If you want to be all things to all people, you’re putting your brand (and your business) at risk. Make the choices you need to make your business thrive.
Far too many agents I know have a brand problem, although they may not call it that — or realize how it is hurting their businesses.
You probably know some of the agents I’m talking about. They’ll sell anything to anyone, at any time. They specialize in luxury properties and REOs — at the same time. Whether it’s a fancy or skanky neighborhood, they’re experts.
They’re specialists in first-time buyers, investors, trade-up buyers, and probate sales. They sell every type of property, from weed-strewn empty lots to the most expensive mansion in town. Whether you’ve got 20 percent down and a solid credit history, or two foreclosures on your record, these agents can help you.
Their range of services and expertise is ridiculously broad. That’s why their social presence (if they have one) is scattered and overly promotional. Their farm cards are rare, but look like a postcard for a Chinese restaurant when they do show up in your mailbox. They’re the sort of agent you try to avoid doing deals with, because they’re just not credible.
When you meet brand-challenged agents, you may be polite on the outside. But inside, you’re thinking, “what a crock of (*&^*%$!”
Ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is a rather significant brand problem.
And there’s only one reason for it: Fear.
Agents who are suffering from the pain of having a bad brand (read this as business) are afraid of making choices.
Brands are about making choices. And the very first choice you have to make is that you will not be all things to all people.
But wait, you say. “I do want to be all things to all people! I do, I do, I do!”
No, you don’t. Really.
What you want to be is first and foremost, YOU. In all your splendor. I’m not kidding about this. There is nobody else out there like you. So you need to celebrate it, let your freak flag fly, and be you. The expert, best you. But not the you that does everything, and nothing particularly well. That person has got to go, because that person gets your brand into trouble.
Here’s why: People who are buying and selling houses today want to work with an expert. (And if they don’t they should not be your clients. You’re better than that.)
Your clients are not looking for someone who can sell in every single neighborhood, babysit their kids and choose paint colors. Rather, they want someone who can sell them the right house in the right neighborhood for THEM, preferably at the right price in a timely fashion. That’s the sort of focus we’re looking for.
Trust me on this. Focus brings results. Focus is courageous and fundamentally rewarding.
I believe that there are three parts to a proper real estate agent brand:
1. Who you are.
By this, I mean all the things that make you, YOU. Ask yourself, why are you in this business? Is it to make scads of money or to help people? Is it because you love houses and design, or that you love to see derelict properties renovated? Whatever your reasons for being in the business in the first place, those are the qualities that should be the essence of your brand. Those qualities are what will make your brand authentic and genuine.
2. What you do.
My internist is not my dentist, and I don’t expect him to check my teeth when he’s taking my blood pressure. You’re in the same boat. As an agent, you can have dozens of specialties. But there are always going to be things you’re especially good at, and enjoy doing that fit with who you are (please review point one). Those are the things that you should specialize in and promote. Why not attract clients who want you to do what you do best?
3. Who you work with.
This is two sides of the same coin. You have a choice in who your clients are, and you have a choice about the agents you work with and the brand you associate yourself with.
Let’s start with your clients. Good clients burnish your brand and attract more good clients. It’s a virtuous loop. Like attracts like. But crazy clients are bad for your business. They reflect poorly on you and are a waste of your time — and other agents’ time. So, by making choices to work with good clients, you can build your brand and your business.
The other side of the coin are your fellow agents and your brokerage. Is your brokerage’s brand consistent with your own? If the answer is a resounding yes, awesome, don’t change a thing. But if you can’t unequivocally say that your brokerage’s values are congruent with your brand, it’s time to make a choice. And don’t delay.
Having a great brand that builds your business is about making the right choices based on who you really are, what you enjoy doing and who you do it with. Once you’re clear on what you really want, business will follow.