I say that with love, but this is how I would describe 90 per cent of the things that come into my letterbox every week from agents in the local area.
They all look the same and say the same things.
Nobody really stands out.
As we’ve just finished our recaps on the latest Season of Luxe Listings Sydney it occurred to me that between Simon and Gavin meeting up in showers, Monika wielding the latest Hermes and D’Leanne taking over the corporate world – the four of them can actually teach us a lot about marketing and leadership.
I’m here to prove to you today that these four are masters at brand positioning – and while they are on the telly and we aren’t – you can steal their strategies for the ‘real world’.
Here are five lessons you can learn from them:
- They have a recognisable points of difference
A common consumer complaint is that “all agents look kinda the same.”
But there is a reason the producers of this show picked D’Leanne, Simon, Gavin and Monika to star in this show.
Are they all the same? Nope… not at all!
Let’s do a quick run through:
- Monika and Simon are all about the luxury and their brands exude that from start to finish – in the way their offices look, what they wear, what they drive and the way they talk. Simon has single-handedly made being a buyer’s agent cool.
- D’Leanne is about female empowerment, family and work ethic. She shows her vendors she works hard, she’s not afraid to kick her heels off and rake the grass (if it needs it) and she plays pretty much every scene with a very straight bat.
- Gavin is all about the detail and even the smallest thing is taken care of – everyone at TRG has a role to play in fulfilling that brand promise.
It’s really easy to have a quick glance at each of them and immediately understand what they are about, who they serve and what sort of service you would get as one of their clients.
In the ‘real’ world:
If you try to appeal to everyone, you might end up appealing to no one.
This is the basis of something we talked about during Transform XII – the easier a client can understand who you are, what you do and what to expect, the less convincing (aka selling) you actually need to do.
So, who are you, and who do you represent? So many agents say they have a unique point of difference, which is something like, “World class customer service” or “We have the best people”.
Then they proceed to automate everything to within an inch of its life because that’s what everyone else is doing.
But isn’t this a bit of a contradiction?
Using my own moving experiences in the past 12 months, both residential and commercial, I can tell you there are missed revenue opportunities everywhere – where you could present real value and demonstrate a point of difference well beyond the generic ‘passion’ for real estate everyone puts in their LinkedIn profile.
So, I challenge you to think about your current prices, your marketing messages and your service levels. Are they all in alignment? Ask yourself some hard questions: Does your brand reflect all of the above?
For example, JB Hi-Fi and Apple sell basically the same things – but at a completely different experience at a completely different price point.
Jetstar and Qantas sell the same thing at the core, but the price and the experience are very different.
Take a step back for a moment and ask yourself how you can demonstrate knowledge, know-how, experience or synergy your target market actually cares about?
- They do not try to be all things to all people
It was interesting to see our ‘fab 4’ branching out beyond the hallowed ground of the East into other areas of Sydney in this second series of Luxe Listings Sydney.
Traditional real estate thinking would say that it’s better to have a small BDA or farm area, really get to know the people within it and become the ‘mayor’ of those areas.
As marketers we often say that ‘the riches are in the niches’.
Even though we saw Gavin make a move to ‘The Shire’ it was for a particular type of property that they considered to be a ‘TRG property’.
In fact, that phrase, “It’s such a TRG property,” has become part of the brand of his business; so much so that it is recognisable to anyone who has done business with him or watched the show.
Moving over to Monika – she was also looking to upsell a buyer with a $1.8 mill Fendi furniture package. That furniture package just happens to be above the median Sydney house price, but working with partners is an opportunity that will become more mainstream in the future – and this one happens to be totally in line with her luxury brand.
In the ‘real’ world:
Think about the types of vendors/investors you enjoy working with and the types of properties you like working with.
- Could you be the duplex specialist (like Josh Tesolin was in the beginning)?
- Could you be well known for working with time-poor CEOs or entrepreneurs?
- Could you be known as a ‘downsizing specialist’ and partner up with someone who sells pre-loved furniture and specialises in decluttering?
- Who are some non-traditional partners you could JV with that would create a true USP?
- Thinking fast… and slow
You can see that Gavin, Simon and D’Leanne have busy lives and the deals they do frequently move quicker than Simon’s new Porsche. But if you are going too fast, it’s hard to see the scenery whipping around you, and you could miss valuable opportunities.
And if you try to go faster, chances are you could be accelerating in the wrong direction and end up in an entirely different suburb (figuratively speaking, of course!).
The end result is you have to waste time unravelling the chaos, when slowing down is the thing that might have helped you get where you want to be faster.
There was a scene at the beginning of Season 2 where Cae wanted to be considered for Monika’s co-listing.
Gavin was pretty quick to say no, out of area, not my jam, and I do, as I said earlier, agree with that thinking.
I am a total believer that you don’t need to say yes to everything, particularly the things that are unlikely to bring you joy.
Leadership brings a different perspective.
And sometimes you need to slow down – and really hear what your people are saying, particularly when it comes to their ambitions, what they want to do and who they want to work with.
So it was nice to see Gavin reconsider his position towards the end of the season and support Cae who did seem to badly want to work with Monika.
And was it “a TRG property?”
Well, I think we all know the answer to that.
In the ‘real’ world:
It’s been good times for real estate in the past 12 months, with everyone getting great financial results, but my guess is that under the hood of some businesses, it’s been a little bit messy – resulting in people feeling tired or burnt out, wondering what’s next for them, with existing systems being put under intense pressure.
All things that happen when you are running hard.
So I think my advice here would be to slow down.
Talk to your people.
Make it safe for them to have honest conversations with you.
Check that workplace culture – how is everyone feeling right now?
Is now the time to take a short break and reflect on your values, your why, and spend time strategically planning for the future?
- They think long-term and ultimately do what’s right for the client
Even when the market is running hot – like it did in 2021 – “There are never enough listings….” – something both Gavin and Simon told me in our behind the scenes interview series.
So what do the top agents do when there are not enough listings? They create deals. We saw this in the ‘clifftop’ saga.
Simon had a buyer, Gavin found a potential seller, then D’Leanne found a potential seller.
Friendships were then on the line:
- Simon genuinely thought one clifftop (D’Leanne’s) was better for his client.
- D’Leanne’s client then decided not to sell, and she decided not to push him because she felt it wasn’t in anyone’s best interests (and she is a master at this type of deal)
- Gavin’s seller had already withdrawn – as Gavin didn’t want to jeopardise his chances of ruining his relationship with the vendor and his chances of selling the property in the future.
So while this wasn’t a successful deal, it got me thinking there was a common theme here in a) doing right by the client and b) thinking long-term.
In the ‘real’ world:
- Over the last 12 months, there have been plenty of people wanting to sell and plenty of buyers pushing prices up. Now is the time to be really loving those buyers who missed out, particularly underbidders. Look for opportunities in your database for the same size and type of property – and see if the owner wants to sell. This is how many of the top agents do the big deals – because if that person says yes to selling, you’re going to need to find them somewhere to go too… which creates even more opportunity…
- How is ‘doing right by the client’ and ‘playing the long game’ about marketing I hear you ask? I get that I am a marketer by trade, but I just want to say all business is marketing – and doing the right thing by everyone and having that message spread is actually the best marketing message you can ever have.
- They are leveraging the show by repurposing content across their own channels
The producers, and Amazon Prime, have done an excellent job at marketing this show.
From seaplanes, to billboards approaching Sydney Airport, to banners on Amazon.com and everywhere in between (even giving us advance screeners to do recaps!) it’s been hard to escape Luxe Listings Sydney Season 2.
But the producers have also been really clever in creating snippets for social media, behind the scenes grabs, interviews and more.
There has been a veritable feast of adjacent content which has been so cleverly repurposed by the stars, providing them with an endless supply of well produced content for their own social media channels.
Monika, Simon, Gavin and D’Leanne act like media companies and publish regular content that is not just about Luxe Listings but other things they are doing. New listings, behind the scenes, what’s going on in their market, who they are and more. They have the resources to hire people to keep that content coming consistently across all platforms.
In the real world:
Now that the media are on the bandwagon of a new cycle in the market it’s your responsibility to own the narrative in your market.
If what’s going on in your market is different to what the mainstream media are saying about all matters real estate, it’s your job to own at least part of the narrative.
Create one weekly piece of content – for example, a Facebook Live market update – and use a tool Like repurpose.io or if you prefer outsourcing you can engage a company like repurposehouse.io to repurpose your content across your channels (ie make it appear like you are in more places at once than you really are).
Finally don’t be boring… and if you are unsure about what needs to happen to stand out, we’ve got a couple of experts lined up for Elite Retreat in July that can help you become the most interesting person in your market.
Looking for your own ‘Luxe’ experience?
Join some of the smartest minds in business and real estate for the best tips and strategies to elevate your business at Elite Retreat. https://eliteagent.com/eliteretreat
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