The power of branding
According to NAR 76% of people who decide to sell their home with the assistance of a Realtor interview only one agent for the job. Are you that agent? If not, who is?
What can you do to become that agent everyone looks to first? The answer is simple—eliminate the other options. By branding yourself correctly, you can create the perception in peoples’ minds that you are the only option—the only agent—who will sell their homes.
A concept used for many years by corporate America, branding is an invaluable tool that, if used correctly, holds unlimited potential for real estate agents. In fact, you are in a unique position to have success through branding because you are your own product.
Yet many agents—even those who spend more money than most other small businesses on advertising—are missing the boat when it comes to building a business through branding. As a result, the agents who do build a consistent brand are able to take advantage of this market where three-fourths of the population calls only one agent to list their homes.
So what is branding?
Commonly lumped together with marketing, branding is actually a distinct concept that can virtually eliminate the need for traditional costly marketing. While marketing is a quick, active message targeted at selling a product, branding is a slow process, building your image over time. Branding relies on consistency and repetition. It’s about building your image in the minds of the public—creating a perception that you are the best, regardless of the market conditions.
A great example of a person who has used both personal branding and marketing is Oprah Winfrey. Over time, Oprah has built a perception in the minds of the public of who she is and what she stands for. That perception, that emotional, innate response to the name Oprah Winfrey is her brand. Her magazine, her television show, her books, etc., are products she markets to the public. She markets her products through commercials, her shows, and other vehicles. The success of her product marketing is based in large part on the strength of her brand. Conversely, her brand continues to be strengthened because her marketing and her products consistently support the promise of her brand.
All real estate agents make money in a strong market. Agents who are perceived as the experts—the leaders—make money regardless of the market conditions. By building your image over time—by branding yourself—you will see that in the long run you will spend less money on marketing but get greater return.
How do you brand yourself?
Branding requires a commitment. You cannot read this article or a book about branding, pick a slogan, and consider yourself branded. Branding is more than putting your picture on your business card and a park bench and proclaiming you are the number-one salesperson in your market.
Branding is everything you stand for—your promise to your customers.
To successfully brand yourself, you must first evaluate where you are and where you want to go. This is the most important step. As an agent you have to live and breathe your brand every day or it will fail. You have to honestly evaluate yourself and your business. What does your business look like now? How do you want your business to look? What are you willing to do to get there?
After you have determined where you are and where you want to go, it’s time to step out of your box and define you as your brand. Did you determine that you really want to focus your business on serving the real estate needs of retirees? Pick a slogan or word that describes the commitment you have to your target. For example, “Providing golden service for the golden years.” Then own that brand in everything you say and do. Back up your brand with what you promised: golden service. Use your slogan or brand consistently and repeatedly. Over time, your name will become synonymous with your brand to the extent that your target—retirees and their families, in this example—will think of you first when they want to list their house, regardless of whether you took out a full-page ad in the newspaper proclaiming yourself the number-one agent in the market.
Remember, evaluate your business and your path, make a commitment to your brand, and back it up with everything you do every day. Follow these steps and you will be on your way to building your brand and becoming that agent sellers in your market call first to list their home.
Allison Fishwick (AllisonFishwick.com) is a professional speaker and coach who specializes in coaching real estate agents to properly brand themselves. Drawing on her personal experiences as a real estate agent, Allison practices what she preaches, combining the best attributes of a professional speaker and coach with the authenticity of an agent who has been “in the trenches.”