Selling Soulfully with Jennifer Allan

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The Dorky Business Card...and my three faves from Vegas

I'm having fun today. I'm entering the contact information I got off of all the business cards I collected at thebcard NAR convention. (Now, if YOU gave me a card, don't worry, I promise not to call you during dinner or otherwise pester you without your permission!)

Are you asking yourself why on earth I'd claim that data-entry is fun? Well, yeah, I agree, THAT part isn't as much fun as, say, taking a nap. But what I'm enjoying is checking out the hundreds of styles, designs and content of these business cards from all over the country. Some are fantastic, some are... not so. Of course, we all have our opinions on what makes a business card "good" but since this is my blog, I'll tell you what I think. Feel free to chime in with your differing opinions!

Okay, first, I must mention that what has jumped out at me is how many agents use their company's email ISP as their email address, for example JoannePeterson@APCRealty.com.  This is crazy (unless Ms. Peterson owns APCRealty). Never, ever use your company's phone or email systems when providing contact information to friends, strangers, clients, prospects or even other real estate agents! If you leave the company (and chances are you will), you're throwing away future business and referral dollars by the fistful. I still get calls and emails from people who have my Re/Max business card (which is at least five years old). I GET the calls because my contact information didn't change when I left Re/Max.

Second, I must say that the award for the most BORING business card design is shared by Coldwell Banker and Prudential.  You all know what I'm talking about. I must have dozens of CB and Pru cards and they all look exactly alike. Unless the person you gave the card to really, really likes you, there's no way they're going to find a special place for that card.

In my opinion, you should strive to create a business card that, if it were found lying in the bananas at the Piggly Wiggly, someone would pick it up and consider keeping it because it's so attractive, appealing, funny or otherwise eye-catching. Some will argue that by saying that we should strive for a professional (boring) business card because that's what doctors, lawyers and accountants do... but... NEWSFLASH! We aren't doctors or lawyers or accountants, much as we long to be. We're in a much more people-oriented business and yeah, we have to stand out!

Third, many of the cards have stuff on the back - tip charts, additional contact information, referral hearts & "Oh, by the ways..." even a few mission statements. Eh... it's up to you, but I think the real estate on the back of my business card is way too valuable to fill up with this stuff. THIS is perfect space to write on when you want to provide information to someone else - such as - your "personal" cell phone number, the name and number of your favorite painter or dog-sitter, an interesting website address, whatever! In the hundreds of business cards I collected, I've yet to see something printed on the back of one that was worth the loss of that valuable space.

And last, many of the cards include what seems like dozens of contact phone numbers and/or website addresses. C'mon, are these folks really so hard to find that they need 14 different phone numbers? Do they really WANT someone calling all those numbers (and leaving 14 messages) trying to track them down?

Of the hundreds of cards I went through, here are my three favorites. No real reason; they're just the ones that caught my eye. What do you think?

 maria

  

 

 

 remax

 

 

 

 joeann

Yes, our very own Joeann! Isn't she CUTE?

 

 

 

It's Here!

 

The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
(True Story)
Order Your Here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment balloon 24 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • November 28 2007 06:44AM

Comments

The last one does stand out . We are redoing all of ours so the three you posted have given me a couple of ideas
Posted by Charlie Ragonesi, Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros (AllMountainRealty.com) almost 12 years ago
I'm glad I could help! A few more ideas coming tomorrow...
Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago
Worse than your companies email is AOL or YAHOO or some other FREE email ... looks so unprofessional
Posted by Allen C. Wright, NS, AHS, REPS (RealtyU) almost 12 years ago
I like Marla's it tells exactly what the end result of your interaction with her will be.
Posted by Todd & Danielle Millar almost 12 years ago
Allen, what do you think of gmail? My phone number will stay the same when I change brokerages, but my email will change.
Posted by Deb Counts-Tabor (Portlandia Properties / Realty ONE Group) almost 12 years ago

Jennifer - you are SO right about the email address!  You'd be surprised at what people save for future reference!  I have a magnet on my fridge that's probably 3-4 years old with an agent's information.  Maybe I'll call /email and see if they are still associated with that realtor.

Patty Keller, AnotherME

Posted by Patty Keller, AnotherMe - 770-414-9393 - RE Virtual Assistant (AnotherME, LLC) almost 12 years ago

Jennifer,

Very good points.  I redid my cards last year for several reasons.  First the design was the same as every other agent in the office and the company paid to have them printed and I was far from impressed with the stock they were printed on.  To me they were just plain cheap.

I did some online research and found a design that I liked but wasn't totally sold.  So I took the idea and took off with it.  First I took a picture of a new home with landscaping and a green yard that was owned by one of our builders.  I then faded it into the background of the card.  I then put my name in nice big letters, followed by Realtor(R), I put my cell number, fax number and email address.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my own web address so I put down the company.  (MISTAKE!) Then I have the company name is small print with the address.

After I started at this company, I figured why should I put the time into advertising the company name and phone number on my flyers and business cards.  As your new posts says, real estate is not a team sport! 

Oh and spend the money to have your cards printed on nice heavy card stock.  I have people comment on the thickness of my cards all the time. 

Posted by Kim Peasley-Parker (AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Allen - thanks for pointing that out (about yahoo). I think I recommend using Yahoo or Hotmail (instead of the company ISP) in my book and I was meaning to change that.

When going through the cards I collected at the Expo, I found the ones that stood out (to me) the most were the ones like Joeann's above, where the agent's photo is an integral part of the card. The ones that looked the "worst" were the ones where the agent's photo was stuck on the card in the middle of a different background. Does that make sense? Like, when you have a studio shot with a frame and you put it on a card with a cityscape behind it. That's jarring to my eye.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago

Interesting ideas.  I'm going to have to review my business card order for next year.  I guess I need change my email address.  I have it set up with myname@myname.com, but my business cards still have the company email address on them.  Would you recommend putting a more personal picture on the cards, for example if I posed with my dogs, or just a regular headshot?  Thanks.

Posted by Christina Moock, REALTOR - Cutler Real Estate (Cutler Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

When it comes to business card photos, I think you should use a photo that you're really proud of - one that you'll hand out without reservation. It should be striking and memorable. That may be as simple as aledawhat you wear (the bcard to the left isn't exciting, but the color of her blouse really stands out, to me) or the light in your hair, or yeah, your dog. I like having animals around when I have my photos taken because I can tell a difference in my expression (even if I crop the animal out!).

 

Personally, I don't like the cards with "backgrounds" like city-scapes or beaches or mountains because they're rarely well designed.

Take a look at the business cards you have lying around and see which ones jump out at you. Maybe that would be a good place to start.

Everyone will have a different opinion as to what is an effective card, but I think if YOU love your card, that will encourage you to hand it out. I had a card once with a picture on it I hated and I wouldn't give it to anyone.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago
This is great advice. I am a new agent, and will be ordering cards next week. I am going to take everything said into consideration. THANKS!!
Posted by Chrissy Myers (Nick's Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

You've hit on a real dilemma here. I have to say I CAN'T STAND to see hotmail or gmail or yahoo addresses on agents cards. I want to see that professional company name. True story: Back when I used a free email, I actually had a guy tell he thought I was scamming him because I had a free email address. He said any "real" agent would have a recognisable company address. AOL addresses are the worst. I want to call the agent and rant at them every time I see one. It puts me off my food. Massive turn off for me and also tells me the agent is not at all tech savvy - and probably new. HOWEVER, Jennifer has a good point. People are lazy and they don't update their emails - and that's also a huge problem when it comes to retaining clients. The answer is simple: Just buy your own domain name and own your own email address forever! The problem here? Agents are also lazy. And not tech savvy. And they have no idea how to do it. Maybe I should start a sub-business helping agents get their online sh*t together??

Posted by Marcus Burke over 10 years ago

Marcus - I agree that hotmail & yahoo addresses aren't the answer, but I do believe, from a customer-retention perspective, that they're better than an address you can't control and may suddenly leave or lose. If I'm a fabulous real estate agent, my clients aren't going to dump me over an unprofessional email address, but if they write to me two years later and I don't respond because I changed offices, then they most likely will!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 10 years ago

Great ideas here. thx

Posted by Tina Gleisner, Home Tips for Women (Home Tips for Women) over 10 years ago

I know, I know...my email address!  I do have my photo on mine!  A funny story, a real estate coach was trying to persuade his client that he should have his photo on his card.  The client said, "but what if I'm ugly?", to which the coach replied "what?  Do you want to SURPRISE them???"

One thing about cards that I don't like, and no offense to your friend Joeann, but I really, really hate the "crossed arms" look, and so many of my female collegues do that!  I think the body language is very off-putting.  Just my two cents!

David Reyhons, Broker Associate

Keller Williams Partners Realty, Inc. Colorado Springs, CO

Posted by David Reyhons over 10 years ago

I am an E-Pro. One of the things they teach in that course is that your email address should be YOUR professional website, not your company's. Mine is sandy@sandyandry.com. It will always be this address....for the rest of my life. It's easy to tell someone verbally. My son bought his domain name, too. Just easier when changing ISP servers. PLUS I do have only one phone number on my card. It's my direct line, voicemail and my fax. So there is only one number on my card instead of so many to confuse people. I purchase this service for a fee every month at www.1num.com. It is an e-fax and faxes and voicemails come right to my inbox. Thanks for the good conversation and information on cards.

Posted by Sandy Andry over 10 years ago

This advise seems so obvious but so many just don't get it.  From my personal blog to my main business web site it is all about me.  Not that I think I am any better than anyone else.  But I want you to get to know me and trust me for who I am.  Maybe then you will listen to what I offer.  As for AOL, I never did like them.  Especially back when I had dial-up service. 

Steve Orris, helping people get out of debt.

Posted by Steve Orris over 10 years ago

I just got 1000 new business cards *before* reading this. Fortunately, they do everything suggested in the blog.

My old cards could have been an example of what not to do; they went to the trash can...

Posted by Robin Turner, Robin Turner (Happy House Real Estate) over 10 years ago

I have at least ten email addresses!   For real estate business, I usually use the mail2world.com,

because it is more"worldly" than "hotmail.com"   but I've found that many of my clients want to have

 the ability to use MSN chat and have a "closer connection" with me...and be able to "See when I'm

 online" and be able to leave me messages, or just plain "chat" at their convenience, if I am working

 late at night.

I can't begin to list the number of people I've befriended from original "leads"  on "hotmail" or MSN

Chat or "live" as  differentiated from "royallepage.ca"  which I have NEVER used, and don't intend to!

I've been here, originally against my free will as they'd just bought out the Canadian "Realty World"

franchise  system.   Over the past few years, our RW brokers have been able to convert the

confirmed to using many of the developed Realty World systems to fit the Royal LePage mold.   Most

of my previous  clients have "gone along" with the big changes...but it wasn't an easy process.    Now,

after half a dozen years, I'm happy I was converted, rather than making a switch. 

Still can't get used to wearing red, rather than believable blue jackets!

Vera

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Vera Ann Holman over 9 years ago

I know this post was written in 2007 but..

Was in a restaurant recently..you know one with the ads on the placemats. There was agent info with email and web from a "former" company. It been there for the past year and no one has noticed. Bet this agent might wonder why ads don't work!

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 8 years ago

Coldwell Banker here, and I went "out on a limb" and got me some COOL cards.  I got in a little trouble for it ;) but the way I see it, I bought them. Thanks for tips!!

Posted by Stephanie Arnett, SRS, IMSD, Broker Associate, REALTOR (RE/MAX Partners~ Starkville, MS) about 8 years ago

As I mention in the reply to another of your posts, I have three cards - one company one we HAVE to have with photo, my own 'classier' card with no photo, and my "Cool Card" with my logo.

 

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846 (iXL Real Estate-Wiregrasss\) almost 6 years ago

Just ran across this post and I think you are spot on.

Posted by Sussie Sutton, UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers. (UTR Texas Realtors) over 3 years ago

I keep my card simple and as minimalistic as possible. No head shots, no unnecessary lines. After being 10 years in business this is the only way I prefer it. No one keeps b.cards these days anyway, all info in smart phones.

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) over 3 years ago

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