Picture This: How Important are Headshots in Selling Real Estate?

By Michael Zachary

Put yourself in your client’s shoes for a moment. Why do you think they chose to work with you? Was it because of a referral? Did they find you on the Internet? Chances are, they probably came across you in some way or another, and had a chance to see a picture of you. In that picture, they were either encouraged to call you or reassured that you were the right agent to be working with. Your headshot actually played a vital role in your new business… So in a market where competition is fierce, is your picture really worth a thousand words?

From what we are hearing in anecdotal interviews, it seems that there is no other industry where a picture of someone is as important – unless they are running for public office. Think about it – we rarely chose our lawyer, doctor or plumber based on a photo – but in real estate and politics that seems to be the case!

Almost every sign with a “house for sale” message also has a picture of the listing agent. And with growing internet marketing tools like social media, where pictures are a primary source of content, the real estate headshot seems to have become an unavoidable centerpiece to marketing strategy. But why just a head shot – why not also run a variety of photos and candid’s of the real estate agent at work?

How would you grade your picture?  Do you appear professional? Do you appear to be friendly? Knowledgeable? Does your picture display the look of a seasoned veteran?  Is it even what you look like?

These are all attributes that stand out to a potential buyer (or seller) when they’re looking for that lucky agent. And if you’re not giving off the right impression, it could be costing you some valuable business leads! So what exactly is the best way to present yourself in a headshot?

In a recent article by Lettie Teague in the Wall Street Journal, she discusses this issue in depth, focusing on a real estate team that believes their photo means a lot to new business. They say their “natural & casual” look reflects who they are, and is an intentional part of their marketing plan. Interestingly enough, a few studies have been conducted on this topic, and in a paper published by Professor Sean Salter of Middle Tennessee State University he states that, “everything else being equal, attractive agents are going to have an edge.”

So is it all about attractiveness? Do you just need to take your picture on a “good day” and enhance it with some computer programs? California-based real-estate coach Tom Ferry would advise that while attractiveness may be important, your photo should also realistically reflect who you are. So while you may be able to make yourself look like a celebrity with Photoshop, perhaps your best bet is actually in embracing yourself, and seeking out a photo that brings out your best attributes.

If a picture is worth a thousand words – what does your picture say about you? Do you have a standard executive headshot, or does your professional picture have some real flair? If so, send it to us, and we’d love to publish it!