Re-branding your real estate business – is it really important?

So you’re feeling like you don’t really stand out in your market place.  Your ‘for sale’ signs look just like your fellow REALTORS’® and the 1,000 homes you sent your ‘just listed’ post cards to also received the exact same ones for the listing a few streets over.  There’s a sea of signs everywhere which all look the same, except that one agent that sticks out like a sore thumb. You know the one, a sign seemingly on every corner looking so amazing that you would list with them if you weren’t an agent.  They must be doing something special because you recognize their marketing everywhere you go. You wish you could be just like them sometimes, don’t you? Well, it’s not hard. You just need to ask yourself a few questions and get started with your new brand image in the real estate business.

Whether you’ve just completed phase 3 of the real estate courses or you’ve celebrated 10 years in the business, nothing is more important than your brand image.  Ask yourself these five simple questions and see if you can easily answer them. If not you may need to take a step further and hire a marketing company to pull the answers out of you!

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I stand for?
  3. What can my clients expect from me with every single transaction?
  4. Is my brand image and marketing cohesive?
  5. Am I willing to invest the time and money to go from average REALTOR® to successful business owner?

If you don’t know who you really are and what you stand for in this business how can you possibly expect the general public to know? You need to be clear in your mind what it is you are going for and what you are willing to and not willing to do to get there. Then make sure your branding and marketing conveys this message loud and clear. Are you a proud parent, do you like riding motorcycles, are you involved in local charities, do you specialize in a certain area so much that there isn’t a single thing you don’t know? These are examples of things you need to convey in order to attract like-minded people.  Remember, people are attracted to people who are like them so make sure they can see it very easily.

Consistency in your business is so important especially as your clients start to refer new business to you.  If past clients brag about how quickly you returned their calls and that you were always on time, you want to continue this kind of service with all your referred clients. Otherwise, not only are you going to lose those clients because you look like a fraud, you will likely never get another referral from your past clients and possibly worse lose the past clients altogether because you made them look like liars! So, be prepared to spell out what your clients can expect from you and deliver what you promise each and every time without failure. This will be the fastest way to build your referral business.

Have a look at all your promotional material, signage, business cards, letterhead and envelopes, even your car and clothes. Are they cohesive? Do they have a theme?  Or are they all different colours and looks, with 10 different slogans and messages on them? This is a common mistake with realtors® new and seasoned.  Because the cost of branding isn’t always cheap, REALTORS® tend to do little bits here and there.  We get new business cards with a slogan and a logo in one colour and it looks great.  A year down the road you’ve saved some money and create a new ‘for sale’ sign with your picture on it but it’s a totally different look and feel than your business cards. Then you decide it’s time to get new ‘open house’ signs, again in a different colour than your cards and ‘for sale’ signs but they looked cool so you went with them anyway. Now you’re really rockin’ so you get a custom website which looks amazing but there’s only one major problem – not one of these marketing devices you’ve purchased create a brand that speaks to the public about who you are and what you stand for. Everything must flow one into the next.  Your ‘for sale’ signs must reflect the exact same message as your ‘open house’ signs. Also, the feature sheets and business cards must carry that same theme straight through. Lastly, your image plays a large role in your success as a REALTOR® so the way you dress and what you drive should also mesh well with what your brand is saying.

I don’t think any of us can argue the value of branding and the impact it has. I do however know that it’s not always in the budget to create that complete package in one shot. So, if you have the budget then let it rip and you won’t be disappointed. But, if you are on a budget and can’t do it all at once, that’s fine. Just remember to create the complete brand image first and as you can afford to change over each item make sure they are all working in harmony and don’t conflict with each other. Eventually you will be the REALTOR® that makes others say, “wow, this agent must really have something special, I’d list my home with them!”

Jay Shearer, Sales Representative, YPN Committee Member and Guest Blogger

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