Without your own personal brand, agents risk getting lost in the ‘sea of sameness’. There are over 60,000 agents in Australia, all essentially offering the same service. Like any industry, there’s the good, bad and indifferent, but without differentiating yourself, how can you possibly stand out.
Fortunately, most agents don’t/won’t do this, which is a huge opportunity for those that are willing to. For those that do, they can create an attraction business, where sellers call you to list their property, rather than a chase business where you’re constantly calling people in the hope that if you speak to enough of them, you can find someone that wants to sell. This is the daily grind most agents find themselves in, whereas an attraction business is what I created, and is much easier & more enjoyable.
The secret formula to grow your business as a real estate agent is KLT – know, like, trust. If your target audience KNOW who you are, LIKE you, and TRUST you, they will do business with you. Think of it like a sales funnel, with the largest section at the top being those who know you, then cascading down are those who like you, and then finally the smallest section is those who trust you. Coming out of the bottom of the funnel are those who want to do business with you.
As an agent, you build trust with consistency over time. The longer you are in your market, the more great results you have achieved, and the more relationships you have developed, the more trust you will generate. When people are selling, what is often their biggest asset, they want to know the individual representing them is the best & will deliver a successful result. There are no shortcuts to building trust, just keep doing the right thing, treat everyone how you would like to be treated, provide 11/10 service, and the trust will come.
Everyone has a tribe, and you need to build yours. People will either like you or they won’t, and you can’t take that personally. All you can do is be completely authentically yourself, and remember you can’t please everyone. In fact, the more you are uniquely you, the more you open up & share with others, the more attractive you become.
Therefore, if trust is built with consistency over time, and whether others like you or not is subjective, then the section of the sales funnel you can focus on growing is how many people know you. It makes sense that the more people that know you, the bigger your audience, and the more people have the chance to like you & trust you.
I believe the best way to do that is to build your own personal brand. Today, more than ever before, people want to deal with people; not companies, not machines, not robots, but good people that can help them achieve what they want. Whether that’s having your hairdresser, your lawyer, your accountant, your mechanic, or your real estate agent, once people KLT you, they will stick with you, regardless of where you work.
The way you build you own personal brand is by, firstly, taking a good hard look at yourself. Who are you, what are your values, what kind of people do you get along with the best, what experience do you have, what do you enjoy etc. Call it a SWOT analysis if you want, but it’s important to identify, and work to your strengths. For example if you are a family man living in the suburbs, it makes a lot more sense to sell family homes rather than inner city apartments to DINK’S, or if you’re in your early 20’s then perhaps specialising in retirement homes isn’t a smart move.
Second, identify your target audience. Who are you talking to. If you sell 1-2 bedroom apartments, your audience is probably young couples, first home buyers, and investors so there’s no point advertising in a school newsletter. Likewise, if you sell family homes in the burbs, there’s no point advertising to empty nesters. Know who is buying from you. Know who is selling with you. Once you’re clear on who your audience is, you’ll know exactly when & how to talk to them.
Thirdly, you need to carve out a niche. Cardiac surgeons are paid far better than GP’s, private jet pilots are paid much better than regular ones, and builders that specialise in building complex skyscrapers do much better than those building brick & tile homes that all look the same. The point is if you’re not known for something, you’ll be known for nothing. And when you have a niche, people will want to deal with you, because they know you can help them. Some people choose an area (i.e. a suburb or a building), some choose a price range (i.e. $1M+ properties), some choose a property type (i.e. houses, apartments, shopping centres, commercial leasing, etc), and some choose all of the above & create a super niche. If you can do this, and if the market size is big enough, you can do very well. This is what I did – $1M+ houses in Paddington, Brisbane. It didn’t take long before I was the go-to guy if you had a $1M+ house in Paddington, because I sold more of them than anybody else, which meant I knew more about that market than anybody else. Another agent I work with specialises in $1M+ apartments in Brisbane City. His average sale price is $1.2M (double Brisbane’s average), his average sale price is 35% faster than the average, and he holds the price record for the highest price achieved in the City so far this year. As you can imagine, if you own a $1M+ apartment, you’re going to call him when you want to sell.
Once you’re clear on who you are, you’ve identified who you’re talking to, and you have a speciality, it’s time to create the ‘look & feel’ of your personal brand. This is how people will recognise you. And your brand should be something you’re proud of, that’s an extension of you. Think of it like your child. Apple have the apple with a bite taken out of it, W hotels have the giant illuminated W outside all of their hotels, McDonalds have the golden M. Use your creative flair. Think of the colours you like, the fonts, do you want something modern or something classic? Do you want something bold or simple & elegant? Do you want to use your name, or something more specific to your audience, for example ‘Dan Argent Real Estate’ or ‘Paddington Real Estate’? The options are unlimited, and by working with a professional, they can help you create something uniquely suited to you.
Now that you’ve done all that, it’s time to be prolific. As the ‘parent’ of your personal brand, if you don’t sing it from the rooftops, who will?! This is how you increase the ‘know’ section of the sales funnel. Think of yourself as a marketing business first & foremost, and a real estate agent second. Just stop & think about that for a second… you’re a marketing business first, so if you adopt that mindset, what would you do? Personally, I decided I wanted to run for the Mayor of Paddington. Now obviously there’s no such thing, but if there was, I wanted to be that person, so I wrote down a list of all the things I would do if I was running for Mayor. I’d have signs on every street corner, I’d attend every local event, I’d letterbox drop flyers, I’d advertise everywhere my ‘constituents’ were looking, I’d hold events, the list went on & on. Then, I did everything on that list! People would say “I can’t go anywhere in this suburb without seeing your face”. Others would say “I feel like I already know you” when we’d meet for the first time. The point is, you need to be memorable, and to do that you’ve got to be prolific, and you’ve got to find a way to stand out. As Seth Godin would say, be a purple cow.
The final point, and quite a critical one, is that with everything you do, you must always always always add value to your audience. Nobody, particularly in Australia, likes a show-off. If all you ever talk about is yourself, it doesn’t matter how prolific you are, you’ll end up creating more critics than fans. People are time poor and inherently selfish – all anybody really cares about is themselves – so make sure all your messaging is about them, not you. And, try to find ways to tell your audience things they otherwise wouldn’t know. For example, we recently sold a house for $1.625M. We could do a post on social media, a letterbox drop, and whatever else saying “SOLD! $1.625M. Call for a free appraisal” which may or may not get a few responses. Or, we could advertise the fact that the property sold after 3 offers in only 2 weeks, it set a new street price record, it sold for more than any other house in the suburb so far this year on up to 450sqm, and it sold for exactly $300k more than it sold last time only 6 years ago, indicating capital growth of 4.6% per year. You can then insert the usual ‘call for a free appraisal’ but you’re likely to get a much better response. Why? Because you’ve told your audience a lot of facts they may not otherwise know. If you sell apartments, you could say something like “Unit 1302 has just sold for $1M which is $9,572 per sqm – the highest price ever achieved in the building. If you would like to know how much your apartment is now worth, please give me a call”. If you lease commercial retail shops, you can do the same. I’m sure you get the gist. You don’t need to be a peacock to still get all the kudos for your results.
What you may have noticed, is that at no point have I mentioned a corporate brand (such as a real estate franchise group). That’s because it’s no longer necessary. In fact, when you think about it, it’s kind of weird. Why do you need to use someone else’s name when it’s you that your clients are working with. In my opinion, all it does is dilute your name and your personal brand, and causes you to get lost in the ‘sea of sameness’.
As the real estate industry becomes increasingly more competitive, and as people seek out the best agents to represent them in the sale of their biggest asset, now is the time to create your own personal brand, to stand out from the others, to be the purple cow, and to be uniquely you… BrandU.