Branding You as a Unique Real Estate Professional
It’s time to say good-bye to ‘same old stuff’ marketing
by Tim Wilcox ~ APOGEE Communications
There’s nothing mono-dimensional about being a Realtor®. It’s a multifaceted occupation. You’re an adviser, a guide, a counselor, a cheerleader. You’re an expert in home design and maintenance, key aspects of finance, transaction documents, property-related legal issues, area information and more. Of course, you’re a sales professional as well. That’s a basic role.
So what’s the most important “commodity” you sell? You may already be in perfect tune with the following observations. Still, they’re worth repeating.
- The primary commodity you have to sell is not a single-family home, condo, townhouse or any other property.
- The primary commodity you have to sell is not your real estate résumé, including those hard-earned designations.
- The primary commodity you have to sell is not your integrity-based, above-and-beyond service, however important that might be.
- The primary commodity you have to sell is YOU!
And that means you as an individual, a unique person—not you as a fully certified Realtor® with all of the appropriate credentials. That’s just too predictable—a marketing message that’s been delivered innumerable times by millions of agents. It’s the same old stuff, and “SOS” won’t get it done.
A real person
What’s honestly intriguing and eminently marketable is the personal you—your life story, your family, your favorite pastimes. Only when you’re a real person with a real history and real interests will people—and, most importantly, potential clients—care about what you have to offer as a real estate professional.
For many if not most people, selling or buying a home is emotional first and rational second. So at the beginning of any prospective transaction, who you are as a person is typically more important than who you are as a professional. Quite candidly, feeling tends to be more important than thinking when individuals, couples and families identify their Realtor® of choice. But you know that already.
The secret to significant success as a real estate professional is to make sure that you’re no secret. That’s what personal branding is all about.
But how do you make it truly effective? As a launch point, it’s essential to have a neatly crafted and carefully focused story. Where are you from? How did growing up there (or in several places) shape who you are today? What about educational highlights (awards, degrees and the like)? Do you have a family? (If so, share some details.) What are your favorite pastimes? Are any of them authentic passions? What led you to become a real estate professional? What do you enjoy most about your career and also find most satisfying?
The answers can be woven together into a friendly, unpretentious narrative. How long should it be? We recommend three or paragraphs at most and, if possible, no more than 300 words. That’s a challenge, but it’s worth tackling.
Your branding story should be immediately accessible on your website, with unambiguous navigation and perhaps a short lead-in paragraph to direct visitors’ eyes there immediately. The story also can be the basis of an attention-grabbing brochure, with a tightly composed, single-paragraph summary featured on supporting materials such as postcards and fliers. Appealing photos of you in personal and professional settings, eye-catching graphic design, and a custom logo with branding slogan are the primary campaign complements.
The branding engine
Here’s what’s most important. It’s something we call a “Unique Marketing Paradigm,” or UMP. We believe this element is the engine of any successful branding campaign. It supplies the focus, the energy, the punch.
The UMP develops from and is emphatically supported by your story. It can be a personal attribute such as a lifelong desire to help others, a high level of energy leading to success in many areas, an aptitude for getting all the details right, a singular determination to achieve important goals, a priority commitment to family values. These are just a few examples.
The UMP can also evolve out of a favorite pastime—for instance, various sports. Then it reflects high levels of achievement, determination, energy or precision. Perhaps you’re an accomplished marksman (or woman), consistently able to hit the target. Or you’re an adroit sailor with a gift for charting the optimum course. Or you have a passion for gardening and knack for nurturing plants to full growth. Or you excel at golf, skiing, running, swimming or some other pursuit, aiming for ever-higher levels of performance. Simply more examples. . .
Some UMPs spotlight one’s knowledge of and love for a particular city or region. If you’ve lived all, most or much of your life in a certain area, then you know it exceptionally well. You’re an obvious “area expert.” You also can be cast as someone who’s perfectly in tune with an area’s marvelous lifestyle and, because of that affinity, perfectly suited to serving home sellers and buyers in that particular place.
While most UMPs emerge from personal aspects of your story, they’re especially potent because they translate readily and productively to who you are and what you stand for as a real estate professional. That all-important “UMP shift” is the ignition point of a powerful campaign that brands you for weeks, months and even years of results-oriented marketing.
There’s more to be said, of course, about discerning and developing the perfect UMP for a potent branding campaign. Also more to be expressed about how crucial it is to build your brand with consistent and frequent impressions. My hope at this point is that you have an enhanced awareness of the possibilities and a clear sense that it’s completely unnecessary to rely on the “same old stuff.”