Is Your Business Card Hurting Your Business


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If you have bought into the practice of “image or personal marketing, " it's time to take a fresh look at what today's consumer really wants. The 80's and 90's were the decades of image and personal marketing. Marketing experts advised Realtors® to prospect using a personal brochure. “Tell the consumer about how many houses you sold. Use your glamour shot that illustrates how professional you look and don't forget to include it on your business card as well. " What seemed like a good idea ten years ago can be the kiss of death in today's consumer oriented environment. Increasing your business in this environment may call for a quantum shift in your approach. A simple place to begin is by changing your business card. If you want a business card that actually attracts business, follow the five tips listed below.

1. Is there a picture on the card?
Can you name one other profession outside the real estate industry that places pictures of its sales force on its business cards? I've asked this question at numerous seminars and the answers are the same—insurance agents and used car salespeople. If our industry wants to break away from the “one-step-above-a-used-car-salesman" image, we should follow the lead set by Fortune 500 businesses. Their business cards provide the name of the company, the individual's name, and their contact information. There are NO pictures. To illustrate why your picture is not that important, can you name the person who won the academy award for best actress three years ago? Even when the person's name and picture has been in front of you repeatedly, most people still have a hard time remembering. The same is true with your business card. The people you meet will decide whether they want to work with you while you are face-to-face. If you didn't make a great impression in person, how is your card going to make any difference? A better approach is to print separate business cards for each of your listings. Use a picture of the listing on one side, a brief property description, and your website and phone number on the back. Sellers will love the idea and it makes you stand out from other agents who still use their own photos to market their services. Most importantly, people who see your card will understand immediately that you're about helping people market their property rather than marketing you.

2. Is the contact information readable?
As an agent, you have access to business cards from other Realtors®. For the next two weeks, collect as many as possible and/or check the ones you may already have on file. Now look at the cards. How many have such a small font that you can barely read the print, even with your glasses (if you wear glasses)? Because the agent’s picture takes up so much space, a small font is necessary in order to cram in the agent's contact information. One agent summed it up like this: “Our prices are so high that almost anyone who can afford to buy properties in our area is wearing bifocals. " With up to 40 percent of today's listing market composed of the 55+ crowd, making your phone number and email address easy to read is critical.

3. How many phone numbers are on the cards you collected?
In most cases, the agents will have a cell phone, home phone, office phone, and fax number. How do you know which number you're supposed to call? Instead of listing multiple numbers, include your fax number and one primary number where clients can reach you. Remember, if someone is calling you from your business card, most people will have little patience trying to track down which number is correct.

4. Your website address
If you're using your name as your website address, consider shifting your primary web address to a function. For example, if you work a geographical farm, create a web address that incorporates the name of the area you farm: for example, or If you serve a specific niche based upon a profession or a specific market segment, use that as your web address. Examples include or Also, remember to use your print advertising to direct people to your website or to call your 800 Call Capture system.

5. Your email address
One of the most irritating and costly mistakes an agent can make on a business card is having a difficult-to-remember and/or difficult-to-type email address. When existing or potential clients make errors in typing your email address, important communications may not reach you. Furthermore, people lose business cards all the time. (Since the first of the year, how many business cards have you tossed or been unable to find when you needed them?) Having an easy-to-remember email address is critical. This means keeping it simple with no dashes, strange numbers, or difficult-to-spell names. In addition, instead of using Yahoo, AOL, or some other ISP in your email address, print up new cards with an email address at your website. For example, instead of using, shift to This sends a clear message to today's Internet-based consumer that you're in touch with today's marketing environment.

Remember, making the connection is the name of the game when it comes to converting leads into closed business. Make your business cards about the consumer and watch how many more leads you generate.

by Bernice Ross, Ph. D. MCC
Owner, , LLC and
Copyright © 2005 and
All rights reserved in all media.


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