Community and Brand

Set yourself some goals in the key areas of ‘community’ and ‘brand building’ and you’re setting yourself on the path to achieve results. Success in real estate relates to your strength in these areas, so get set to become a community-minded brand builder in 2010. Story by Richie Williams.

The concept of community no longer has geographical limitations, as people can now virtually gather in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location.

It’s much easier to cope with daily life if people and organisations behave consistently. If things remain consistent, we save time in processing decisions.

The great thing about goal-setting is you can keep it simple or get as elaborate as you would like. I’ve often said the major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get. That is why goals are so powerful. To get a good work-life balance, we can develop goals in a range of areas: business, education, spiritual, community, career, fitness, family, financial, recreation, social.

Focus on community
One area that an individual in the real estate profession can obtain both a sense of belonging and involvement, and in humanity and giving, and yet be rewarded through being able to service the recipients is that of community. Wikipedia defines community as follows:

Traditionally a community has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. The word is often used to refer to a group that is organized around common values and social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household. The word can also refer to the national community or global community. Since the advent of the Internet, the concept of community no longer has geographical limitations, as people can now virtually gather in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location.

In real estate offices, where there may be a number of agents working within a defined geographical area, this area maybe subdivided to provide an allocated marketing area, patch or farm to allow each agent a focus point to conduct activity. If this is the case in your office, what is your plan for 2010 in developing your profile in this area? Your office may well be branded in the larger geographical territory, but the true responsibility for branding in this area lies on the person you face in the mirror each morning. So in going into 2010, what is your plan?

There are offices, however, that are structured not on the allocation of geographically determined communities, but have recruited on the strength of individuals creating their own brand in their demographic communities. These communities maybe determined through ethnic background, sports and recreational involvement, clubs, shared values or purpose, common interests.

Then there are offices that support an integration of both, that being allocated territory and natural markets. Whatever the case, the individual sales person has a responsibility to develop their own strategies and activities to develop their brand. The success of this is clearly identified by two measures, sales ratios and market share. What are your targets in these areas this year? How can you interweave your activity into your work-life-balance?

Activity drives the dream! So what activity in what areas are you prepared to do to achieve these results? Areas to consider include door knocks, telephone contacts, newsletters, letterbox drops, community activity.

Build your brand
Your results are now a reflection of only two things:

  • Activity – the level and consistency of activity maintains a presence in the mind of your market place.
  • Your brand – developing strategies to create an influential brand in your selected community is well documented in Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence. It is a highly recommended read.

Cialdini identifies six characteristics to create an influential brand:

  1. Reciprocation
    In most cultures of the world, the reciprocation rule is widely accepted. If someone does something for you, you are expected to repay in kind.
  2. Commitment and consistency
    Once people have taken a definite position on an issue, they are generally unwilling to back down. There is a loss of face involved. People like to be seen as consistent. Society values consistency. “You always know how you stand with him/her” is a common phrase, and one that subtly conveys approval. And, as we all know, it’s much easier to cope with daily life if people and organisations behave consistently. If things remain consistent, we save time in processing decisions.
  3. Social proof
    Nobody likes to be caught doing the wrong thing. We are afraid of seeming foolish or being seen as interfering. That’s why we often search for proof that we are doing the right thing before we take action. We hesitate. We look around to see what others are doing.
    We tend to think, “If everyone else is buying it, it must be good. If others are taking action, maybe we should, too.”
  4. Liking
    If two people asked you buy expensive tickets for the same good cause, who would you be more likely to say yes to – your best friend or the stranger at the door? Obviously, it would be your friend. People are much more likely to comply with a request from someone they know and like.
  5. Authority
    What’s your knee-jerk reaction when someone in uniform, or a position of authority, makes a request of you? If you’re like most people in our society, you have an ingrained respect for authority. Your conditioned patterns of behaviour prompt you to treat this person with respect. Or at least think twice before you say “no”.
  6. Scarcity
    We see an advertisement that tells us that is the last day of the sale; or that there are only two cars left at the special price; or that no new supplies of Product X are due in for months. Recognise the principle involved here? Scarcity. If we think there is a limited number of a product, or that we can’t have it after a certain deadline, it immediately becomes more attractive to us.

These characteristics of influential brand building are synonymous with a successful sales career.

Notes for the Principal
For the Principal of the business, support and guidance in the areas covered above will assist in both the success and longevity of your staff.

To leverage these results, focus on the following areas:

  • Database – having a system to capture all relevant information to both retain the asset base, as well as track contacts, communication and results.
  • Corporate social responsibility – having a cause related mission that supports in some way your selected community such as a charity or non-profit institution.
  • Media – a smart advertising process for your clients’ properties, along with a public relations process to support community involvement, staff or office achievements, and general education of your marketplace.
  • Associated services and networks – providing quality alliance professionals that are in sync with your organisation and either prepare your clients for the service you offer, or finalise the transaction on the back end. eg finance, furniture removals, solicitors, conveyancing etc.
  • Networking and support – identifying networking or sales support organisations that assist in the development and nurturing of your team eg BNI (Business Networking International), Breyk Throo, SWAP (Salesperson With A Purpose). And if you are a family business owner, then do yourself a favour and join Family Business Australia (FBA) as the succession strategies of your business are critical for your team, and FBA do much to assist you in this. They are the peak body for family and private business in Australia.

My challenge to you is to launch yourself into 2010 with new vision, belief, intention and energy, and then commit to yourself, “If it is going to be… it’s up to me.” Go for it, and Happy New Year!

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