Establishing an Image
Your personal image is linked, in part, to your dress and appearance. What is proper for one agent doesn't necessarily work for another. As noted earlier, suitable attire varies depending on where you work and the types of properties you work with, so don't assume that a business suit is your best choice. Agents who sell large tracts of land won't be ready to help buyers find property lines if they show up in a suit and tie — casual clothes and hiking boots might be more appropriate. Agents working in a tourist area, where people buy second homes, might opt for dressy-casual clothes. That is likely what their clients will wear when they take advantage of a little vacation time while house hunting.
Your office might have a dress code. If it doesn't, you can get a feel for suitable attire by paying attention to the dress of successful agents in your area. There is no need to mimic them exactly. Develop your own style but try to make it a style that fits in with what is acceptable in your town.
Your attitude is every bit as important to your image as your outward appearance. If you're a new agent, you might be nervous about talking with prospects, especially if you don't feel you can answer all of their questions, and that nervousness is apparent to people. Try to relax and let your self-confidence show. Even if you don't immediately know all of the answers to their questions, customers will have faith in your ability if they see that you are ethical and sincere about helping them. If you don't have the answers but know where to get them, most people will still be happy to work with you.
Your Business Cards
Your real estate firm might have a predesigned business card for its agents, a template that is set up for each agent to customize with a photo and personal information, such as a cell phone number and e-mail address. If using a photo is optional, always choose the photo card. Everyone you hand the card to is a potential client. You want them to remember your name
Be sure that the photo on your card looks like you. An airbrushed photo might make you feel better, but you want people to recognize you from the photo when they see you. Update your picture every few years. You may not think you look different, but chances are your style has changed enough that a current picture is needed.
Some firms allow agents to design their own business cards if certain company guidelines are followed, such as mandatory use of the company logo. Personal card design gives you the opportunity to make sure your name and permanent contact information are the most prominent aspects of the business card. You might choose not to include the firm's phone number, or to include it in small letters. Let's face it — agents don't always stay with the same agency for their entire careers, but people do hang on to old business cards. You want them to find you no matter when they decide to buy or sell, so your permanent contact information is the most important data on your card. Your cell phone number or personal e-mail address will move with you.
Logos and Mottos
Some agents use a graphic logo or short motto in all of their advertising. This is a design or statement that, after a time, always reminds potential clients of you. Let your photo be your logo, so that people remember your face. You could also choose something that ties in to your work, such as a drawing of your town or your general area. If you use a drawing, keep it simple so that it can be reproduced easily in all types of advertising formats.
Check with your state for regulations regarding the size of company logos on business cards and other forms of advertising. Some states require that the company information is more prominent, or larger, than your personal information.
Choose a motto that fits your personality or the goals you're trying to achieve in real estate. Read real estate ads nationwide and you'll see mottos ranging from “We buy ugly homes” to “Your hardworking neighbor.” Keep your motto short so that it's easy to remember and doesn't overshadow the rest of your advertising copy.