I was having lunch with a realtor friend of mine recently and I asked her how her business was going. We live in South Florida where everyone seems to have their real estate license and the real estate market has been in the tank for it seems forever. Plus, I knew that she worked for a small real estate firm. Her reply to me was “The internet is a great equalizer”. She told me that she is leveraging social media to connect with customers through a personal blog, Facebook and Twitter.
What was interesting to me is that she knows that the little agent on the corner is just as capable of selling your house as the large brokerage firm with the big name. She decided to create her own website where she would brand herself as a successful realtor in her niche market, which is waterfront property.
I could see she is completely correct on this approach. The future belongs to the little agent because in a bad economy they are particularly hungry to make commissions and will be more creative and innovative in order to survive. Certainly the large brokers can outspend them, but social media is free advertising especially once their website is created. Large brokers are like most large corporations – it takes a committee to decide anything and forever for an approval to launch a marketing campaign. In the meantime, these smaller real estate agents are finding ways to connect to their prospects and brand themselves as the expert for selling homes.
I read an NAR report that said 76% of people who decide to sell their home with the assistance of a real estate agent will interview only one agent for the job. So, how can you be the one agent that everyone is looking for? If you have succeeded at positioning yourself as the realtor of choice, you will be the person that they think of to call. By branding yourself correctly, you can create that perception that you are their only option – the only agent – that will sell their home.
What Consumers Want from a Real Estate Agent
Home buying decisions are no different than the sales process for other services that we buy from a professional. By that, I mean we want to work with someone that is trustworthy, honest, has a good reputation and that can deliver the sale. Buyers will also listen to recommendations from others on their experience with that person or company.
Today’s shoppers are much savvier due to the internet and they demand to work with someone at the top of their game. They do not really care about the name of the brokerage because they want a person to work with that will be enthusiastic, provide great service and be a resources for them, on top of finding them a home or selling one. People do not do business with a brand name, they do business with people.
As much as 80% of homebuyers use the internet to find both agents and homes. How are they going to find you if your only presence is on your brokerage site? The smart real estate agents have quickly figured out that if they brand their name and their expertise, this will help them be the realtor of choice and generate leads.
Steps to Create Your Brand as a Real Estate Agent
Step 1: Determine where your primary focus is i.e. retiree home sales, waterfront, commercial property, families and create your brand around that. As with any top salesperson, target marketing leads to greater results because you get quickly noted as the expert in that particular area.
Step 2: Create a slogan to go along with it that can be used on a website or promotional materials.
Step 3: Put into action a marketing plan to build this credibility that you are the best, regardless of market conditions.
Step 4: Branding is everything you stand for, meaning your promise to your customers.
Step 5: Match your image to your brand. If you are in the luxury market, then you must mirror that community.
Taking Your Brand Online
My friend had told me that the single most important thing that she had done was to get a website where she could write articles and provide information for her prospects and send to her mailing list. She wanted to be forefront in their minds that she is an expert and would be someone that they can highly recommend. By having a website it gave her friends a place to send any referral where she could be “checked out” before contacting her.
Her blog contains many resources other than the MLS property search for a visitor to her site. She has a mortgage calculator, home value estimator, school searcher and other tools all in one place. Additionally, she provides community information, success stories and generates a real connection with her brand. People can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter or provide their email address for her white paper on a latest home buying topic.
She has also added her personal website to her brokerage business card and added it to her email signature. My next article will discuss building your realtor blog in more depth by providing some creative ideas to drive people to your site. Facebook and Twitter are also important tools to be used, but her website is her home base where she wants to drive her customers to so that they can see that she is at the top of her game.
A perfect solution for you to begin this process is with a product called My Branding System. This is an easy step by step system that helps you build an attractive site to personally brand you. It comes with enhanced features for realtors, but also incorporates many features that other systems may not have.
Please contact me for further information on how we can create your brand as the best real estate agent in your area. Now that social media has become mainstream, it is very important for real estate agents to learn how to market themselves online, in addition to offline. Otherwise, their competition will take that position as the expert in their marketplace.