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Thank Goodness I’ve Been Set Straight

Tobey and I didn’t make the cut, apparently because I haven’t photo-shopped anything onto his face (and erasing both one of his and one of my chins isn’t sin enough.)

Eric asks the question why agents would take a photo with their animal. Let’s see … I’m sure there’s a plausible answer … oh yeah, because I’ve gotten business this way.

Maybe I’ve turned off a cat lover or two through the years. It’s a risk I decided to take long ago. In fact I’ve been mulling the idea of skipping me altogether though I don’t think I’ll ever get there.

Is Austin anti-dog? Or are we just dealing with people trying to ingratiate themselves with the anti-Realtor crowd by intimating they are different than all the rest of us.

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Something to ponder, I suppose.

Written By

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.



  1. Josh

    January 5, 2008 at 1:47 am

    I side with Eric on the real estate photos. The industry needs reform in a bad way and it has to start with the people who work in it daily.

    Marc Davison of 1000 watt consulting posted a great blog video about how real estate agents treat buyers and sellers and, specifically, photos of agents with their dogs.

    For further detail on how I feel about the topic you can see my comment on Davison’s blog.

  2. Kelley Koehler

    January 5, 2008 at 8:59 am

    stepping cautiously into this pool.

    I have my photo on my card. In fact, it’s an inch-and-a-half-tall complete little kelley, head to toe. It was taken with the photographer standing on a ladder, so I’m just hanging out there, on the side of the card, looking up at people.

    But the biggest item by far on the card is my website name, My actual name, phone number, etcetera is much smaller. After handing out thousands of those cards, I can tell you people take it, look at it, look again, and say, “oh, housechick! that’s /insert adjective here/.”

    Here’s what else I know. People look at the “About Me” page on both my website and blog much more frequently than I had ever imagined. Frequently – I’d say maybe a third to half the time – when a new person calls me, they’ll make reference to something they’ve seen on that About Me page. They’ll mention they are also an engineer, or that they dive, or love dogs.

    Much like the thousand watt folks, I figured site visitors wanted nothing to do with me. And maybe they don’t, at the start. But they do look – they seek out – information about me before they call me.

    But back to the pictures on cards. Despite all rampant assumptions, I don’t hand mine out willy-nilly to strangers. And I don’t plaster my face on every surface. I don’t do fridge magnets, and I don’t treat people like a commodity – any people, at any time, in any walk of my life. Incredibly, I also have my picture on my card. And I’m keeping mine. That doesn’t preclude me from being an exceptional real estate agent.

    People are hard-wired for face recognition, like it or not. That’s part of being human. If I interview five accountants, I’m not going to remember who is who from their name printed on a card. But who interviews 5 accountants? In what other business does the clientele talk to so many potential service providers? If we meet and you engage me in a conversation about real estate, and I like you enough to give you a card, then I want you to remember not only who I was, but that we had a nice conversation 6 months later when you find my card in the bottom of your purse.

    Is it the dominant portion of my card? No. Is it there? Yes. If by some miracle you don’t remember the phrase Housechick, then seeing a picture will trigger recognition. Heck, I can’t remember names for the life of me, but I can tell you what you were wearing when we met and if your hair is different from last time.

    Just like people seek out information about me online – a fact I can bear out through experience – my card provides information about me – this is the point of a business card, yes? – in a format that is the most natural for a person to remember. My face.

  3. Francy

    January 5, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Jay and I have gone a totally different direction. We’ve become minimalists. *No* photo of us or our pets on our cards or on our website (except on the “about us” page). Having our picture all over everything made us feel less like professionals and more like salesmen.

  4. Mariana

    January 5, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Let me state my position: I don’t really care.

    There are pros and cons to everything. Although I am with Francy on this one regarding my own business, I really couldn’t care less what other agents choose to do.

    My only issue is when I see someones advertised or business carded face and then mistake them for their own mother when I meet them in person … It just makes me feel akward when I say, “Wow. So this is a family business? I thought I would be working with your daughter.” … That never goes over well. Never.

  5. Athol Kay

    January 5, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    I think the bigger issue is that agents are half ass about their marketing of themselves. It’s a world of difference between “photo of agent and dog” slapped on a business card and someone like Jonathan who retentlessly brands himself as “your agent and beagle” on everything.

    Kelley’s Housechick is nothing short of the greatest branding anyone has ever thought up. One frakking word and she has you.

    We all need “a hook” of some sort that lodges in peoples minds. Whether that is words or images doesn’t matter. Gotta have a hook.

  6. Mariana

    January 6, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Did he take the post down? Your link doesn’t work anymore.

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