Personal Branding for Real Estate Agents
Competition in real estate sales is intense. There’s one sale for every agent. So how do you separate yourself from the hoards and avoid anything that pushes you back into the pool of unknown agents – the realty clones? If you think it’s sexy to be one of the clones, well, it may actually be killing your personal brand image — the thing customers are buying.
Buyers and sellers make a lot of assumptions based on what they believe about you — that’s your Realtor Brand Image. It’s time to create a unique significant professional brand image for you only.
You are special, you are the most significant and a brand guided by your Realtor marketing strategy leads to creating that special feeling about.
Check out my new book which is about creating a laser clear brand, one that creates one single emotion in your audience – feeling good. And that’s when they call you.
You may have read my posts on SEO, Social Media, unique content, prospecting tips, the customer experience, top realtor skills, ambition and drive, and powering up your lead funnel. I know, they imply that digital marketing success is all about brains and real hard work. Yet this post tells you it can be fun and fulfilling too.
There’s one thing as important than all those tactics, techniques and strategies — branding and how to build your own personal brand image.
It’s possible to have tons of traffic coming from Google, Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook, and even more from email to read your fantastic content, and still get no clients. If that’s happening, it’s almost certain your professional brand image is the killer. It could be poor or confusing.
This epic post should alter and modernize your views about branding. Hopefully, it’ll culminate with you understanding good things about yourself professionally and enjoying sharing them with your audience. They’ll love it because ironically, it’s all about them.
Do You Know What a Brand Image Is?
Your brand image is the message or promise of value and relevance you give to your visitors and clients. Upon arriving at your pages, they make an immediate judgement of your ability/promise to create value for them based on the impressions they receive.
Brand Image = Brand Promise = Unique Value Proposition
If your website site sucks, is ugly, has no listings, is tough to read and navigate, offers dull, trite or cliche info, and doesn’t offer anything relevant to them, they’ll make this decision — you are irrelevant. And if your content is confusing, then this is where you discover how to align it with your professional brand image.
Your website is a key element in your personal branding and you get to build your brand on your personal/professional strengths on that living document. You can identify the images, words, topics, and layout that tells them you are the most relevant real estate advisor. And they’ll believe it because collectively, you’ve made sure all of your online content is sincere and speaks to their beliefs and values.
Laurie Weston Davis of The Geeky Girls offers a general explanation of how real estate agents should create a unique value proposition online to establish their brand. As you’ll learn though, in the rest of this post, is that there are actually 14 key benefits you need to touch on to create your brand promise and big idea. Branding is very complex and the end goal is to simplify all the details you’re about to discover.
One Goal: To Make them Feel Happy, Satisfied, and Secure
In my last post, I talked about 18 benefits buyers and sellers want and that they can be congealed into a key emotional benefit — a feeling of satisfaction, happiness and security. All of your experience, skills, connections, and strength mean nothing unless you can register an emotional impact that reassures them they will be satisfied, happy and secure.
It’s the same for a job hunter, home renovator, or a guy asking a girl to marry him. Each had their chance to get their “value proposition” across.
Trust is a big component of a great realtor brand image. Debbie Murray of Dallas created an excellent video that focuses on building trust, relevance and her capabilities.
Neil and Scott Higgins got their brand makeover from Agent Makeover
Your Unique Value Proposition is the same as your Brand Image
Your UVP is a compact statement of words and imagery that tell them how your services are relevant to them. The UVP or brand promise is your guarantee of value, results, customer experience, and a good relationship.
To make the best impact, your brand image needs to be consistent. In fact, it should be laser clear. If visitors aren’t contacting you, they may be confused. That’s why the “less is more” mantra became popular. Marketers felt they were better off saying and doing less so they’d avoid confusing customers.
However, if you can’t create longer, dynamic content, covering important benefits, it will be tough to prove you’re better than 40,000 other realtors in your city. How can you make your value proposition stand out if you don’t go into some detail? If your value proposition is well thought out, simplified and expressed creatively and with laser clarity, you could vaporize your competition. You’ll create such a connection with your audience that they’ll believe no one else exists. You are the one — the only one.
How To Create Your Compelling Significant Brand Image
The benefit they want: a feeling of satisfaction, happiness and security. Simply list all of your strengths, assets, experience, style, attitudes, energy and knowledge and for each, make a statement of how that helps your target clients. Clients seek a realtor who is meaningfully different to them. That’s what we call significance. You have to convince prospects of your significance.
And if they feel you’re irrelevant or not significant because of some criteria such as age, gender, race, or your website colors, your brand image must overcome that challenge. The realtor market is crowded yet you’ll create a brand image that’ll launch you ahead of all of thm. Whoever does branding best, wins.
Just like your prospects on your website, you’re in a learning mode. You’re in between “I don’t know anything about this branding stuff” and “Can Gord realistically make my brand promise crystal clear.” After, you read this article, you’ll know more about personal/professional branding than 99.5% of the population.
Who’s Doing a Good Job of Branding in the Realty World?
Here’s one real estate guy’s brand image that’s easy to comprehend and looks like he’s having fun. Ian Brett looks like a safari guide as he helps buyers wade through condo jungle. He’s converting your anxiety into a fun and painless adventure. Fits the type of service perfectly. That’s fun!
Jason Soprovich greets you right away on his homepage. He communicates very quickly that he is all you need to buy or sell a luxury home in Vancouver. He’s almost larger than life, looking confident, experienced and belonging in the world of luxury, so much so that you forget all about details and nagging doubts. He’s going to make it happen, in style too.
The house in the background too, helps convey uniqueness. The curved glass, the roof, and the hedge along with driveway are all excellent visuals, as is the muted cloudy blue sky background. Here, less is more. There’s no pressure, only a simple statement that he’s available should you have some questions. Elegant, understated, and credible. Of course, that’s the first impression. The job of communicating the value proposition or promise, continues in your main pages, blog, social media, and listings, and then in emails. It never ends.
Jade Mills is a top Los Angeles realtor. In this video she speaks of integrity, customer service and a passion for helping buyers/sellers and building good relationships through networking. She’s likable, hard working, down to earth, gets results, and takes away the pain, even for other realtors.
The 14 Key Elements of Your Personal Unique Value Proposition or Brand Promise
- Similar/congruent beliefs
- Value that is clearly differentiated from your competitors
- Understanding of their aspirations/values
- A sense of familiarity/comfort
All of these attributes should be fused together with laser focus to move prospects to believe in you and hire you. If you thought your brand image was your photo and a few brags about sales, and your media appearances, you now know that clients are looking for something else.
The Final Piece: Do Your Homework — It’s Fun
What hampers most people in building a great brand image is themselves. We all need to monitor our thoughts about ourselves and counter our own negativity and others attitudes about us, and just enjoy being us. You don’t need permission or props. You deserve to feel good. Like the the 3 people you just met, you can be whoever you want to be. Create the image that represents your passions and values.
I’m going to borrow from the book , Branding Yourself by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy. Their 5 principles of personal branding in the digital age can help you begin the process of how to create your brand:
- Discover Your Passion
- Be Bold
- Tell Your Story
- Create Relationships
- Take Action
1. Discover your passion. I’ve written about passion extensively in this blog – about knowing why you do what you do (It’s the thing that makes you fascinating to other people. Believe you are fascinating). What is that hope that gets you out of bed every morning? Who are you really doing it for? What is it you will do for them? The things we do most passionately, we do for other people (even though we behave like it’s for ourselves). What is the feeling you want? What is the lifestyle that will give you the social, material and personal things you crave?
What is it about real estate and helping others that drives you? If it’s money alone, you won’t last long. You may want personal warmth, a sense of connection to your community, being a contributor to a better economy, making friends, a commitment to supporting and protecting others, or achieving an important role expected by others.
If you know why you do what you do, and you commit to your passion for doing it, your customers will love you. There’s no doubt. I’ve seen it with numerous professionals who display their passion in how they celebrate every part of their lives.
They started with little (unemployed, bankrupt, uneducated), followed their passion and life just kept getting better. Their journey was interesting and colourful.
My favourite example is from Myhang Gibson a mortgage agent. She nails the social and celebration element of branding. Community, friendship, family, fun, and a full life are powerful images. Her brand is personal, helpful, knowledgeable, and she reflects beliefs and values that most people share.
2. Be Bold. When you feel committed and certain about your passions, it’s easier to be bold and brave. You develop a powerful urge, belief, and magnetism toward your goal. It’s not a hunger or deservingness either. It’s an internal, natural, personal direction that compels you to do things. There’s an inner intelligence that tells you to keep going even though you don’t know why.
Do something new at home and work. Talk about yourself, promote yourself, and tell people who you are and what you’ve accomplished. It’s not to brag, it’s just to tell them who you are. If they’re real, they’ll appreciate your honesty and they can be certain about what you’re capable of and will likely do.
If your brand image is a good one, they’ll develop tremendous confidence in you. If you back up your brand image with appropriate action, you’ll soon get a reputation as someone who fulfills people’s needs and wishes.
3. Tell a Story. When you have lots of connections, experience, and knowledge, you don’t have to tell people everything explicitly often. You communicate your personal brand image and your brand promise through your stories.
Your stories relate to how you help other people and the value they received. and stories are about your daily experience, passions, doubts, insecurities, and pursuits. It’s the real you, but expressed in a way that is relevant and valuable to your prospects and clients.
Richard Branson has plenty of stories to tell and everyone one of them tends to be compelling. Just a picture of him makes you expect a story. Just as he does, you need to grow your experiences so you have more stories to tell. Strive for those experiences that give you the best stories to tell and ways to tell them.
Richard Branson for instance tells his stories using his entrepreneurial and travel experiences. It’s nice to have extensive experience and a colourful imagination, but even if you don’t, you can work with what you have.
Stories are powerful anecdotes, stuffed with rich messages about behaviors, values and intentions. Stories speak strongly about our highest principles and best results.
Good storytellers can be persuasive, especially when their message is backed up with explicit material on a website, blog, etc. When the stories match the statistical type stuff and other evidence, prospects will see you as being very credible. The stories and pictures will make you desirable. And when you hit on the very things they believe, you create a powerful bond with them.
4. Create Relationships. By networking and talking about things others believe in and want to know more about, you create new contacts. Meet people with genuine interest in knowing them, and know that they have connections too. These are people you can help. And you want to find ways to help them first. In business, it’s very important to be a go giver. Prospects do see your intent, your generosity of spirit and communication, your transparency, and the amount of value you can deliver to them. By shaping your personal brand image, you’re presenting an optimized value package to them. When your image and value is clear to them and they trust you, you’ve got a new client.
5. Take Action. When you’re clear about yourself, your skills, passions, and your market opportunities, and you’ve done your networking, taking action is not so hard. If you miss out on the previous steps, then action will be difficult. Nevertheless, no one is perfect and you just need to feed your passion and build an unstoppable belief in your mission. The “Faith” everyone talks about is actually a faith in yourself. With that belief and confidence, there’s not much that can stop you. The first action, you’ve already taken. You’ve begun tackling the difficult process of finding your unique personal brand image and expressing it to your customers.
Discover and Focus to Find Your Main Idea
Once you figure out what types of digital content will work for you, and how you’ll present that to prospects, you need to find one main idea that becomes the focus of your branding. This one thing will help you stay aligned in your content and present yourself consistently with laser like focus. Your audience needs simplicity and you need to make an impact.
It’s the focus of your value proposition and image which etches you in their brain. When your significant, compelling UVP is clear in their minds, that’s when they call you. Your main idea/theme is the subject of my next post! Make sure you return for more useful, significant, relevant ideas :)
If all this is too complicated for you, hire someone to help you. It’s just a simple process. You can do it.
Agent Branding Resources
If you’re in Vancouver, you’ll be delighted to know Agent Makeover is in Vancouver. Lori Wiens can help you visualize and build your personal brand image. Check out the excellent work she’s done for her realtor clients.
And, check out Tonya Eberhart for Brandface Real Estate. Here’s what Tonya highlights with respect to important traits for realtors in personal professional branding:
- Character – being authentic and having a personality
- Confidence – knowing you believe in what you’re doing
- Clarity – achieving focus in your business
- Customization – be your brand – your unique value
- Being a Thought Leader – create good content
- Contacts – network and marketing to reach clients