Question: Susan, I can think of no better person to settle this debate than you. Recently, I was in a law practice course and it was suggested that solos put their pictures on their business cards –like real estate agents commonly do, and make them “glossy.” Some say this is sort of unprofessional –again, like something a real estate agent would do. I can see the benefit of it, especially after considering the rationale –the person may forget your face and this is a reminder, etc. and the glossy surface can’t be written over. However, I also think it is a bit cheesey –especially when people use outdated pictures, etc. I will say that when my card (which has a nice logo, etc) was placed next to a glossy one with a picture and what-not, mine looked plain….What is your take on this?
I believe the ultimate answer is very personal to the individual attorney. And the individual attorney has to consider who their audience is. Using face recognition is valid because if after meeting you, whether an event or a free consultation, if they go to your website to check you out where you DO have a picture they know they’ve landed on the right site. This alone can make it worthwhile given the number of website’s out there.
More importantly, the more they see your face the further it pushes the potential client down the road toward conversion to paying client which is the goal, right? The more touching points a client has with you, the more likely they are to connect with you, again, and again. And if this idea of putting a picture on your business card seems cheesy, think of this; You put your picture on your website, your Facebook page, your YouTube videos, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google +, possibly brochures. Why would not put your picture on this small square of paper to reinforce the connection once having actually met the potential client?
You also mention in the same paragraph that some are of the opinion that real estate agents do it and therefore it is unprofessional. Is it? Or maybe they know something lawyers don’t – visual recognition is a powerful tool. In the next breath you say you believe it to be ‘cheesy’. Is it cheesy? Or is it that historically lawyers have never done it so you question the validity of doing it? Given what’s happening in the legal profession today, it seems to me we should all be looking for ways to break away from the pack. Imagine you are at a networking event just having collected thirty cards. Which one is going to stand out to you when you review them later? (A little secret? I’m a visual person. When I scan the Facebook Timeline, LinkedIn and Twitter I’m looking for pictures of those I follow, not names. I forget names easily, but never faces. When someone changes their avatar I get thrown off. How many potential clients are like me?) The better question to ask is ‘does it help me more than hurt me to have a picture on my business card?’
Personally, if I was practicing today. I would consider it and not dismiss it out of hand simply because realtors (who are professionals) do it and realtors are sales people and lawyers don’t like the association with sales people. If you think it’s cheesy because people use outdated pictures, don’t use an outdated picture! But do use the same professional picture on all your advertising such as your web presences and brochures so clients and colleagues can continue to make the connection to you. The more often they connect, the closer you get to a new client.
What do you think? Do you use a picture on your business card already? How has it been received?