Would I be putting you on the spot if I asked you to define your personal brand?
I recently asked myself the same question and couldn’t really identify what it was that makes me me. And to level with you, I’ve never really thought about it all that much.
I simply do what I do to the best of my ability.
But then I thought, it’s not about what I think about me, it’s what other people think about me. That’s my brand.
When it comes to personal branding, I think the best definition I’ve heard is this: Your personal brand is what people think of you when you’re not around.
Real estate marketing and for that matter real estate success, is a game of perceptions. In other words, someone else’s perception of us is their reality.
Perhaps that’s why celebrities and politicians invest millions with image consultants and marketing specialists in the hope they can change the hearts and minds of people by influencing their thinking with a goodwill deed or positive spin.
Is it really any different in real estate?
A great personal real estate brand needs constant care and attention. The better you are at connecting with your clients on a regular basis, the more success you will enjoy.
I’ve found this is a common theme among real estate’s top agents. In fact, the best agents are obsessed with consistently promoting their personal brand and invest heavily to make it happen in all the right ways.
Building trust, authority and credibility with potential clients is their dominant priority because they know and understand the value of building and enhancing their personal brand.
So here’s a list of 8 specific actions and strategies top agents focus on to develop their brand and connect with new clients every day.
If I’m buying anything, testimonials influence me. Real estate’s best are always adding testimonials to their marketing war chest because they know how effective they are. A photo of a happy seller says 1000 words and makes it real. I’m sure many people perceive a written testimonial may not be real but a photo can’t lie. And think about this: Testimonials are your number one brand building tool but they are basically free and you can use them forever as they never go out of date
You’ve probably already heard that YouTube.com is the second largest search destination after Google. In fact, you can have your very own channel on YouTube with your own domain extension if it’s available. Here’s an example.
If people are searching for an agent in your area, chances are they’ll be looking on YouTube so make sure you load up plenty of videos and be sure to mention your name, area and agency in your text. This helps the search crawlers find you.
In fact, why not take things to the next level. Find out how Christian Bartley’s video’s are going viral here.
3. Social media
If you arrived at a cool party where you knew nobody, would you start selling yourself hard to the first person you met or would you start listening and engaging with others to build likability, trust and acceptance. No brainer right?
Used properly, social media gives us incredible social proof. Think of social media as the digital version of a village community where people ask other people for their recommendations on anything from a dentist to a motor mechanic.
People don’t care about your listings. They are on Facebook to see what their friends are doing, to show a photo of an experience they just enjoyed, to complain or to view photos of their sister’s holiday in New Zealand. They would rather see a photo of your dog than your listing. Work the ‘room’ with personal stuff that lines up with your brand.
My most sincere advice would suggest you avoid anything to do with sex, politics or religion but after that and as long is it aligns with your idea of your personal brand, go for it.
My friend James Sexton lives in a town of 9000 people. In just 8 months his community Facebook page has more than 2000 followers. How does he do it? Check out my interview with James here.
4. Your Digital Twin.
Plenty of agents have their ideal brand strategy working perfectly in their offline marketing. But what about online? What does (as Peter Brewer would say) their digital twin look like?
Is it clunky, slow, outdated and unable to be viewed on a smart phone or tablet? Or is it an attractive replica of your offline brand.
This is super important because tech savvy sellers and buyers are looking for a tech savvy agent. Will that be you or your competition?
Check out my interview here with Peter to learn more about this.
We’ve already established connecting is essential, but what systems are in place to help you do it?
There are some brilliant and very affordable real estate software packages available today that can automate much of what you need. For example, the propeller heads over at LockedOn.com have a feature that lets agents send a physical letter to their database without leaving their keyboard.
Good software will send your newsletters, listings, general emails and text messages plus remind you to complete important tasks like phone calls and personal visits.
The other reason to set yourself up with good software is so you can measure your open rate. In fact, LockedOn goes one better: It will let you know which contact has actually opened and read your message. This is cool because it lets you isolate everyone who opened you message so you can send another message like “Hi Jill. I notice you opened my message about 21 Smith Street, I’m also doing private appointments tomorrow if you’d like to check it out.”
6. The Fab Four Brand Enhancers
Most agents just use email to keep in touch but with less than 20% of emails getting opening, they’re missing 80% of their market and failing to connect. Here are the top 4 brand enhancing methods real estate’s top agents use:
- A personally addressed direct mail letter (hand-written if possible) gets opened and if it’s well written and engaging, read. (You might want to look at sending a 6 monthly or quarterly report on sales in your area. Every owner wants to know what’s happening with real estate where they live). Also, send a hand written card for birthdays or the anniversary of their purchase. Hardy anyone sends cards any more so they stand out and so will you. These are the things that get talked about.
- SMS text messages almost always get opened and read. These are great for quick updates and important special messages like wishes for New Year or their birthday.
- Email will work if your messages are interesting. If you’re always spamming your contacts with your listings, they will soon unsubscribe unless they have specifically asked to be included. Also, keep your messages short and punchy. Nobody has time to read long copy.
- Real estate’s top agents make 20 plus phone calls each day, five days a week. After a personal meeting, this is the best way to really connect with your contact. Make sure you always call with news and information rather than just asking if they want to sell.
These 4 communication methods will not only keep you top-of-mind with your contacts, they will also be more likely to refer you extra business because you haven’t forgotten them.
You’ll need a good software system to schedule these contacts so you know what needs to happen every month of the year.
7. Client care. A recent survey in the US found 90% of property sellers, when polled immediately following their sale, planned to use the same agent again when it came time to buy or sell. In reality, only 10% used the same agent and the reason given is because the agent kept in touch and nurtured the relationship.
When you ignore previous clients, you’re sending them a message that they were only of interest or value to you whilst they were buying or selling and now that they’re not, you really don’t have time for them.
Why spend time and money looking for new clients when previous clients are ready and waiting for quality contact from you?
8. Be yourself
It’s hard work trying to be something or someone you’re not and it’s certainly not sustainable. The real power behind your brand is your personality and personal energy. These are the things that make you you and now with Social Media and so many other cool tools, there’s never been a better time to be yourself and let people relate to the real you.
There’s great empathy in sharing your personal story. People buy into it and it helps position you apart from the crowd.