You do have a box full of real estate business cards, don’t you? And you do have some in your pocket or purse don’t you?
I’ve seen agents say that real estate business cards are no longer necessary. They’re old-fashioned, and “nobody” uses them anymore because “everyone” swaps contact information via their smart phones. Don’t listen, but be glad if your competitors do!
Swapping phone contacts is good ONLY if two people decide to exchange information.
That’s it – that’s all.
If you have plenty of real estate business cards, you can (even should)
- Hand your card to a store employee you’ve been chatting with.
- Give your card to service people who come to your house.
- Hand your card to people you chat with in waiting rooms, while standing in line, etc.
- Exchange cards with others at meetings and networking events.
- Give your cards to fellow volunteers.
- Hand out your cards to interested people at class and family reunions.
- Leave your card when you leave a nice tip.
- Enclose your card in the envelope when you pay local bills by check.
- Tack your card up on bulletin boards that serve your niche (an equestrian supply store, a marina, etc.)
- Enclose your card in real estate mailings.
- You can even construct small bags of candy to hand out at Halloween – with your card enclosed. (Parents do check the candy, these days.)
Tom Hopkins, in his book about listing and selling real estate, recommends handing new cards to the same people over and over again. Tell them it’s so they’ll have one handy to hand to anyone they know who might need your services. Isn’t that a pleasant, subtle way of asking for referrals? I think so.
Do take care of your cards:
Invest in a hard-shell case, so the cards you hand out won’t look worn or dog-eared from riding loose in a purse or pocket.
Real estate business cards can do something a phone contact list cannot…
They can show your smiling face, so people will remember who you are.
If you look at a list of names of people you’ve met once or twice, perhaps a month or more in the past, can you remember which ones you were drawn to? I sure can’t.
Most of us are far better at remembering faces than names, because faces evoke feelings. So if your cards include a good likeness of you, more people will remember who you are, and whether they liked you when they met you.
An objection: “Including your photograph isn’t professional.”
I’ve heard the argument from agents: “Doctors and lawyers don’t put their pictures on their cards. It isn’t professional.”
No, they don’t. But you are not a doctor or a lawyer. Further, yours is a relationship business – theirs is not. You get your clients in an entirely different manner. Almost anyone you meet could be a potential client.
I’ve also read that you should give your card only to select people.
WHY? Do you want only select clients?
What constitutes an effective real estate business card?
There are business cards and business cards. If you’re going to make the effort to have and use them, make them effective.
So what should they contain and how should they look?
The Card stock:
Your cards should be on good quality, heavy card stock – stock with a surface you can write on. Sometimes you’ll want to add a note on the back of one, so you don’t want a slick, plasticized card. This is the voice of experience talking – I had those once.
What about using colored stock? If it fits your branding, use it. Colored stock will certainly make your card stand out in a pile of white ones.
While your card needs all the pertinent information, such as your name, your brokerage, your URL, and all the ways to contact you, less is more. Don’t clutter. Do leave white space so each bit of information has room to breathe and be seen.
Use the same colors and style as you use on your website, brochure, flyers, etc. Consistency helps others immediately recognize that “it’s you.” If you have a logo, include it. If you serve only a specialized niche, include that information.
As already noted above, I believe that in addition to your name, company, contact information, and URL, your photo is of vital importance on your card.
Envision this: A person you chatted with a month or so ago while you were both volunteering at the animal shelter has a friend who says she needs an agent. Your acquaintance says: “I know just the one for you to call. She loves dogs, and she sounds like she loves real estate too. I’ll find her card and let you know.” So, this person goes in search of your card, which she tossed in a desk drawer. Hmmm… there are 4 agent cards in there. Which one are you? What was your name, anyway?
If your smiling face was on one of those cards, she’d know immediately. But if it’s not, and she’s not sure, she’ll either skip the idea entirely or take a chance on giving her friend the wrong information.
Your URL belongs on your real estate business card and on every other piece of printed material you use. Your website is the core of your marketing, so invite visitors at every opportunity. Make that URL easy to find and to read.
A short tag-line if you have one:
This could even go on the back of the card, if the front is becoming cluttered. When I had a real estate agency, we added “The Difference” to everything. Recently I saw a card with “Help is here” printed diagonally across the back in red. That would stand out in a pile of cards.
Real estate business cards are now part of another controversy.
I personally think it’s a silly one, but there it is. In some places, agents showing homes are under fire for leaving a card to show that they’ve been there. Some people believe that leaving your card is an attempt to steal the listing from the current listing agent.
I disagree – but I don’t make the rules. I think homeowners want to know that the person who was supposed to show up really did. They might even get comfort from knowing who was in their house in their absence. It’s true that lock boxes give that information to listing agents, but still…
Check your local rules and pay attention to listing notes. Some agents want you to leave a card and will say so. If you aren’t sure what to do, ask.
This controversy makes me think “Another First World problem.” Too many people spend their time trying to feel insulted or slighted or cheated over something.
Now it WAS wrong when an agent showed one of my listings and left a note for the seller telling her that she’d like to have the listing when it expired. She assured that seller that she could do a much better job. Fortunately for me, the seller called to warn me about the agent, then gave me the note.
It doesn’t matter what the Code of Ethics says, or who commits to it by becoming a REALTOR®. Some people have no ethics – and never will.
One last thing…
Be SURE to proofread multiple times before sending your card layout to the printer. Ask one or two other people to check it, too. You really don’t want to toss an entire batch of cards because of a typo. Along with the words, triple-check all the numbers and your URL for accuracy.