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One thing I will never understand about Realtors® is why being a “Realtor®” is such a big deal and integral part of their marketing and branding strategy for their Real Estate Practice. On the one side, you have the Real Estate Lobby. The Real Estate Lobby is one of the largest and most powerful in the United States. On top of that, unlike any other trade organization I can think of, the National Association of Realtors® pays a ton of money for public facing marketing campaigns, touting the professionalism, code of ethics, experience and results that only a true Realtor® could give. For those reasons, I can see why it would be attractive to a Real Estate agent to join up with NAR and to be more than “just an agent”. At the end of the day though, the thing I cannot understand is the fact that this just doesn’t track with public interest. Simply put, it does not work.
Using buzz words and key slogans about being a Realtor® and not just “an agent” is not going to help you in your marketplace. Not only will it not help you, it’s going to be taking up prime space on your marketing collateral that could be better used for much more proactive, targeted messages that will drive engagement from homeowners in your marketplace, getting you closer to starting a relationship with them and listing their home.
Why Building Your Brand Around The Idea Of Being A Realtor® Does Not Work
One thing that we discuss time and time again with agents is that you should never confuse homeowners with things they don’t understand, and you should never rely on “status symbols” that they don’t care about. For instance, my favorite mistake to point out is the Realtor® that promotes themselves by saying they are the “top 1%” or in the “President’s Elite Club”, or any other sort of status symbol. Homeowners do not care about this. They don’t know what these things mean, the terms are over used, and at the end of the day, all the homeowner wants to know is what’s in it for them. Instead of touting these status symbols, why not let them know how you will sell their home faster, easier, for more money, or for any other number of reasons that will tap the interest of the potential seller?
Secondly, and possibly even more importantly is the brand of the “Realtor®” itself. Remember when I said that unlike many other trade organizations, the National Association of Realtors® spends tons of money doing public facing marketing campaigns to homeowners? This marketing is not working. You don’t even have to do much research to see my point is correct. Just ask any homeowner if they know the difference between somebody that is a Realtor® and somebody that is merely an agent? They can’t. They can’t do this, after decades of marketing that NAR has been pumping out to them, extolling the values of code of ethics, professionalism, experience, etc. So the question becomes, why would you spend marketing dollars promoting something you perceive as an item of value that homeowner’s don’t even understand?
Please understand. I certainly do not think that being a Realtor® is a bad thing. I do think there are many benefits to you becoming a member of NAR and being a Realtor®. I just think this would not be one of the things that I would consider matters, when it comes to your marketing and branding efforts.
Building Your Brand Around What Matters
The bottom line is you need to focus on what truly matters to a homeowner. There are many ways you can do this, but here are two of my favorites:
- Market to the greed of the homeowner
This one should be obvious, but many people don’t consider this. The fact is, no matter how great of a person someone may be, we are all just a little bit self centered and greedy. It’s a natural human characteristic that is universal to everyone. Any way you can pull from specific differentiating factors you have over your competitors in your marketplace and draw SPECIFIC lines as to how that will benefit the homeowner, you will win. No other Realtor® in your marketplace is taking this approach. This approach alone will set you apart from your competitors in the eyes of homeowners and this will help you build your brand awareness and therefore your business.
- Be an indispensable resource to homeowners
Homeowners take pride in their homes and the communities they live in. Get involved in your marketplace. With this in mind, you need to figure out how you can be somebody that matters to homeowners in your marketplace. It might be you are the local resident advisor that can answer any questions they may have. You may build your campaign around your vast knowledge of the unique homes in the area and your unmatched ability to sell these homes faster and for more money. Or you may even decide you want to be community focused and set up a blog and marketing messages that talk about the community, social events and news that will peak homeowner’s interests.
There are literally dozens and dozens of ways you can effectively build your brand in relevant ways that homeowners will take notice of. The key point here is to always be sure you are of service to them, crafting your messages in ways that speak to THEIR needs, interests and preferences. If you do this, you will grow your Real Estate practice faster than you ever thought possible.