Professional real estate business cards do many things. They are a great defense for your clients to fend off would-be agents. They engage new clients. And, they build your sphere.
They also mark off your turf. Seriously, these things are powerful.
Designing Your Card
A business card speaks volumes about you and your business. The font, color, shape and design make up the psychology of business cards. Can you imagine someone immediately dismissing you because of choices you made on your business card? It happens.
So does the opposite. Think back to a time someone handed you a business card and you were immediately impressed. You thought higher of the person, and it wasn't anything that they said. They just invested some time into designing a quality business card.
- Make the card readable and simple. This is above and beyond the most important thing. Do not be afraid of white space. White space can often be a great place to write notes about why you are worth a call.
- Provide at least of three ways to contact you. Email address and cell phone are a must, but this is also a good time to include professional social media handles.
- Having your website address is key. Your website should give visitors all the information they need to decide to choose you.
- Upgrade your card stock. For just a few pennies per hundred, you can add some weight physically and psychologically to your business card. Business cards made with heavier card stock feel more valuable to the recipient.
- Know the requirements within your jurisdiction and follow the rules. Your MLS may require you to list your MLS number somewhere on your card. Also, remember when using the word "REALTOR" that the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) wants you to put “REALTOR®” on your card.
- Don't clutter your card with large fonts and unneeded information. Putting too much information on your business card can make it difficult to find the useful information.
- Consider dropping the fax if you are short on space - also the beeper, no one uses those anymore.
Remember, contact information is the primary function of your card, make it big, bold and visible. Your website URL, email address, and cell phone are the most important pieces of information on your business card.
Beyond that, only put what is absolutely necessary.
Differentiating yourself from other real estate professionals is what keeps you in the game. As an agent, you have a value proposition, a mission statement, a personal expertise that sets you apart.
This is what your brand is made of. Your business card is yet another tool. Make it work for you.
- If you use a headshot on your business card, make sure it's professional and up to date. This doesn't have to be a costly expense. Keep an eye out for networking events that have a free headshot booth and sign up. (Don't just go for the headshot, though. Remember to network.)
- Have a logo created for you and your personal brand. Use it on all your marketing material.
- Consider a tagline. Your business card should tell people what you do and what makes you different. If you have a particular emphasis, include that on your card. Find your angle and draw attention to it.
- Don't overlook co-branding yourself with your company brand or lending partner. You pay them for the privilege, so take advantage of the added brand recognition. If you are co-branding with your lending partner, ask to split the costs to save you on printing.
- Remember the compliance regulations set forth by your broker or brand if you use your personal logo. It's likely you still need to reference your brokerage or brand.
- Don't forget the purpose of your business card. A well-designed business card works better than real estate business cards made in odd shapes, sizes and materials. Considering a metal business card because none of your competitors have one? Consider what that might do to the inside of your client's purse if it's loose. You don't want to be remembered as the agent who ruined your client's purse.
You want your business card to stand out and emphasize your personal brand, but you don't want to compromise purpose.
Distributing Your Card
You may have the most well-designed card. Your personal brand is highlighted perfectly. But, if you can't get your card into clients' hands, then your business card is nothing more than scratch paper.
Networking boosts your referral business by leaps and bounds, giving you countless opportunities to pass out your card.
Consider your approach before you run into a crowd and start tossing out your business card left and right.
- Be polite and always ask if you can give your card out. The days of starting out a conversation with “Hi, I’m Ralph the Realtor” may still be alive and well, but the polite way is to engage in a conversation. Toward the end ask, “May I give you my card?” You might just get your card into their wallet, instead of the trash can.
- Make yourself memorable before you exchange your card. The handoff of your well-designed business card is the icing on the cake. If you have engaged, connected and truly understand the person, the card seals the deal.
- Mention a specific time you intend to follow up and make a note in your personal calendar to do so. The business card is your foot in the door, make sure to reaffirm your value as an agent.
- Think outside the box and don't be afraid to post your real estate business cards where your potential clients might see them. This could include public bulletin boards, stores or affiliated businesses.
- This goes hand in hand with being polite. Don't toss your business card at every person you cross at a party or networking event. Establish a connection and start building a relationship. Use your real estate business card to take the conversation beyond the event.
- Don't hand out more than one copy of your card to the same person unless they offer to hand them out for you. In the case of someone offering to share your cards, consider the strength of connection you have with the person. Would you want your future client's first impression of you to be through someone other than yourself?
- Don't waste your time giving out your business card to someone you know you will never do business with. Not only is this wasting your time, but also money.
Leveraging Your Sphere
If you consider a transaction the last note, you're in the wrong mindset. The power of referrals can take you from an average agent to a rockstar, but the key is leveraging your sphere.
Having your business card available for distribution in your sphere increases referrals.
- Keep your highest referral generators stocked. These are your brand advocates. Frequently pass out one to three cards to your family members, friends and the past clients. Keep them stocked up. Gradually, you become top of mind and increase inbound referrals.
- Remind people you have a new card and exchange for your old cards. Having outdated contact information floating around is almost worse than having no contact information. If people get frustrated trying to contact you, you've lost the client.
- Always be ready to take advantage of natural opportunities that come up when you are talking about your business. On a day-to-day basis, people might take interest in your business. This is a good time to reinforce your role and increase awareness.
- Don't neglect your current clients. How many times do you think someone asks the average home seller the question: Who is helping you sell your house? Now imagine your client had a business card to hand over each time that question was asked.
- Don't count out direct mail as a way to connect with your network and deliver your business card. If you drop someone a personalized note, don't forget to include your card and a reason why you're sending it.
The key to increasing your referrals is identifying your brand advocates.
Your business card can play an important role in not only gaining referrals but also strengthening the connection between you and your network.
Using your real estate business cards as a tool to grow your business is not an option. It's a necessity.
First, focus on designing the best card you can. Marketing, distribution and leveraging your referral network grow your business.
The upfront investment on design, coupled with a tenacious and strategic distribution plan is sure to produce results for agents at any level.