Why do real estate agents, perhaps more than people in any other service industry, so often use their photos on business cards and other advertisements?
O’Reilly: My research told me that this practice started in the late 1800s/early 1900s. People were moving to cities from the country and unscrupulous conmen would meet these people at train stations and sell them non-existent property. These land sellers were called “land sharks” and took advantage of good people looking to start a new life. The term “swampland in Florida” was coined in this period.
Legitimate real estate agents wanted to distance themselves from these scam artists, so they began to organize by creating real estate boards and they established standards of practice. Using a face in their marketing and opening offices with fixed addresses suggested accountability. No conman would ever advertise his face and they certainly didn’t want offices where they could be tracked down. In other words, the use of a face in real estate marketing was the ultimate sign of trust.
In your show you mention a fascinating study done by three American universities that looked at physical attractiveness as it relates to a real estate professional’s success. Could you elaborate?
O’Reilly: It was an interesting study because this is an industry that relies on faces. Essentially, it said that attractive agents had listings with higher selling prices and higher commissions. The study confirmed that physical attractiveness is an asset. But, there was an interesting side note: Less attractive agents had lower selling prices but more listings and more sales. Which I interpret to mean, they worked harder. Attractive people use their beauty in place of other work skills. Less attractive people must work harder and they do.
You discovered that real estate played an important role in the evolution of the advertising business. How so?
O’Reilly: To begin with, the very first advertising agency in North America was started by a Philadelphia real estate agent named Volney Palmer around 1837. Second, the very first radio commercial ever aired was for a real estate development. It was broadcast in 1922 on radio station WEAF in New York. Close to $14 billion is spent on real estate advertising in North America annually, so it is a powerful marketing sector.
See the full article here: http://www.remonline.com/cbcs-terry-oreilly-world-real-estate-marketing/
fn: Do to my years of business to business work I have never had my photo on my cards. However, if you’re interested in some good old down to earth real estate talk, give me a call, I hope to pleasantly surprise you. Denis (519) 577-8181