I was at an event recently when someone making small talk asked me what I did for a living. When I replied I was a real estate agent, the small talk quickly turned from mindless banter to a head nod and smirk.
Many people assume several things when you tell them you are a real estate professional:
- That you want to tout your services to everyone you come into contact with shamelessly
- That you don’t have a real job, so you sell real estate
- Selling real estate is code for “I don’t need to work”
Why does our job carry the stigma that we are not members of a justifiable occupation?
Real estate stigmas
We are in a profession plagued with stigmas, including those listed below:
Licensing stigmas: Generally speaking, it’s relatively easy to get a real estate license. In my home state of New Mexico, a few classes, testing and fingerprinting are all it takes to become licensed to sell real estate.
Licensing requirements might be one reason our profession has become highly competitive and oversaturated with agents.
Typecasting: Many of us are skilled consultants and market specialists, yet we continue to struggle with the reputation that we are nothing more than property-pushers and untrustworthy salespeople.
Innovation stigmas: Our industry, while vastly changing, continues to struggle with blending new marketing techniques, such as video or online advertising, with traditional real estate marketing like open houses and just-listed or just-sold cards.
Value stigmas: With technology at our disposal, we no longer have a proprietary business model. Nearly anyone licensed can put a home in the MLS or write an offer.
Beating the stereotypes
Today, consumers can directly utilize many of the same Internet sites as agents to advertise their own properties without the help of a professional.
Consumers today expect more from their real estate agents. How do we challenge ourselves as professionals to be more than the stigma that we are plagued with?
Here are a few examples of ways agents have raised the bar in marketing and ideas you can implement, as well.
1. Out-of-the-box marketing
Marketing today is consumer-centric — it’s about creating an experience for the client, and it requires agents to think outside the box with their marketing efforts.
Recently, an agent in Prescott, Arizona, decided to think outside the box for an open house.
To market her listing built in the 1920s, she dressed in period clothing, decorated the house in period decor and featured a car from that era in the driveway.
In a town with a population of roughly 40,000, the agent had approximately 100 people through her open house.
2. Hyper-local tactics
Hyper-local marketing efforts should now be a fundamental component of an agent’s property marketing plan.
Exploring deeper marketing options in the communities we service — such as using video to promote the community the listing is located in or creating a neighborhood tour and asking local area vendors to participate — are excellent ways to give those interested in buying a taste of the local flavor.
3. A visual advantage
Vivid imagery and videos are no longer optional marketing techniques. A study done by Microsoft Canada mentions that the average human attention span is now eight seconds.
That means, as marketers of a product and service, we only have about eight seconds to engage and capture the attention of our target audience. Because of that short timespan, videos and creative images are a necessary component in our everyday marketing.
4. Branding and identity
Personal brand identity is essential for agents today. As the competition in our industry increases, it’s no longer enough to align yourself with a strong company.
Today’s agents should consider their personal brand — rather than simply utilizing their brokerage’s branding — target the right clients and make marketing a part of their overall business plan.
It takes skill, tenacity and discipline to remain in the real estate profession. These days, real estate agents have more responsibilities than just selling properties.
Today’s real estate is about creating a positive experience long after the sale has closed.