Are You An Agent Whose Entire Brand Feels… Bleh?
Hello dearest real estate friend.
Glad you could make it today. What I want to do here is simple – convince you to be yourself.
“But I already am myself silly!” you say mockingly.
Well, are you letting yourself be seen? If so great. But if not, keep reading because in my experience, a lot of real estate agents aren’t. There it is.
My up-front all encompassing singular goal in writing this is to shake you to your core. I want you to snap out of it because if you’re like a lot of agents out there (and you’re being honest with yourself), you’ve needed someone to tell you this for a long time right?
* Don’t get offended (you need to hear this)
* Don’t take it personally (I’m here to help)
* But please I implore you- DO take it seriously (because it’s affecting your business)
Ready for it?
Here’s what you have to realize if you’re still doing business the old fashioned way…
…you’re boring your prospects to death.
*Caveat: if you’re an agent who isn’t boring… awesome.
If you’re doing an excellent job at wooing prospective buyers and sellers and can’t find enough time to return all the phone calls from people begging to work with you or reply to all the inbound emails you’re getting – bravo.
I salute you. This isn’t really for you because you don’t need any help at all.
But if you’re like a lot of real estate agents out there, you’re struggling to get noticed.
In today’s market when there are more agents than houses, it seems impossible to stand out in the sea of sameness doesn’t it? Sure you have a “nice” website, a Facebook page, those really thick business cards that cost like $20 a piece, and you even had someone make you a logo for $5 that you use on all your letters.
But guess what?
EVERY. OTHER. AGENT. HAS. ALL. THAT. STUFF. TOO.
You’re doing everything you know how to do and it’s not working. It’s just not. You go to all the Chamber of Commerce meetings, pass out cards, eat cheese and crackers, and hangout with the 27 other agents and 32 mortgage guys and gals at ribbon cuttings but your phone still isn’t ringing.
You buy ads, send out letters, put up signs, post stuff Facebook but still…crickets.
You want to just throw in the towel and settle for status quo – but don’t do it.
You don’t have to settle for sameness.
The cure for what ails you
So, your personal brand. Sounds really cool to say doesn’t it? But do you know what it really means? Like, really? Most agents are clueless about building a personal brand. They’re poster children for the “my logo is my brand” mentality.
Heck, maybe you are too. Maybe you think your brand is your logo, font, and color.
Or maybe you’re still using that glamour shot from 1992 on all of your “stationery.” If you are, I’m here to tell you to stop. People expect more from you. Things have changed and people want a lot more (plus, most people don’t even know what a glamour shot is anymore anyways).
- You might not know this but your brand is not your logo – it’s just a bunch of pixels
- Your brand is not your color scheme
- Your brand is not your headshot
- Your brand is not something physical or tangible
If this is what you’ve been taught, you’ve been misled.
Ok hotshot, what is a brand?
Now branding is nothing that’s new but it’s definitely something that’s seeing a lot more attention lately. You hear people talk about “branding,” “building a personal brand,” and the importance of “brand management,” “brand positioning,” and “brand strategy”…
…but what does it all mean?
Let’s look at some definitions-
A lot of folks have written on branding before. I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but what I am doing is bringing all of the wheels together in one place. Understanding the value of building YOUR OWN personal brand is critical if you want to succeed as a real estate agent (and I know you do).
So here you go. Some of the best definitions of branding/brand I’ve ever seen:
- “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.” ~Seth Godin
- “The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.” ~David Ogilvy, On Advertising
- “Your brand is the output of your values as they’re experienced by others” ~Justin Foster, Author, Oatmeal v. Bacon
- “Your personal brand is what separates you from everyone else in the world. The first step to creating your personal brand is to organize your thoughts and create your personal brand vision. This is the way you want yourself to be perceived by others and also how you want to live your professional and personal life.” ~Neil Patel
So boiled down to its most simplest form, your brand is what people think about when they think about you…
…it’s a perception – not a tangible thing you can hold
…it’s your stand out factor – what makes you unique
…it only exists in the minds of others (it’s a feeling)
EVERY business, title gal, entrepreneur, house flipper, agent, loan officer, ice cream stand business, and banana stand operator has a brand. Including you. Even the people who never thought about their brand have a brand.
Here’s a quick exercise to help you think through it more clearly:
WHAT do you think of when you think of these brands. Answer out loud or write it down:
- Tim Tebow
- Home Depot
- Gordon Ramsay
- Southwest Airlines
Here are my answers, just for fun, right off the top of my head:
- Apple –
cool, cutting edge, leaders in technology
- Tim Tebow –
different, unique, spiritually driven, good role model
- Starbucks –
the best 3rd Place on earth, great place to relax and enjoy the company of friends
- Nike –
helping people achieve their dreams and unleashing their inner hero
- Home Depot –
giving you everything you need to make your project a good one
- Lego –
master storytellers, enabling playful creativity and helping people dream big
- Gordon Ramsay –
the most badass cook I know, culinary genius, creative expert and businessman
- Target –
better than Walmart and cheaper than Nordstroms. Making life affordable
- Southwest Airlines –
making travel fun again, happy, quirky, funny travel at a decent rate
Notice that the first thing I thought of with each brand above WASN’T their product, per se. It was who they are and my general thoughts about them. You do this, your neighbors do it, you clients do it – everyone does.
So like you, your prospects do business with the brands they enjoy and have an emotional connection with. A stick of deodorant at Target costs the same as it does at Wal-Mart but I’ll choose Target over Wal-Mart every time.
Because I like Target. Wal-Mart…not so much.
So when you think or hear the term “brand,” now you know that it’s not a logo. It’s a subjective perception. Not a product, name, or magnet on the side of your Escalade…
…it’s a feeling.
You on a plate
Now a lot of agents get this and try to be everything to everyone everywhere. They’re known as “nice.” That’s right – “Oh Ashley- my Realtor? She’s nice.” But nice doesn’t get noticed does it? You don’t want to just be known as “nice,” because “nice” isn’t different.
Nice is just… meh.
Everyone in the real estate game is nice.
Nice is boring.
You need to be interesting, not nice. Interesting always gets you noticed but being “nice” just gets you, well, not much.
Branding expert Ash Ambirge has this to say about being “nice”:
“Being described as nice isn’t a personality problem: It’s a personal branding problem. You might not think of it that way, but that’s what it is. If your entire presence conjures up nothing more than the most generic word of all mankind, then either your personality is really that unremarkable (doubtful) or, more likely: You’re not really yourself around other people.”
So if your brand is the perception of your values as people see/experience them in the marketplace… your brand has to be you. On a plate. Ready for the world to consume (from a marketing perspective). You’re not just some boring status quo real estate agent, you’re…you.
It’s really simple right?
Nobody knows you better than you.
…This is about integrity (really being who you really are)
…This is about values (really letting your values shine through for others to see and adopt)
…This is about passion (doing what you KNOW you are “called” to do, and DOING IT)
…This is about being perpetually interesting (publishing and sharing stuff that people like)
What drives you? What things are most important to you? What has to exist for you to say “yes” to something, and where would you draw the line if you had to say “no” to something? What keeps you up at night? What do you spend most of your time doing and thinking about?
I use the following 11 questions when I’m helping somebody try to figure out what makes them tick and I encourage you to ask yourself each one of these and write down the answers:
- Who are you and what’s your story? How’d you get where you are?
- What problem(s) are you solving for people? Why do you do what you do?
- What are you awesome at that you do better than any of your competitors?
- Who needs what you have to offer?
- What are you doing to get people to notice you, talk about you, share your stuff?
- What do customers think of when they think about you (i.e. your brand)?
- How will you get stories from your customers and broadcast them to the world?
- Why should ANYONE do business with YOU instead of your competitor?
- What are you doing to create a culture that makes people want to stick around and hang out with you (online and/or offline)?
- How are you being disruptive, intrusive, and different? What are you doing to upset the status quo and get noticed?
- What are people saying about you online, offline, and to your face?
Now take the answers and whittle them into one cohesive narrative.
There’s your brand.
Ok. This is all good. But… what do I do now?
Now that you know it’s okay to be yourself, you have to go do it. And the best way to do it? Content (i.e. blogs, images, polls, articles, video, all of it). Good content helps mold the way people (i.e. potential buyers and sellers) perceive you.
So the stuff you share has to be interesting, funny, and of course – relevant. The typical Linkedin-ish, boring, status quo, professional, proper stuff is what everyone is already doing right? So do something different.
If you want people to notice you, do something worth noticing. If you want them to talk about you, give them something to talk about. now if we’re both being honest, I think we’d both agree (if we were sitting across from each other chatting over a venti vanilla bean frappuccino) that a lot of agents aren’t “hip” and internet savvy.
If that’s you and you don’t get it, it’s okay, (that’s why you’re reading this). You’re an agent, not an online marketer after all.
So maybe after reading all of this, you agree with me 100%. Yes, you need to stand out. Yes you need to be different and interesting. Yes you’re sick of seeing zero engagement on your social media accounts.
But you don’t have the bandwidth or skill to do it properly.
Maybe you’re relying on your company’s branding? While this is good to some extent, think about this – so are all of the other agents you work with. Big mistake. You’re missing a huge opportunity by not cultivating your personal brand.
Yeah but (there’s always a but)…
…I Just. Don’t. Have. Time
…I suck at writing
…I’m technologically challenged
Well let not your heart be troubled.
I get it because I used to be there myself.
So that’s why I decided to put something together to help you. I have a solution that will crush all of your woes, cremate your excuses, and empower you to be the best version of yourself with an insanely small learning curve.
It’s built exclusively for real estate agents who want to break out of the “boring mold” and get noticed. It’s for agents who know they need to do something different, but just need…help.
You should be.
This just may be the thing you’ve been looking for. This may be the most valuable tool you’ve EVER added to your real estate ninja arsenal. This could be THE ONE THING that finally helps you break free from the herd of agents who are all doing the same thing and get noticed.
But the sign up window won’t be open forever because I’m limiting the number of agents I’m letting in (and this isn’t just a gimmick)…
Chief Chuckler in Charge
Lighter Side of Real Estate