This is a quick post with my thoughts on how to establish yourself as a new agent. The term “brand” is thrown around so much now, that it’s become a buzzword and something that can be tempting to ignore. But you really do need to be able to communicate who you are and what sets you apart from other agents from the beginning. It’s important. So, here are a few of my tips. Hope they help you!
Know your strengths. This is a slightly simpler version of knowing your value proposition. I had no idea how to do this when I was starting out. Keller Williams’ IGNITE Program does this in the first class session, so if you join us you’ll go through our process for answering the questions that will clarify this for you. It’s a pretty basic series of questions, really. What are you known for? What are your strengths? How would someone describe you in 3 words? Ask a former employer, co-worker and an employee (if you ever supervised people) how they would describe you in just a few words. This can be a great starting point.
Develop your network. When I started I didn’t know anyone in this area. My family were all up in Canada and my only circle of acquaintances were a handful of co-workers from the airline I’d worked for and the people at my church. So, I asked myself how I could expand my circle to hundreds of people. I started small with my own neighborhood and held a food drive there to meet my neighbors. Then I thought about all of the places I did business as a customer–my hair dresser, my local coffee shop, mechanic, etc.–and I networked with the people who owned those establishments or worked there. My advice is talk to everyone you know and if you don’t know that many people, find ways to meet some. I also offered to work other agents’ open houses. I did tons of those as a way to meet people who were looking to buy a home.
Get a coach. I’ve had a coach since I started at Keller Williams and meet with one weekly. A good coach will help you remember the basics and focus on your goals, which is especially important when you’re starting out and everything feels new and overwhelming. Have them coach you on building a brand, on networking and communication skills. These things are important components of reaching your financial goals.
Develop an Authentic and Positive Online Presence. In many ways, being a real estate agent (or any business where you’re front and center) is like running for political office. You must be clear and consistent in your messaging and you must be careful with your online image. You are building your tribe of prospective clients with the things you post on your blog, website, Facebook page and Twitter account. Don’t post anything you wrote after a stressful or frustrating day. Don’t vent publicly about a bad experience with a client or colleague. Everything you write/tweet/post can influence a prospective client, so be thoughtful about the impression your online communications make. I teach a class for new agents and I tell them that I’m happy to read anything they’re thinking about posting and give them my thoughts.
Know Your Story. This is in the same family as knowing your value proposition and is also covered in the IGNITE class I mentioned earlier. But I think of this as the more personal version of your elevator pitch. Know why you’re an agent; what it means to you personally to do this work; and the kind of experience you want your clients to have. Know it and be able to articulate it in 30 seconds or less.
Lead with revenue. Inspect what you’re expecting out of the things you pay for. Meaning, I’m not going to invest in advertising or marketing without knowing how it will translate to more money in my pocket. In the first year especially, you need money in the bank and there are loads of free and nearly free ways to network and market. My first year I spent almost nothing and today I don’t spend any more than $50 on any one marketing activity. My first year as an agent I paid $20 to join a breakfast networking group. That was really useful, actually. I’m still in touch with some of the professionals I met there and we refer clients to one another. When you do start investing in marketing, think about partnering with someone else (loan officer, insurance agent) and split the cost, if it’s more than a $50 investment.
As always, feel free to leave your questions or comments in the Comments section below!