When most Real Estate Agents think about branding, they think about handing out pens, calendars, business cards or perhaps even direct mailing a monthly flyer. But branding is much more. Branding is a personal asset you develop and build over time by providing a unique service to clients who come to value you and then gladly refer you to their friends or relatives. One way to provide this professional service is by standing out from the pack. Here are three strategies you can use to begin building your brand today, whether you’re new to the real estate business or a seasoned pro.
1. Never Reduce Your Services to a Commodity
Only someone out of touch with reality would say that the real estate business is not getting more competitive every day – because it is. But this is where some Real Estate Agents employ a dollar-store mentality and try to beat out the multitude of other agents by lowering their commissions with clients. They rationalize that by doing so they will make the same or even more income over the long haul because their lower commission rates will attract more clients. But this is misconception that will only devalue your brand and eventually put you into endless bidding wars with other agents willing to turn their valuable services into just another commodity. Granted, there is always a potential client who gives a listing based solely on the commission rate he negotiates with an agent, but this individual is in the minority. Most people are interested in only two things: How quickly can you sell my home-- and can you get top dollar? The message here is: for you to be a successful Real Estate Agent, you should build your business and brand like a Mercedes dealer. Base it on quality of product and services, rather than on price.
2. Make Your Presentations Personal Narratives
This is an area where you can truly brand yourself and immediately set yourself apart from the crowd. Instead of talking and focusing on inanimate objects like real estate, first begin by building a personal narrative around why your client is moving and what she wants to achieve by making the move. By doing this, you (1) stand out from 99% of all the agents your client will ever meet and (2) your client will begin to see you as a member of her team trying to reach the same goals and aspirations as she is, rather than just another Real Estate Agent trying to sell her a house. One way you can do this is by connecting features of the new home your showing to benefits. For example, you can show a great photo of the house and then one of the highly–rated elementary school down the street and say, “When you’re living here, Johnny and Susie will only be a block away from their new school, which by the way, has one of the best average test scores in the county.”
3. Your Brand Is Not Your Marketing Plan
With the dozens of new technology tools and selling strategies available for Real Estate Agents to use today, it’s tempting to focus on them when you are sitting down with a potential client who wants to list her home. If you are really good at putting together and writing a MLS listing, or great at taking photos and running fun-filled open houses, don’t define yourself with these marketing strategies. All of the agents who are in competition with you have the same tools at their fingertips and a few of them may even be better at using them than you are. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t mention these tools to your client as some of the methods you use; I’m simply saying that you should focus on you and the results your expertise has brought to others and will bring to your client. That’s your brand. That’s what people buy. In subsequent posts we will touch on some other important branding strategies and issues.