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Real Estate Marketing that Builds a Following

March 10 2017

la marketing builds followingI recently wrote about a conceptconcept Gary Vaynerchuk put in his book that talks about how most businesses miss the mark when they treat social media like traditional media outlets and expect the same returns. I went further to propose that the way to be successful at real estate is to stop selling homes.

Instead, care about people and sell a lifestyle. But I didn't do was offer examples of how to do so. Today, I will share with you the one core element you need to employ in order to move from being an agent that makes money transaction by transaction, to an agent that is making consistent revenue and has a full pipeline from having a loyal base of followers that are evangelists of your personal brand. If you ignore this one key element, whatever else you do will fall short, ensuring you do not succeed on this mission.

Authenticity Is Everything

Simply running mass media ads that you are in the top X percent of this or that doesn't work anymore. First of all, it does not resonate with homeowners. Second, the new media platforms that are becoming larger and larger parts of mass society do not respond to this at all. In fact, they run away from it.

Gary was spot on when he wrote in his book, The Thank You Economy, that you need to build value, care about, and be authentic with people. This one can be a tricky one for agents. I get it—there are many things that might battle you on this. For instance, you are beholden to your client when selling a listing, and you don't want to speak too much ill of the marketplace you work in and risk alienating potential clients. There are, of course, also the potential for legal ramifications should your opinions/comments prove too controversial.

That said, you have to be comfortable with the idea that not every one of your listings is right for every person that walks through the door. Not every homeowner is the perfect match with your services, and there is no neighborhood out there that doesn't have flaws, which may potentially not make it right for every would-be buyer.

In building your personal brand, it may sometimes seem like it's not helping your bottom line (commissions), but trust me when I say that, sometimes, not taking a listing, or not pushing to get someone to be interested in a listing you are holding open, or even being honest with potential buyers about any challenges a neighborhood may be facing—will go a very, very long way when it comes to building a successful personal brand for your real estate practice.

A Practical Example of How It Can Go Wrong

A quick case in point for you. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was on a walk in Pacific Grove with my father. We happened to walk by a home that was for sale. It was on a street that was a loop and in the center of the loop was a cute little park with a playground and basketball court for residents of the neighborhood. I noticed a sign rider on the for sale sign that said the vacant lot behind it was included with the sale.

Now, knowing that my father and step mother are constantly on the lookout for another home in Pacific Grove to purchase, I naturally asked him about this home as we passed by. Without hesitation, he immediately responded, "Yeah, that is not the house for us."

He went on to explain that it was a three-bedroom, one-bath home. I know that sounds like very few bathrooms for a three-bedroom home. If you are unaware of the area, Pacific Grove is on the Monterey Bay in California. Because of this, water credits are a thing. Many houses don't have their own laundry rooms, or can't add an addition with a bathroom, or other things that use water, because the existing structure is deemed to already be using their allotment of water. Even with the extra lot available in the sale, which I would assume would change the landscape of the deal, it was still a no-go in his mind.

The interesting thing is it wasn't the headaches and cost of potentially having to build the house out, if it was indeed possible. In fact, it never got that far at all. It was the interaction he had with the listing agent, when she held the home open. He walked through the property and struck up a conversation with her. They got to talking that they were looking for a larger home than the one they currently own in town because their family had grown (sons getting married, grandchildren being born, etc.), and they really like to have everyone come into town for holidays. As nice as it would be to have a house with three bedrooms, the one bathroom just wouldn't cut it.

Now she could have spoken with him about the opportunities that may exist in building out, given that the lot directly behind the home came as part of the sale, or perhaps let him know of other homes in the area that she knew of that may more closely fit his needs. She did not do either of those things, though.

Instead, she pointed out to him that one of the benefits of being across the street from that cute little park is that they have a public restroom. So on holidays, if the bathroom in the house became an issue, people could just run across the street and use the public facilities.

So instead of establishing herself as an area expert that cares about the residents of the area and really wants to help them achieve their own goals, she clearly demonstrated to him that her goals were more important, thus losing out on a future opportunity to do a deal with my father when the right property does present itself.

I am a firm believer in establishing your own brand. You may work for a brokerage, but you are your own business. What people think of you is critical to your success. You need to market yourself so that you are the agent that is considered a thought leader and that wants to help people reach their goals. This is one of the most important things to consider as new media continues to grow and merge with and/or replace old media.

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