that is used for an agent’s photo could be better used for another photo of the property, or a testimonial from a satisfied past customer, or even a special offer. (“10% off my commission in July” – Ha!)

Nonetheless, although I’ve read postings on blogs from folks claiming to be (usually ex-) Realtors who didn’t have a photo on their card, I’ve never seen one myself (sort of an urban legend, like the alligators in the sewers of New York). And I’ve never chosen a Realtor by their look or their picture.

Guess it’s just another mystery of the universe, such as: Where do missing socks from the laundry really go? Why do you feel colder when it’s cold and humid, but when it’s hot and humid you feel hotter?

And somewhat unrelated.... Why do I need to pay somebody a commission to sell or buy a house? (Actually, I know the reason, but it’s fun to keep this going. And I know I can do a for-sale-by-owner. Still.) I don’t need to pay someone 6 percent to sell my car. Nor to buy furniture. Nor buy a dog. Of course, the reason (claimed) is that a house is our biggest financial purchase, and there are myriad legal challenges (deeds, title, easements, blah, blah, blah). Sorry, but to me it’s like health insurance in America – so ingrained and dysfunctional that we’re stuck in a rut so deep there will never be an escape.

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