In a crowded industry, how do you make yourself stand out? Real estate is an easy business to get into, but, as many new realtors discover, challenging to close enough home sales to survive and thrive.
Once you get the foundation of your education and licensure out of the way, you must go to work building your brand. Though real estate may be a crowded profession in your region, you are still an individual. It turns out your uniqueness is also your superpower and should be the cornerstone of your brand.
“Just be yourself,” but who is that?
Building your real estate brand begins with a deep dive into who you are. If you haven’t done the work of discovering who you are in your real estate venture, try answering the following questions, and see where you land:
- What’s pulling you toward real estate? Do you love the excitement of new homes and home makeovers? Do you want to help people who need to change their home for whatever reason get the place of their dreams, the project of which they can be proud, or the base from which to create family and community? Do you just need a job? Did you think this would be an easy way to work on your own terms? Do you have loved ones to care for and need a flexible schedule? Have you always wanted to see if you could make a go of doing your own professional thing?
Go really deep and get brutally honest with yourself. Your extreme authenticity and vulnerability here will serve you well later on as you build your brand. If you get serious about answering this question, you’ll likely discover that you’ve made the right decision about becoming a real estate agent, and you’re ready to steamroll ahead. Or, you may decide real estate is, like, not your bag, man. Both results are perfectly okay, and it helps to know those answers early on. You’ll save yourself so many headaches later if you’re honest now about why you chose real estate.
- Who is your audience? There are several directions you can go with your real estate brand, and they all have to do with the audience you serve. Perhaps you enjoy helping retired couples downsize into condo living. Or, maybe you want to assist young families in getting into their first homes. Or, it could be that you work best with builders launching new subdivisions in your region.
The crucial element here is not trying to sell every home out there or represent every home buyer. Many new businesses fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everyone. This approach, while natural to try when you’re starting out, only burns you out and diffuses your brand message so much that no one knows you well enough to trust you.
Instead, “try on” a few different audience types, with the intention of vetting the people you most want to focus on in the future.
Once you find the audience group you enjoy the most; you can begin targeting your marketing to that audience to build trust, dependability, and referrals with those same types of buyers and sellers.
- How do you best engage with people? Answering this question, truthfully, can save you a career full of discomfort and dread. For example, if you’re an introvert, you may prefer to meet with people in small groups or one-on-one. You may hate large gatherings or meetings, and networking scares the bejeezus out of you! Or, if you’re outgoing and love busy, loud rooms, you may feel stifled by smaller, more intimate networking groups. It pays (literally) to play to your comfort zone here.
You can use your engagement preferences in the way you call out to your ideal audience. The way you relate to others becomes part of your brand. Like attracts like, and nowhere is this more true than in the real estate game.
A healthy real estate brand is all about the connection you create with your clients. When home buyers and sellers resonate with your authentic personality and the way you engage with them, they’ll use your services for life, and sing your praises to their families and communities as well.
Mentors and coaches help you succeed
Successful businesses are not built-in vacuums. Every prosperous, well-respected entrepreneur has a team of leaders, guides, mentors, and other helpers who got them where they are today.
Look around for a realtor who has built a successful brand and following. Take her out for lunch or coffee and see what helped her get off the ground with audience-building, advertising, and networking. Ask her how she built her niche, her brand message, what she’s about as a realtor.
Also, find out what her biggest regrets were as she got started. Those are pitfalls you may be able to avoid in your journey, though you’ll certainly make a few mistakes along the way.
Finding a marketing coach can also be a sound investment in your success, especially if branding and marketing are totally foreign territory for you.
A marketing professional can help you clarify your brand vision. Plus, they can create effective strategies for getting your message out to the audience you want to represent in the home buying and selling process.
Like the best homes, building a brand takes time
Building your real estate brand takes time and consistency. If you have a microwave mentality, you’ll come up frustrated with the crockpot reality of brand creation.
However, if you take time to be intentional about the message you send and the audience you want to serve, your efforts will pay off.
Once you land on the brand story that fits you well, stick with it. You likely won’t see huge results immediately. Successful brands require consistency, perseverance, and clear vision.
If you’re always chasing the next shiny object in the real estate branding world, you’ll never give your name the chance it needs to get off the ground.
Finally, you’re a licensed realtor. One of the hardest parts is behind you.
Building your brand is where your personality can shine and be a beacon to those raving fans who will love you and what you bring to home buying and selling. Let the real estate brand-building begin with the only thing over which you have control: you.
Disclaimer: This is a guest contribution from BJ LaVelle. BJ LaVelle is the owner of Roost Real Estate Agency in Minneapolis Minnesota. He leads a dynamic team of professionals and works with buyers, sellers, developers, landlords, and investors.