People hire Real Estate Agents who they like and can relate to, but for many first time home buyers, their awareness of agents is limited because many have not had experiences in home buying. Agents know this so their job, is to differentiate themselves from competitors enough that you will garner enough attention to be able to make that personal relationship.
Real Estate Agents in order to generate better results and greater results from their marketing, know that they have to make that personal connection; nothing achieves this relationship more effectively than Personal Branding, which is my forte, but there are other marketing efforts out there to be aware of as it may impact one of the most crucial decisions you have to make when buying your first home.
In this first article, we will look at what agents are attempting to do, then we can look at specific examples of their marketing and how you can use their marketing to decipher what it really says to you.
Good Real Estate Agents Effective ‘Brand’ Themselves
Instead of focusing on sending thousands of marketing items to thousands of prospects, Personal Branding focuses on the relationship between the prospect and the agent— the agent attempts to leverage their experience, personal flair, specialization and position – with a focus on maximizing their marketing energy and effort- to get the best return on ‘their investment’ – your business.
It turns the Realtor into a “brand,” just like the brands you see in toothpaste, cologne or luxury cars. Branding addresses the core issue of the modern marketplace: when the competitors are equal, the brand that sets itself apart in the perceptions of the buyer will be successful.
Personal Branding excels at shaping perceptions. In this post, let’s take a look at the core principles and techniques employed by the best personal marketers—techniques tailor-made for the agent.
1. Quality Look and Feel
When agents create branding materials, they often produce them as cheaply as possible. The thinking is usually “I’m saving money,” when it should be “I’m losing opportunities.” Fact is, savvy house buyers are swayed just as much by the quality of branding materials—direct mailings, ads, websites, business cards—as by what they say. Cheap paper, bad printing and cheesy photos scream “bottom-feeder.”
The best agents, those that get the most business, often produce every piece of branding literature with quality in mind. That means having materials professionally designed, investing in professional photography, and having pieces printed on thick, quality paper by a reputable printer. Their branding tools are the vanguard of the professional image that will attract the kind of opportunities they truly desire.
2. Compelling Content
Branding materials that focus on nothing but hard facts are the least effective, because people don’t make buying decisions based on facts. They make them based largely on emotion. A marketing piece full of numbers, financial data and cliché phrases like “Produced $15K of sales in one year” will intimidate and bore a prospect. A branding truth: you can’t bore people into doing business with you.
Personal Branding uses personal information—background, sense of humor, life—to tell the story of an interesting human being who just happens to be a great agent. Using a personal “hook” such as a love of sailing or a background as a pilot, leading personal marketers create self-images that generate an emotional response in their audience. Prospects see the advisor as a person with unique skills and perhaps a few common threads.
Positioning means the agent has defined themselves within their industry as a provider of something unique. Take cars as an example. Volvo’s position is as the “safe” car. BMW’s slogan ” The Ultimate Driving Machine” positions it as a performance car. The Honda Accord is positioned as “reliable,” while the Mazda Miata is “fun,” and Cadillac is “traditional American luxury.” Each successful brand stakes out territory that gives it a unique hold on a segment of the buyer’s mind.
Personal Branding demands positioning. That might mean building an image as a specialist in a certain neighborhood, or as the golfing fanatic, or as the divorced woman’s home-buying specialist. The point is, they must “package” themselves to allow the consumer to differentiate you from all your competitors. “Once you’re different, you’re remembered”, is a motto good/savvy real estate agents live by.
4. Support and Consistency
This simply means that effective marketing agents can’t send out a single direct mailing and expect results. They can’t just put up a Web site, not support it, and expect e-mails to bring in clients. In a week, a top personal marketer might:
• Send out the latest in a six-piece series of direct mail cards
• Send personal brochures to callers from previous mailings
• Update investment information on their Web site
• Make follow-up calls to interested prospects
• Give two speeches at local business events
• Write an article on emerging markets for the local business tabloid
Cross promotion and continual support of their branding efforts brings results that build on one another. Most of all, persistent, quality Personal Branding creates an indelible image in their market that brings you a constant flow of clients, even when they are not selling.
Being a savvy first time home buyer also means finding the right relationship. Now that we have established a baseline for what real estate agents are ‘attempting to do’ we can look at examples of what they have done in order to decipher its effectiveness and winnow down potential suitors for your business.
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Mark Montoya has been working in personal branding for more than a decade for hundreds of online and offline companies, small businesses and individual service professionals. His focus has been toward improving the way jobseekers find employment on the Internet. He has synthesized his expertise by helping job seekers obtain their ideal choice of employment over the Internet on his sites MyOnlineCareerSpace.com and MyOnlineCareerCoach.com, and through his books 101 Tips Every Job Seeker Should Know and The Ultimate Online Job Search eBook.
“It is the responsibility of the individual to reject the prospect of mediocrity and to strive for the betterment of society as a whole” ~ Mark Montoya