People talk a lot about branding these days, but what does it really mean in terms of real estate?
If you hang your license with a franchise office, you have that brand behind you. But as we all know, who you are and what you do for clients is far more important (to most) than the name of the organization.
Your brand is who you are and how you are.
You may have a logo or a slogan that signifies your brand, but when you get to the bottom line, the brand is you.
Since you are your brand, doesn’t it follow that you should let people know who – and how – you are?
An email last week from SEO expert Heather Lloyd Martin was a reminder that our brand – who and how we are – changes over time.
If you’ve been in real estate sales for a number of years, you’ve probably changed a bit. For starters, your hairstyle and the clothes you prefer may have changed.
Thus – your look is different.
I recall one of my real estate instructors advising us to update our photographs regularly. Back then photos were primarily on business cards or print ads. He said: “You don’t want to be holding up a sign to pick up a new client at the airport and have them ask if your granddaughter couldn’t make it.”
And the funny thing is, I’ve seen that very thing on Active Rain. The photo that accompanies the agent’s blog posts and comments looks far different from the candid shots from a member meet-up. Just guessing, some of those photos are ten or more years old.
It’s not just your looks that change over time. Your personal life may have changed as well.
What does that have to do with real estate? Plenty.
Because elements of your personal life allow clients and potential clients to identify with you. For instance: When you have children at home, other parents will identify with you. If you have grandchildren, other grandparents will identify. If you’re caring for elderly parents, those in that position will know that you understand their situation.
People also identify with you because of your hobbies, interests, volunteer activities, and pets.
That’s important because the more people identify with you, the more they’ll be pre-disposed to like you and trust you.
The fact is that who you are when you’re not at work is also part of your personal brand.
The professional you has also changed and evolved over time.
You may or may not have won awards or earned new designations. But if you’ve been working and paying attention, I’m willing to bet that you know more now than you did 5, 10, and 15 years ago. That’s a by-product of experience.
In addition, you may have decided to focus your efforts more in one direction – and developed a niche. You may now be the local expert in that niche.
Does your website and your blog reflect who you are today?
Take a good, critical look at every page and then decide the answer.
Start with your bio, since that is an overview of who and how you are.
- Does it reveal what you see as the most valuable service you provide for clients?
- Does it show what makes you stand out from other agents?
- Does it mention your accomplishments?
- Does it reveal your hobbies, pets, and volunteer activities?
- Most important: Does it reveal your personality?
Next, take a look at the informative pages on your site.
Do they include information that helps the buyers and sellers you’ve chosen for your niche?
If your niche is a specific neighborhood, you can include community pages, then supplement them with information on zoning, schools, employment opportunities, etc.
If you’ve chosen a specific type of home or property as your niche, you can add pages filled with information those property owners can use. If you’ve chosen a situation, such as divorce or probate, there is plenty of advice to offer your visitors.
Don’t be afraid to brag a little.
You might hesitate to toot your own horn because you don’t want to be known as a braggart. That’s good. No one likes being around them. But you can showcase your knowledge and accomplishments without becoming a jerk. And you should. How else are people supposed to know what you can and will do for them?
In addition to talking about your expertise and experience, include testimonials from happy past clients. You not only can have a whole page of testimonials, you can insert one or two on each of your information pages.
When I write agent bios, I always ask for links to testimonials both on the agent’s site and on other sites. They often give me more insight into an agent’s exceptional service than the agent gives me. (Yes – back to that not wanting to brag issue again.)
I recall sending a finished bio to one agent who wrote back “Wow. I didn’t know I was that good!” She hadn’t told me, but her testimonials did.
So here’s a hint: Any time you’re feeling discouraged, read your own testimonials!