Personal Branding...does it really matter? (TEST INSIDE)

By
Real Estate Services with Owner of FlyersToYou, Inc. and former Top Realtor

So...there seems to be a lot of discussion here on the Rain about Personal Branding. Is it necessary...or is it not? Is it too "all about me"...or can it really help grow your business?

Well...as the owner of a national real estate marketing firm...my answer is probably obvious.

But I don't want to push my opinions on you. I'd much rather you decide for yourself. So I created a very simple test. Oh, don't worry...it's an easy one...and I'm sure ALL of you will pass with (excuse the phrase) FLYING COLORS!

So here goes. Ready??

That was easy wasn't it? They're all examples of branding. And pretty good ones too, because ALL OF US probably got the answers right!!

If you're not using Personal Branding in your current real estate marketing...you might be making a huge mistake! Use your imagination for a moment. Imagine you're looking at a bulletin board that's filled with 30 business cards from local Realtors. Most are white...with a rectangular photo in the top left. But there's one or two which stand out from the rest. You know...the ones that get noticed first.

It looks something like this:

I know, I know. I've done this a million times before...and I already know your answers.

It's a little too obvious. Your eyes went to the two black ones first. And out of the two black ones, you first looked at the one with the photo on it.

That's normal.

We ALL of look at the one with the photo first. Human beings will look at another human being before they'll look at anything else...even when it's on a simple thing like a business card.



So what?

There's a fun little test I do at the beginning of each of our seminars (it can even be done over the phone). It's a blast....and teaches you why branding is so important. It involves creating a list of ten items. Arbitrary items, numbered 1-10. Number 1 could be a snowball....number 2 a ballpoint pen, number 3 a baseball bat, etc. It really doesn't matter what the items are. I'll ask you to try and remember those items....in order.

Some people will get one or two correct....and in rare instances, I'll find someone who gets 5 or so correct. BUT with everyone, after 30 seconds of teaching you why branding is so important...you'll suddenly know the list forward and backwards. I can give you a number...and you'll tell me what the item it is. I can give you an item...and you'll tell me what number it is.

The funniest part about it (I'm a bit of a smart-aleck when it comes to stuff like this)....is that a year from now...we'll be on the phone discussing your next marketing project...and I'll say "Hey Sally, what's number 7???"...and you'll instinctively know the answer (immediately!!) Probably forever too! From a list you learned a YEAR ago!!

Here are some examples of personal branding:



If you're ready to take your real estate career to the next and more memorable level, give us a call. We can do the 1-10 test (you'll love it, I promise)...and I'll explain why that test means so much to your real estate business.

Remember how I said you'll immediately learn the list forwards and backwards??? Well, I'll show you how to have your prospects learn THEIR real estate list forward and backwards too. In other words, when they THINK ABOUT REAL ESTATE, we'll program them to SEE your image. And when they SEE YOUR IMAGE...we'll teach them to think about real estate.

It's sooooooo simple! And it will absolutely grow your business!

So pour yourself a cup of coffee...and give me a call. I look forward to meeting you!

Dave 

 
Note: The logos shown above are the copyright and property of their respective owners and are used here for example and learning purposes only.

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Rainer
38,838
David Daniels
Owner of FlyersToYou, Inc. and former Top Realtor

Kevin,

Sheesh...I passed you up on my previous response. Hey, I'm old. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!! Yeah...the guy on the card to the left up there has a pretty decent new "look and feel" doesn't he?? BUT...dont'cha think the girl to his right is kinda cuter??  ::: smirk :::

Russel,

Whew!!! I felt sooooo much better for Jim after reading your response above! All I could picture was Century 21 plastered all over the place! I feel much better now that I know you taught him to promote JIM FRIMMER instead of Century 21!

It's funny...I know many agents who work for Coldwell Banker. It's a fine company. They use all of CB's marketing materials, meaning that the Coldwell Banker "look and feel" is VERY prominent...and up until recently, also meant that the agent only got to use their very small black and white personal photo somewhere on the back of the postcard. They allow color photos now. Hey, the postcards are cheap...so who cares right??

Then...

They move to RE/MAX. Their whole brand changes. They're now promoting a hot air ballon instead of a dark blue rectangle. People see them at the grocery store, wearing their new blue and red RE/MAX shirt instead of their old white and blue CB shirt...and it's a little confusing. They're not even sure it's the same person. But they stop and say "Didn't you used to be with Coldwell Banker? I remember you used to drive a car that had a Coldwell Banker sign on it?"

"Yes, but I'm now with RE/MAX. I decided a change was in order for the way I do business now."

"Oh, that's nice. What's your name again?"

They could only recognize and/or remember the company he worked for. Heck, if that's what you spend your hard-earned money on teaching them, they'll learn it well. Teach them to remember a blue rectangle...and they will. From your efforts, they'll know to call the blue rectangle whenever they want to list their home. You did a masterful job branding Coldwell Banker (why do you think their postcards are cheaper?)

But what would've happened had you not run into those clients at the grocery store and had the opportunity to introduce them to your new "hot air balloon" office? You'd have likely lost them to your old office. Hmmm, you better hope you've run into ALL of your prospective customers at the grocery store...because you probably already HAVE lost deals to your old office.

----On your newest comment----

I suggest a two-year plan, which often works out to the next time they order business cards anyway! We have a pretty good deal on 5,000 cards....and for many, that means I'll get their reorder about two years from now. And yes...if their look and appearance has changed noticeably....they should update their photo. BUT...it NEVER has to be a professional photo!! Just take 5-10 photos in your living room with your digital camera...and we'll do the rest. The results are amazing.

Thanks for commenting Russel!

Adam,

First of ll, thank you SO much for your compliments!! That means a lot to me!! Secondly, call me anytime...the test is a fun one!!! You'd enjoy it!

Thirdly...I want to do an experiment with you.



I understand where you're coming from with regards to a logo. But the first thing you MUST do is decide what (or who) it is that you want people to remember!! In MY case, it's FlyersToYou, so i do not use my personal photo (I did when I sold real estate though.)

In one of my responses above, I wrote:

An agent uses a 15-year old photo in her branding. It's all over town. When you finally MEET her, her hair color isn't the same. It's blonde, not brown. She also now has short hair, not long. She's a bit bustier than her photo implies...and she's not wearing glasses. All the while, you're too busy thinking "Oh...um....YOU'RE Sally??? My goodness, you don't look at ALL like what we were expecting". That kind of stuff can backfire. You almost become slightly suspicious in a weird way. 

So you're right about that. But here's a flipside to that coin.

In Donald Trump's photo above...you wouldn't be able to tell me whether that photo was taken 5 years ago...10 years ago...or yesterday. He's not one to change his style very often (if EVER). One might consider that to be a bit boring...but it seems to work fairly well for him :: smile ::

Female agents have a tougher time with personal branding than male agents do. They LOVE to experiment with new hair colors, styles, etc. Guys can usually put on a suit and tie...and even though they've got a few more grays..and maybe a little less hair...and possibly even a wrinkle or two...they essentially look the same as their photo taken several years ago.

Aging is inevitable, you're right. But if your STYLE doesn't change...the new photo may not be as necessary as you think. And if you DO change it...you're likely be okay anyway. If you look at Kevin's business card above...you can easily imagine his photo changing....but the card's "look and feel" being the same. That's why personal branding needs to incorporate color schemes, fonts and photo. It would only hurt Kevin if he changed his color scheme to blue and yellow....and his font to some party font. In fact, if he did that...BUT kept the exact same photo as he now has....it would absolutely ruin his branding!!

It's not the photo so much as the totality of all three.

In any case...call me anytime at (951) 652-8365. I think the conversation would be great! I've read your posts here on AR and have wanted to meet you anyway!

Til then,

Dave




 

August 18, 2008 11:07 AM
Rainer
3,263
John Doe

Dave - Yes, Heather Upton is MUCH more attractive than I'll ever be!

August 18, 2008 11:07 PM
Anonymous #23
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey, Dave.

I learned many years ago not to recommend anything more than a six-month plan when it comes to business cards, brochures, and anything else that has one's phone number on it. The proliferation of cell phones has led to multiple area code changes, and it looks like San Diego's going to get yet one more here momentarily. Couple that with address changes, brokerage changes, etc., and it's just not worth it. A couple of weeks ago I was working with a Realtor and she gave me her business card. On the front was a great big X because her brokerage had moved, this just a couple of months after she had ordered 10,000 business cards. The cost of printing is in the setup charge, so once that's taken care of, there's really no reason to become a storage facility for printed materials.

I was actually burned back in 2001 because I got a bargain on 10,000 pens. The first 5,000 were a mere 19¢ each, and the second 5,000 were free. I use a lot of pens, so I had no problem ordering that many. Unfortunately, the phone company changed my area code three months after the pens arrived. I'm still using the bad-number pens. You want any? LOL

With good-quality printers all over the Internet, I've found that my local printer is only too happy to meet their prices to keep the business at home. Just-in-Time inventory couldn't have a better future.

I suggest a two-year plan, which often works out to the next time they order business cards anyway! We have a pretty good deal on 5,000 cards....and for many, that means I'll get their reorder about two years from now. And yes...if their look and appearance has changed noticeably....they should update their photo. BUT...it NEVER has to be a professional photo!! Just take 5-10 photos in your living room with your digital camera...and we'll do the rest. The results are amazing.

August 19, 2008 01:53 AM
Rainer
38,838
David Daniels
Owner of FlyersToYou, Inc. and former Top Realtor

Kevin,

One day you'll be as pretty as she is.

<cough>

Russel,

Uh oh...I found something we disagree on! YIKES!

I understand your point about phone numbers changing...or office changes...BUT...

I've had the same phone number, address, company and cell number for the last 7 years.

I had an interesting discussion with an agent this morning. She's doing a postcard marketing campaign and we were discussing quantities. She could order 1,000 postcards (one month's mailing) and pay $.22 a piece. OR...get a higher quantity and cut the price to less than half. It's the same design...so if she uses all 10,000, she saves over 50%. If she only uses them for 6 months...she still saves money.

The phone company announces area code changes well in advance, giving Realtors the opportunity to guage when they should reorder marketing materials with their new number...and how to buy the right quantities now in anticipation of the change.

Color printing always rewards higher quantities with lower pricing...so even though a 6-month plan offers a bit more security...most people won't need it...especially if it costs them twice as much!

Here's another interesting phenomenon I've noticed...

When agents order the familiar long box of 1,000 business cards, they're a little stingy with them. I don't mean that in a bad way. But if you ask them for a couple extra cards...THAT'S what you'll get!! Two more cards. They watch their supply of cards dwindling, so they're less likely to hand you a stack of 10-15.

Meanwhile, our customers almost invariably are looking for ways to get rid of soooooooooooo many cards. Leave a stack at the dry cleaners, leave a stack at the UPS store...leave a stack at Starbucks, etc. When they get the big brown shipping box with 5,000 cards in it...they almost faint. But they feel more comfortable handing them out by the hundreds...and you know the drill. All it takes is ONE DEAL to more than easily justify the $90.00 more they paid for the extra 4,000 cards!

By the way...can you imagine an agent using a big X on her cards???? If any agents are reading this post...DO NOT DO THAT EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All it does is broadcast that you're too cheap to order replacements...and you do NOT want to portray yourself in that light to a prospective buyer or seller. Heck, in that situation...I'd have given the agent a major break...and saved her the embarrassment!

Your marketing and you brand tell people a lot about who you are...both as a real estate agent AND business person. If you can't find it within yourself to ensure that everything that has your name on it is the absolute best...you'll likely be one of the agents on this site adding another "I can't figure out why I lost the listing" posts. Sorry to be that harsh...but...

It's the truth. Period.

Dave

August 19, 2008 03:52 AM
Anonymous #25
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey, Dave.

Now that I've quit moving (always looking for the most office space for the lowest price) and gone cellular only, I've ahd the same address and phone number for five years. I changed companies July 1, 2007, though, so I had to rework all my information there.

Around here the significant price break is from 1,000 of anything to 5,000 of anything. There's very, very little volume savings after that, but more importantly for start-up and small businesses, as well as the sole proprietor self-employed, storage space is at a premium, and that storage space is usually at home, where leaky roofs, children playing, cats and dogs frolicking, etc., quite often destroy what just arrived a few days ago from the printer. Not worth it, in my opinion.

I always have to make a decision on whether to buy my milk at Ralphs ($4.89 a gallon) or at Costco ($4.89 for two one-gallon containers). By the time I make it to the second Costco container, it's sour, so it's a significant waste of food in a world of six billion people where one billion of them are starving, some right here on the streets of San Diego. Since the mid-1970s, I've always tried to be a conscientious consumer, even in this throw-away society that we live in, so I'll go ahead and buy one gallon at Ralphs rather than waste a gallon at Costo. Same thing with tomatoes, peaches, strawberries, and so much more. More is not necessarily less when all things are taken into consideration. I understand wanting to save money, but at what cost to society as a whole? After educating my Clients, they are then free to choose.

The phone company might announce area code changes well in advance, but that doesn't mean that anyone is paying attention. Seems only the big boys (Wal-Mart, etc.) plan ahead, which could be why I have so much business working with the small potatoes.

I specialize in Guerrilla Marketing, so I'm able to help my Clients get the most out of that smallest advertisement. Have you read "It's in the Cards" by Ivan Misner, the founder of BNI? An excellent, excellent book which tips, tricks, ideas, and suggestions that can be adapted to brochures, flyers, stationery, and more.

August 20, 2008 02:30 AM
Anonymous
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Rainer
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David Daniels

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