By Burke Smith, HSA Home Warranty Chief Communications Officer
If you haven’t already heard the above phrase, now is a good time to burn it into your brain. As a successful real estate broker who made the transition from the broker side of the business to the affiliate side, I have gained a unique perspective as to what really helps agents do more business, and what really helps agents waste time.
Very simply, at the end of the day, we ONLY get paid on conversions. So, anything you do that is not helping you convert someone into a buyer, seller or aggressive referral of your business is a waste of time. Remember: your name is your brand! When people come into contact with your name, what is the very first thought, image or impression that comes to mind? If all they think of is “real estate agent,” then you do NOT have a brand identity and you certainly do NOT own a niche.
Developing a brand identity is your #1 priority and the first step towards owning a niche. What does your brand stand for in the marketplace? Regardless of what brokerage you may work for, when you become a real estate agent, your name is no longer just your name. Your name is a brand and it is the brand that customers will interact with the most.
Here is a simple branding exercise: write down 3 to 5 things that you think your brand represents in the marketplace and don’t just say LOYALTY, INTEGRITY and EXPERIENCE. Be more specific. Ask friends, family and colleagues what they think your brand represents in the market. Maybe you are best with a type of buyer or seller or a particular geographic or demographic area.
Here are some examples of demographic niches: first-time homebuyers, first-time homesellers, investors, renters, people relocating, shorts sales or foreclosures. Here are some examples of geographic niches: luxury homes, subdivisions, neighborhoods, golf course property, lake property, farm property, condos or apartments. Try to be as specific as possible.
Think of it this way, if more than 90% of our clients are using the web during the home-buying or -selling process, what do you want to show up for on Google when somebody types in a search? You are not going to show up for “real estate agent” because unfortunately, the only results on Google for the phrase “real estate agent” in any market are companies that have never sold a single home. However, showing up for “Chesterfield, MO luxury homes” or “Harrisburg, PA short sales and foreclosures” or “Relocate to Columbus, OH” are all niche examples you could own.
The same people who couldn’t convert business from direct mail and cold-calling are the same people who aren’t converting from their social media or website. The real secret to converting is the perception that you own your niche. Start clearly identifying your niche in all of your marketing and advertising, and watch your conversions soar!
Head to HSA’s Social Media Center (http://www.onlinehsa.com/Agents/SocialMediaResources_copy1.aspx) for recorded webinars, articles and more on how to convert listings and win buyers.
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