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What does building your brand even look like?

You need to build your brand! We hear that all the time. But what does that really mean? To me, building your brand means being the trusted resource. It means staying in touch and showing you care.

It means getting more referrals from your past clients and sphere. It means to give exceptional service. And it means knowing what you bring to the table especially nowadays with so much competition fighting for our business.

In a bigger picture view, your real estate brand is the sum total of the customer’s perception of you and your company. So that includes the product or service you provide, how you interact with them and the claims and implications of its advertisements. Your brand is the recognizable, public-facing identity of a company.

Every buyer and seller is asking the same question. Why are you better than those other real estate agents who vying for their business. You can’t just say “I’m good at what I do” (even if it’s true). It doesn’t matter how “great” an agent or company is, people still have questions about you until they find that special something in you or your business.

What is it? What do you do that goes the extra mile to get ahead of others who are doing the exact same thing? Ask yourself this: Why You? That’s what they want to know. What makes you different? What sets you apart?

Take a moment and write down three reasons why they should list with you? And then three more reasons why they should work with you in finding the right home.

Early in my career, I got a great piece of advice. One day, while talking to a veteran agent who totally dominated our market, he said, “All you ever want to be is one of three people they think about when it comes to real estate.” That’s it. Staying top of mind. The person they think of first.

He went on to say that his goal was to talk to every past client and center of influence at least four times a year. I’d see him religiously on the phone every morning, having fun, talking to his friends and clients. He knew everything about everyone — who’s getting married, divorced, having a baby, etc.

What I also noticed was that he was kinda breezin’ through real estate — always hitting his goals. I was envious as a newer agent in the early 90s. I wanted my business to look like his.

Make service calls, not sales calls

Over time, I learned the key was to look at a call in a different way. I had to think of the call being a service call not a sales call. Bring value to the conversation. I think most agents get hung up on making “sales” calls. But, a service call is a game-changing when it comes to perception and attitude.

We just want a seat at the table across from them when they decide to list. Or when they hear about a friend buying, they recommend you first. Who wouldn’t want that? I’d love to live in that space of past clients and my sphere of influence. You could just live in this world.

How do you stay top of mind?

But how do you do that? How do you stay top of mind? It starts with genuinely caring about your client — not just during the transaction but after the sale. That’s why it’s important that we show we care about what happens after the sale as much as during.

Do you know your clients’ birthdays? Closing anniversaries? Do you have a CRM? Are you winging it at a high level? When’s the last time you called them? Your next client is that last client you showed you cared about. Think about that for a moment.

Do you regularly reach out by direct message (DM) when you notice something interesting on their Facebook or Instagram posts? What’s your one-year-post-closing follow up? Is it organized? Do you have a checklist? What do you do for a closing gift? How do you make them feel special during the year?

We are in the people business. Yes…the people business; not the housing business. The people business; not the marketing business. The people business, and not the housing search business.

I’ll never forget Glenda Baker, an amazing, inspirational agent in Atlanta who crushing it. We were together at the Tom Ferry Elite Retreat in San Diego. We were looking for someone to talk about online leads. She said why would anyone want to spend all that money on generating leads when they don’t know, like or trust you? She had a valid point. She then described how she just loves on her clients. Looking for those opportunities to show she cares.

The lesson for building your brand is to take care of those who already know, like and trust you. Makes perfect sense to me. She takes her marketing spend, directs at her sphere and just shows all kinds of love tothem. It worked pretty well since she gets a 5x return on that approach. Sounds pretty good to me.

I ask agents all the time…”Do you really care about your clients?” They always answer with a resounding “Yes.” Then, if that’s true, why does our communication and interest in them completely drop off after they’ve moved into their new home within just months?

It feels like you were in it just for the deal not the people.

Some 72% of clients say they would use their agent again but don’t because they never hear from them again. Admit it, we do a poor job of after-closing follow up. We have excuses like…I don’t want to bother them. I don’t like to chitchat. My clients don’t want to hear from me. They will call me when it’s time to sell. And the list goes on.

So don’t be like an agent I was recently coaching. On our weekly coaching call, he said, “I feel really bad.” “Why? I’d asked. “Well, remember last week when you told me to follow up on old clients?” I was like, I do, since I say that a lot. I could tell by his tone this wasn’t going to be a winning story.

He’d set out to make calls to his sphere and at the top of his list was a couple who bought a home from him three years earlier. Admittedly, he felt bad because he hadn’t talked to them since that closing day. How is that building your brand?

He had a gut feeling they were looking for houses because he knew this wasn’t their forever home. He decided to pull up tax records on their property. Guess what? He learned that it had sold four months earlier. Uh ohh.

It sold for $1.2 million. To make matters worse, they listed with the previous listing agent. Ouch! And, he found out they bought a $3 million property nearby. Do the math on that one. Yikes. That will keep you up at night.

How much did a phone/text cost? Nothing. How much did an email cost? The same, next to nothing. So for $3 a month, he didn’t make a call, send a text or even an email. Don’t assume anything. Stay in touch.

He said, “That will never happen again. I need to do better.” I think we all can do better when it comes to our sphere. I think he learned a hard lesson about staying top of mind. Don’t make the same mistake.

So to me… to building a brand. Stay top of mind. Show massive love to your clients. Spend some money when it comes to our past clients. Be who clients think of when it comes to real estate. Stay in touch. Give incredible service. Show your appreciation. Be able to articulate the question – Why You?

If you do those things, you’ll never have to worry about having enough business. I can’t promise that you’ll float through real estate, but it can make you business better. It can be that simple. Now, get back to work. Go sell or list a house today. And set an appointment!

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