Personal Branding for Real Estate Agents

The Real Estate Professional has a tough job. She battles day in and day out to gain her clients’ trust. She books appointments, she shows houses – tons and tons of houses, she makes offers, counter-offers, ridiculously low why are you wasting my time you stupid *** offers – all with a smile on her face. Why? Because real estate professional’s are one of the only remaining true commissioned-based sales force. You don’t sell – You don’t earn. Yikes!! Unless she is an established pro with hundreds of repeat clients and tons of referrals, she cannot afford to turn a client away – and so you take the good with the bad.

The real problem with that is everyone and their mother seems to be taking the real estate courses and obtaining certificates labeling them a pro. Which is great…if you are happy selling homes to/for your uncles, grandparents, and close friends. Sure this is where a career in this field can and most often does start…but one won’t last long banking on deals with this type of client alone.

They have to branch out, develop their own network. A client list of folks that will not contact anyone else about a real estate deal until they speak with that person. And with personal branding (read: self-marketing) – this person can be YOU!

Brokerage offices do very little these days to provide leverage for or to promote their agents. They are happy to give them a space to close deals, send a few faxes, and serve as an affiliate, all the while charging monthly fees or a % off the top of closed deals. Some have a receptionist that file faxes or take calls and send out pager or cell phone alerts.

Most take out a page or two in a local paper and give any one agent a listing or two of advertising space – but this is among the 1000 other listings in that section of the paper.

Sure houses get sold this way – but it really offers nothing more than a basic classifed to the casual buyer. The ”best” brokers offer their agents a rudimentary and prehistoric website to showcase their leads using a venue different than that one where all Real Estate Professionals showcase their properties (in Canada it is : www.mls.ca). This is all good, and usually one needs to start in the rank and file of these brokerages, but while you do, build something for yourself! Read on…

Bottom line is, when it comes to promotion and marketing, a real estate professional is on their own. Nobody is better at convincing a prospective client why it is they should choose you as their agent. You are a business owner and the business is you. It is time to build that personal brand. Without it, you’ll be the one forced to consistently honk your own horn and tell people how great you are. With an established brand…your face, or a referral, or a visit to your website alone can achieve this. All the while, you’ll be out closing deals.

There is a lot to be said for an agent who maintains and puts a lot of thought and focus into their brand. If you don’t know them, these are the agents that send Christmas cards to clients who bought a home last year, or 5 years ago, the agents that call and thank you personally for a referral or offer you a nice gesture (ie. 50$ gift certificate to a local restaurant) upon finding out you’ve sent someone along.

These same agents go above and beyond the norm in;

– Building beautifully clear and navigable websites containing all the information and more found on the standard real estate organization website (better pictures, optimized keyword content, outfitted with tools like Google Analytics that allow the agent to see where their primary traffic is coming from and how many visitors are frequenting their website)

– Sharing stories of success and failure on popular social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all the while poking fun at themselves once and a while

– Contributing and imparting sound advice to homeowners and buyers via a well kept and fresh blog which is a part of their personal website

– Providing Tips & Resources via a Newsletter concerning financial must-knows for first time home buyer’s or How to select the best Contractor type tips for those looking to do some renovations

– Being honest, authentic and transparent with both sellers and buyers. For some people this type of person is easy to spot – for others not so much.

– Becoming members of their local Chambers of Commerce and helping or sponsoring group events

– Volunteering their time in the communities within which they work

Realtors already employing these strategies and building their personal brand via a popular Bravo TV Show called Millionaire Listing include:

Chad Rogers – www.chadrogers.tv, Madison Hildebrand – www.themalibulife.com, and Josh Flagg – www.joshflagg.com

A bit closer to home is an agent who helped sell our house back in late 2007 who continues to send us Christmas Cards, and Newsletters, and who went so far as to package a nice CD-Rom of the pictures taken of our home following the sale is Jody Lavoie. He works in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and is up to all sorts of good things – including raising money for charity on a regular basis. You can visit his site here: www.jodylavoie.com.

You can provide a great service, close a deal in record time for the asking price your seller wants, or negotiated for a buyer who is now extremely happy with you – BUT if you don’t allow them anyway (any easy way!!) to stay in touch, or be reminded you are still around and able to service that friend of theirs moving up from the U.S, you are missing out on a great opportunity. The opportunity to be memorable. Only through conscious planning and with proper consulting can you achieve this and market your personal brand into something that stretches beyond the immediate sale.

It does not have to happen all at once, but in a business where you are only as good as your next sale, it helps to have those to whom you’ve already sold rooting for you. You need to stand up and stand out. Now!

Neteyecon can help professionals in this field and others develop their personal brand. For more info contact jeff@neteyecon.com.

 

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Posted in Blog, Branding, Marketing

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