Survival in real estate is all about providing value. This very idea has been the topic of discussion for real estate agents and brokers on many levels lately as we evaluate the future of our business.
Let’s talk about the future of your business.
How does an agent navigate the ever-changing waters of real estate? How can agents prove that they are valuable to their potential clients?
The key word is branding.
Branding has many definitions that all dance around a central idea. BusinessDictionary.com has one of the best descriptions in my opinion: “Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”
From where I sit, there are six key ways to brand yourself as an agent while working for a larger brokerage.
1. Target your audience
Targeting your ideal clients helps you create marketing materials geared toward their needs in real estate.
If you are speaking to a single group of people in your efforts, you are more likely to strike a nerve, solve a problem or connect on a deeper level.
The biggest benefit of targeting your audience is that, if you know who you are looking for, it’s much easier to find them.
2. Get personal
There is a reason every high-level real estate coach in the world will teach you to put a picture of your kid, your spouse or your dog in your listing presentation. It’s personal.
Building a lasting business requires trust and commitment. These are built from emotion.
These traits aren’t achieved by pushing the latest listing or the recent sales from your company. You build trust and commitment by pulling back the curtain and bringing people behind the scenes to show why you do what you do.
3. Communicate your values
Expanding on the personal aspect of your brand are values. These are vital in determining what and who you market to.
What are your core values in business? Not your company’s, but yours. Most brokerages will keep their core values on a vague or broad level. This is where you, as an agent, can get specific.
Marketing strong character, honesty and consistency go a lot farther than the latest listing you sold in two days in a seller’s market. Push the values behind the actions and you will create fans.
4. Be an expert
This goes without saying, but you have to know what you are talking about. If your values and your ability to perform as an agent are not in line, they can be counter-productive and do some real damage to your clients.
Becoming an expert in a niche area of your market is a good place to start. This will help target your audience and form a social bond faster if you are consistent with your message.
One of the most important rules of being an expert is to never call yourself an expert. Market your values, deliver your expertise. Let your work create your expert status.
5. Show why you’re special
It has been said before and it will be said again: “No one hires the company, they hire the agent.”
This is the epicenter of why a personal brand for agents is vital. People hire based on why you are special. What makes you different from everyone else in your market?
Delivering something unique that sets you apart from the competition is the single biggest factor in attracting clients.
This part of the branding effort reinforces your values and the personal side of your business. The secret sauce, as it were, is to create value for yourself by being different than everyone else.
6. Have a marketing plan
None of this matters if no one knows about you.
Marketing is the practice of putting yourself in front of your target audience consistently. It’s a combination of efforts from social media to direct mail to networking events. Creating a message that is delivered in various formats over a long period of time is the best way to firm up your name in the real estate industry.
A key component to marketing is visual. A personal logo, slogan and pictures become how you are known at a glance. Being intentional with every message that you send into the world is the way to build a strong brand.
We spend a lot of time thinking about how we fit into our company’s brand, but we should be spending more time thinking about how our company fits into our brand.
The agent brand is the most important aspect of creating longevity in this business. Sure, we have to follow laws and regulations when it comes to logos and placement, but that can be easily overcome.
The ultimate goal is for your brand to be more recognizable than your company’s on a micro level. You probably won’t go bigger than they are on a national level, but you don’t have to.
Your goal is more sales in your target area.
The biggest asset that a personal brand can bring to an agent is that, no matter who you work for, the brand is yours. You can change brokerages and maintain a level of brand that does not impact your business.
Your personal brand will work for you for the rest of your career.