By Dr. Hubert Rampersad
The housing market improved over the past year and is expected to continue doing better in the coming years, many experts agree. However, in this new housing landscape, many trends are emerging that home buyers and real estate professionals should keep in mind. One most important trend in the age of social media entails authentic personal branding. About 70% of a realtors’ career success can be attributed to his/her authentic personal branding and presentation skills, versus 30% resulting from his/ her technical real estate knowledge. So, real estate agents with strong people skills are more likely to attract more clients and sell more than those with just knowledge about Microsoft Office, commission structure, listings, inspection, appraisal, etc.
The most effective real estate agents understand the importance of authentic personal branding in today’s market. For real estate agents and brokers, authentic personal branding is, essential to establishing a stronger and more viable business presence. As a real estate agent, you must anticipate on the new housing developments by building a powerful authentic personal brand. Remember, most buying decisions are based on trust, confidence and the feeling of connection people have related to a product, service, or person. It’s the trusted relationship that counts, which often seems to be more important than performance. This is all about branding. A brand is the expectation, image and perceptions it creates in the minds of others when they see or hear a name, product or logo. Microsoft, Nike, Toyota, Volvo, and Coca-Cola tell us how they want others to perceive their products. These Company/Corporate Brands communicate what they want our perceptions and expectations of their products to be.
Minimizing marketing costs and extending market exposure are areas where real estate professionals can really excel. Real estate professionals understand what buyers, sellers and investors want and why- and they may even be experts in the art of the close – but what separates those at the head of the pack is becoming an expert on how to get there. In today’s modern marketplace, where the power has clearly shifted to the consumer, being ‘findable’ and accessible to all potential and current clients is very important.
Branding is more important than marketing and sales. There is a difference among these three activities: Marketing is presenting, sales is convincing and branding is influencing. Branding is about creating a brand identity that associates certain perceptions, emotions, and feelings with that identity. Branding happens before marketing and sales. Without a strong brand, marketing is ineffective and selling is like beating your head against a wall of sales resistance. So don’t waste all your time and money on marketing and sales by not maximizing your brand. It’s about time to focus on branding. In life, as in business, branding is more effective, powerful, and sustainable than marketing and sales.
Remember: people do business with people they know and like. There are literally more than a million real estate professionals, more houses than ever in your market, but there’s one thing that no other agent has…it’s you! Creating an emotional bond with consumers in your market with a personal brand identity is the perfect way to take your real estate business to the next level. The key principle is to find something unique about what you offer as the basis of your sales message. Even if what you offer is a commodity, there is always one thing unique in your business — you. A big error made by many real estate agents and brokers is to try and develop an institutional image like most big companies. People do not like to do business with institutions; they like to do business with people.
Your personal brand is the synthesis of all the expectations, images, and perceptions it creates in the minds of others, when they see or hear your name. Here are some examples related to this aspect of personal branding.
|Donald Trump brings to mind President of the United States of America and successful real estate investor with a massive ego.|
|Dave Liniger brings to mind visionary leadership in the real estate industry and founder of RE/MAX.|
|Gary W. Keller brings to mind a best-selling author and the founder of Keller Williams Realty International, which is the largest real estate company in the world.|
Personal branding is about creating strong, favorable associations in the minds of people that you encounter. If you don’t actively do this, they will still make associations. Therefore, it may be better to be proactive and undertake the branding exercise for yourself, you cannot control what they think but can give them some information to assist with the associations. You can shape the market’s perception of your personal brand by defining your unique strengths and values, sharing it with others in an exciting, persuasive manner, and cultivating your brand continuously. It’s something that you can develop and manage, which is essential for your success in life and real estate business. It involves developing your personal reputation
Donald Trump to Hubert: “ALWAYS THINK BIG”
Everyone has a personal brand but most people are not aware of this and do not manage this strategically and effectively. You should take control of your brand and the message it sends and affect how others perceive you. This will help you to actively grow and distinguish yourself as an exceptional real estate professional. Having a good professional reputation or brand seems to be a very important asset in today’s online, virtual, and individual age. It is becoming increasingly essential and it’s the key to success. It is the strategy behind the world’s most successful people, like Donald Trump, Dave Liniger, and Gary Keller. It’s therefore important to be your own personal brand in order to attract success just like they did.
Having an authentic personal brand has benefits. It:
- Stimulates meaningful perceptions about the values and qualities that you stand for.
- Tells your customers: who you are, what you do, what makes you different, how you create value for them, and what they can expect when they deal with you.
- Influences how your customers perceive you.
- Creates expectations in the mind of your customers of what they will get when they work with you.
- Creates an identity around you which makes it easier for prospects to remember who you are.
- Gets your prospects to see you as the only solution to their real estate problem.
- Puts you above the competition and makes you unique and better than your competitors in the marketplace.
- Places you in a leadership role and enhances your prestige.
- Attracts the right customers and right opportunities and adds perceived value to what you are selling.
- Increases your earning potential and differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Positions your focused message in the hearts and minds of your target customers.
The term “brand” comes from the distinctive mark that cattle ranchers would burn onto their cattle so that they knew the animals belonged to them. However, just having a “distinctive mark” (your logo) is useless because everyone has a logo. So, your distinctive mark isn’t so distinctive. The term “personal brand” has come to mean the collective set of services and attributes that set you apart from others in the real estate industry. Your “brand” is how people perceive who you are and what you do. Your brand must stand for something. This means that your name or logo is essentially meaningless to the general public unless it stands for something in their minds – and that something has to be unique enough to set you apart from everyone else.By reinforcing your message and its association with your name/logo throughout everything you do, you will make an emotional connection with your clients. Every communication they have with you and your staff must reinforce that message. You must highlight your best features and communicate them to your prospects clearly and frequently. This must be consistent with your expertise, your personality, your hobbies and career choice. It must also be consistent with how your co-workers, family and friends see you. Sure, there will be differences depending on how close you are with each, but the core characteristics will continue to stand out through each interaction. If what you tell people isn’t genuine, they will see through it and this will damage your brand. Most personal branding concepts are from a personal marketing (selling) point of view and image building, which can turn into an ego trip. Authentic personal real estate branding is more than just marketing and promoting yourself.Your brand is not your nice logo and slogan. You are your brand and you are in charge of your brand.
You are the CEO of your life. You must think of yourself differently and grow and promote yourself like a business. Your brand is a unique promise of quality and value. Authentic personal branding is a leadership concept that involves creating an image that resonates with the attitudes, behaviors & perception of your target market. Your personal brand should convey a sense of trust. You must dig deep and find out what is unique about you! Then let everyone know about it.In the real estate industry, the concept of personal branding would be defined as the attempt of real estate agents to distinguish themselves as a separate entity from the brokerage they are associated with- so that prospective clients will think of the agent instead of the brokerage when the time comes to buy or sell. It’s therefore important to set yourself apart from your competition by branding yourself as a real estate expert. And with an online presence you will have a strong command of attracting potential clients. Authentic personal branding is therefore an important way to stand out from the other real estate agents and draw clients to you.
Importance of Authenticity
When your brand is combined with powerful tools ii introduced in my book, it will deliver peak performance and create a stable basis for trustworthiness, credibility, and personal charisma. This inside-out approach is durable and differs from traditional methods. This new approach places more emphasis on understanding yourself and the needs of others. Meet those needs while staying true to your values, improve yourself continuously, and realize growth in life based on this personal branding journey. It focuses on the human side of branding, and includes your reputation, character and personality. If you are well branded according to this approach, you will find it easier to convince your clients and you will attract the people and opportunities that are a perfect fit for you.
The underlying assumption of my authentic personal branding philosophy is that each of us has unique gifts and a distinct purpose and dream in life. By connecting these gifts, purpose and dream, we open ourselves up to greater happiness and success in life. In my new book “Authentic Personal Branding for Real Estate Agents; The Ultimate Breakthrough Formula For Standing Out From the Crowd” I focus on a holistic and authentic personal branding model, that will help you to unlock your potential and build a trusted image of yourself that you want to project in everything you do. It is in harmony with your true values, beliefs, dreams, and genius.
Authenticity is about being real and true to yourself. Your brand should therefore emerge from your search for your identity and meaning in life, and it is about getting very clear on what you want with your life, accepting it, fixing it in your mind, giving it all your positive energy, doing what you love and improve yourself continuously. Traditional personal branding approaches are focused on personal marketing, personal sales, social media marketing, image building, and styling, which can turn into an ego trip. Authentic personal branding is more than just marketing and promoting yourself and it is not about being famous and not about trying to be someone you’re not. It is about the Real You and influencing others based on integrity and delivering what you promise. If you are not branded in an authentic, honest, and holistic way, if you don’t deliver according to your brand promise, and if you focus mainly on selling and promoting yourself, you will be egocentric and selfish.
Dr. Hubert Rampersad is a recognized Personal Real Estate Brand Coach. He is the founder of Realty in America in Florida and author of the best-selling book “Authentic Personal Branding for Real Estate Agents; The Ultimate Breakthrough Formula For Standing Out From the Crowd” (IUF University Press, 2017).This article is based on this new book. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.realtyamerica.wordpress.com