Personal branding – it’s the buzzword of the moment, and for real estate agents, it is critical to every sale. Standing you apart from the crowd, making you memorable to vendors, authentic personal branding can be the difference between success and failure.
We all know that effective branding is a critical component to business success. From the start-up handing out flyers to a multi-million dollar logo relaunch, a solid branding strategy can be found within every successful enterprise. Yet this need for a cohesive brand doesn’t just apply to businesses, and in today’s digital world that brand extends so much further than simply matching the colour of your stationery. As Seth Godin described, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a customer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
For customer-facing roles, such as real estate agents, having a clearly articulated brand as essential as having a business card or a mobile phone. Some might even say that more than any other business, real estate agents are selected and used based on personality and presentation… your personal brand.
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is the process by which we market ourselves to others, or to use my favourite paraphrase:
Your Personality + Your Promise = Your Personal Brand
For real estate agents, this is the foundation of your sales strategy. Unless you have built relationships and created awareness of your unique sales approach and your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), you won’t be remembered when it comes time for vendors to go to market. You need to be at the forefront of a home seller’s mind when they pick up the phone. And you achieve that with your personal brand.
However, personal branding has to be true to what makes you ‘you’. There’s no point marketing yourself as an agent that loves house styling, if you are colour-blind, or don’t know the difference between a chaise longue or divan! A false brand will scream of misdirection, and in the real estate industry, presenting a trustworthy, honest version of yourself is critical. Find your positive traits and your USP and from there a genuine personal brand will grow.
Establish your personality
To begin, ask yourself a few honest questions:
- How do you see yourself?
- How do your peers see you?
- What are your beliefs, your values?
- Are you detail orientated and organised? Bubbly and confident? Personable and thoughtful?
By looking inward at your genuine traits, you can begin to build an honest picture of the person that potential home sellers meet. From this list you can choose positive attributes that are true to you, and that resemble the brand that you want to present to the vendor; the traits you want to be known for.
Ensuring your self-impression always aligns with how others actually perceive you is key to long-lasting, effective brand. As Jeff Bezos, (Founder of Amazon.com) said, “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.”
“Your personal brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.” Jeff Bezos.
What is your promise?
There are a lot (a LOT!) of real estate agents out there. Somehow you need to be the one that home sellers eventually decide to sell through. So… why should they choose you?
Your promise answers this.
What do you do for home sellers that others don’t?
- Do you go above and beyond the call of duty in negotiations?
- Are you particularly skilled in closing deals?
- What are your passions?
- What skill are you most proud of?
- What are your superpowers?!
This promise is what will become your USP – that one ‘thing’ that stands you apart from everyone else. Though, when I work with clients, I prefer to use UVP (Unique VALUE Proposition). What value do you bring your vendors over and above other competing agents in the area?
You can identify your USP or UVP in 5 simple steps:
- List the things that are unique about your service, the things that your competitors can’t imitate. What are the things you are really good at?
- Identify what emotional need is being met by your service.
- Compare these USPs against your competitors and remove those that are already being met elsewhere.
- Match the USP to your personality, the two must complement each other, not contradict!
- Remember, it’s not about being the best (everyone is trying to do that!). It’s about being the best at something that no one else is.
Delivering your personal brand
So, you have a personal brand you can confidently use! From here, define your personal brand with a compelling brand statement. Communicate this brand clearly and often.
Use this brand statement to answer the vendor’s first question: ‘What do I get?’ with a short, concise phrase that is consistent with your values and your personal branding. Be different and avoid reusing common terms such as ‘trust’ and ‘integrity’, which have now sadly lost their impact.
Whatever your brand becomes, bear in mind the words of the very wise Sir Richard Branson: “Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealised, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.”