Part 2: Finding prospecting opportunities during COVID-19

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Homely’s agent guide to prospecting during COVID-19

This is part 2 of our 2 part series on how to prospect during COVID-19.

Make yourself an industry recognised name, so sellers come to you

There are over 60,000 real estate agents in Australia and over 13,000 in Victoria alone. How are you meant to stand out and remain competitive amongst other strong names? How are you and your agency supposed to gain those prospects that lead you to incredible sales results?

Personal branding is now more important than ever. Increasing your visibility and establishing your place as a leader in your field will be what sees the prospects chasing you, rather than you having to chase them. 

What is personal branding?

Think about Damien Cooley, Gavin Rubinstein or even in a different direction, Gary Vaynerchuck or Oprah. They are all masters of personal branding. 

They have built themselves into a recognised brand and are known as leaders in their industry, thought leaders and household names. They are recognised by people who might not even be in their industries, making them known, respected and remembered, which in turn drives them incredible business opportunities.

This is why Damien Cooley is the number one auctioneer in Australia. His personal brand is associated with being the best of the best and consistently achieving incredible auction results.

How can creating a personal brand benefit you as an agent and your agency?

Imagine if your name – your brand – was associated with being the best at what you do in your area.

There is no doubt that prospects would be fighting to get you to sell their home rather than you having to reach out, cold call, letterbox drop and convince them that you can help.

This means you will get to pick and choose who you work with instead of hoping that someone was shopping for an agent to sell their home and stumble across you. Yep, people would be seeking you out. Your name would already be in their minds when they know the time is right to sell. How’s that for prospecting made easy?

Can anyone build a personal brand?

Building a personal brand takes time, perseverance and energy. It’s not happening overnight, nor is it a six-week job; it’s a job you need to work on for your entire career.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a solid brand. So if you want to take this on, expect to spend years chipping away, building, growing and evolving your brand. However, you can start to see a difference reasonably quickly if you invest yourself in it.

Branding is a business in itself, so it’s not as easy as popping a few posts up on social media and hoping the right people see it. Creating a personal brand takes long-term strategy, skill, and creativity.

If you’re ready to take that on, then absolutely you can do it.

So how can I build a personal brand?

I wish I could tell you all you need to know in this short article. However, it would be like asking you to tell me how to be a real estate agent in a few dot points.

So instead, here are a few key points that will help you get started using social media as the starting point. Be sure to actively research this in greater detail if you want to pursue it further and succeed in building a brand long-term.

  • Decide how you want to be perceived based on the audience/clients you wish to capture. If you want to sell million-dollar homes and capture the attention of million-dollar home sellers, your persona is likely to be very different than if you lived rurally and wanted to be the friendly relatable family person who gets the best price for properties in the area. The persona of person one wouldn’t appeal to the audience of person two and vice versa. So understanding your objectives and marketplace, and then creating content to suit will be key.
  • Research who you love to follow on social media. Why do they capture your attention? Why do you love to watch? It’s likely to be their personality, humour, passion, or knowledge. Now think of the people who don’t quite stand out and are a bit ‘same same’. What are they posting? Why do you think they aren’t growing? Why are they struggling to excite you? This will help you decide what content is worth sharing and enjoyable, and what isn’t.
  • Stand out, be different and be memorable. If it’s the norm to share external shots of properties for sale, and no one’s engaging with it, perhaps that’s not the right direction for your personal brand, a leader in the industry. What would excite your market? What would be different? What would be refreshing? What would encourage people to follow you specifically? What do you do or know that’s different? What would leave a memorable impression on people who discover you and get them to hit that follow button? It’s unlikely going to be the latest property on the market that they can already find on portals such as Homely.com.au. But it might be a personal walkthrough of the home with you as a guide showing your fun and engaging personality, a meet and greet of the local store owners in the area, a personal update with your take on the local market (not just what you’ve read online or what real estate agents should say but your real honest perspective). You could add parts of your own personal life in it! Include your hobbies and build relationships with potential clients by connecting through your love of exercise, your passion for home cooking (Damien Cooley we’re looking at you!) or sharing your family adventures.
  • Be who you would want to follow. Be real, genuine and form honest relationships. People connect with people. People don’t connect with faceless brands, static images, or people who aren’t at the same level as them. People connect with people they relate to, who show compassion and who are authentically themselves. Just because you see others sharing photos of properties hitting the market, does that mean you have to? No. Is that the type of account you would like to follow? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Create the profile of your brand on social media by sharing the things that you and others would be excited and interested to follow. Not just what is expected or what is already the done thing.
  • Offer value. Those who give will often be the ones who receive. If you are always selling yourself and asking for your followers for things (call me now, do this, come to this open for inspection, buy this property, give me your email address, book in for an appraisal etc.), you’re more likely to scare people off and find it hard to build your brand. Instead, offer value, give give give without the expectation of getting, what a great incentive to want to follow someone who gives so much! This makes it much easier to grow. In time, the receiving will come naturally without you having to ask for it because you give so much and have helped so many people, they will want to reach out to you to say thanks by wanting to sell their property with you. Giving is how your name stays in people’s minds. Giving ‘value’ is how service-based brands thrive. How? Value can come in various forms, from giving information to offering entertainment. Information could be industry insights in your local area or free guides about how to buy a home. Entertainment could be highlighting your personality in humorous home tours, interviews with locals, shining a spotlight on the historic homes in the area, and becoming that local personality that people want to follow because you provide value and are entertaining to watch. There has to be a reason to follow you that is not just you selling your offerings or visibly seeking prospects. That doesn’t give an incentive to people to follow you if they can see that they’re going to get asked for things or sold to immediately. Give value, and it’ll end up coming back to you. Value giving on social media is the essence behind selling without being salesy. You are selling yourself by giving, rather than doing direct ‘enquire now’ sales posts. It’s a much more effective strategy long-term.
  • Practice creating video and be watchable. Personal brands often feature charismatic people who are confident in front of the camera. These people didn’t gain confidence or become a natural at it overnight, and it took practice and time to get to where they are. So start small and build your confidence on camera. In no time you’ll be talking to the camera like they’re an old friend. And they will be—many friends who enjoy watching you on the other side of the phone.

Prospecting with a personal brand is a long-term process, but one that is definitely worth starting, and what better time to start working on this than when we are in isolation. While we have the opportunity to visit homes alone to film content, we have time to focus on developing a prospecting strategy and researching how to build a personal brand.

Remember. You don’t have to aim for national stardom or to become a household name. You just need to be a star within your service areas because anyone who makes a name for themselves within their own community will have a huge impact on their ability to prospect.

Have you started building a personal brand? Or perhaps has this given you the motivation you need to begin one? We’d love to hear from you, feel free to add to the comments below any tips you can offer to others looking to start a personal brand, or if you’re about to start, where you’re going to begin.

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Trish Martin
Trish Martin
Trish Martin is the Digital Marketing Specialist at Homely. She thrives on helping brands grow with creative and clever marketing strategies. Find her website here, her bright Instagram feed at @chromaticalclub and her videos over on YouTube.

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