When Exceptional IS The Standard (pt. 2)
By Christian Harris | November 6th, 2016
I left off last month with…
So I have often posed the question to myself… and now I’m asking you, the readers:
“Should I communicate differently with my friends and clients in my articles, emails, social posts and such, then I do in person?
If I use colorful language on occasion and am always joking around in person… is it right or authentic… to “clean it up” and be more “professional” for all my other business writings and interactions?” Sure, being more casual and “non-professional” may not resonate with everyone, but that’s often the problem in my industry. Agents try to appeal to everyone and in so doing, blend in and end up not appealing to no one… They are easily forgettable and known for nothing.
What do you say? Give me your candid feedback.
You can check out last month’s full post HERE.
And now for the second part of my thoughts on personal and business image, authenticity, branding and what we become known for:
So, when it comes to branding, image, authenticity, and what you're known for… How do you communicate integrity and truly being different?
How do you communicate that you're different in the business world? It needs to be more than just a tagline. Everyone has a tagline and many of them sound very similar but how those people conduct their business can be radically different.
I think the key to a business' successfully branding and image is that the business owner puts people first (client's and employyes), as well as knows and articulates what's important, both inside and outside the company. This helps to create the business culture, which will then naturally overflow into their online and real-world presence and become what they are known for. The goal being that the message of that business lines up with their clients… or their ideal potential clients.
Now this starts getting into marketing, which can be very complicated and expensive, as there is so much to it and it changes based on your industry, what sort of company you are, what sort of people you want to get in front of and draw to you, your product or services, etc...
One of the huge problems I’ve seen in the real estate industry is how other agents go about acquiring new clients. They tend to lack focus (because they never bother to put together any semblance of a business plan), they don’t have an ideal client in mind, they will look anywhere and everywhere for new clients, they generally come off as desperate beggars and instead of being themselves, they try to appeal to everyone… which is a great way to appeal to no one, especially in the realities of the niche economy that we live in.
Niche Economy - Today’s consumers want specialist, not generalists.
The days of the “General Store” are done. No one wants to go to a store that has everything or a company that does everything (except for Amazon perhaps). If you have a Japanese made car, you want a mechanic that specializes in Japanese cars… not just cars in general. If you have foot pain, you may initially go to your family doctor but they will likely refer you to a foot specialist. If you run marathons… you’re not going to go to Value Shoe Store… you’re going to go to a running store that specializes in running shoes and apparel.
Most agents are "generalists" in how they conduct their busines. They have nothing that sets them apart. They have no niche. They will take any "lead" that comes there way. Many agent’s lack focus in acquiring new clients and so spend most of their time looking in the wrong areas. They wait for oportunities to come knocking... or ringing in most cases, when on-line lead-gen. companies come calling, raking in the bucks from desperate agents who don't know how to acquire new clients. They connect with the wrong people using low return sales techniques that annoy more people than it attracts. They don’t have a differentiator or a message, so they have positioned themselves as a low value commodity and a sales person… neither garner much attention or respect.
So if most real estate agents approach client acquisition, branding and image so superficially and generically… how is it to be done?
Through focusing your unique message to your ideal client, providing value and highly specialized service... creating a movement by drawing like minded people to yourself.
Branding… Image… Message… Communicating who you are and what you’re all about as quickly and concisely as possible, before you lose their attention. This is the key to acquiring new clients and becoming known for something bigger and more than just the service you provide.
I find myself getting frustrated at times, when I hear about friends or acquaintances who decide to use another agent to buy or sell a house… And it’s not just because of the lost business and sales revenue… It’s also because I run my business so differently and provide such a unique and high-quality service, that I genuinely feel that if they choose to use someone else… there is a very high likelihood that their experience will not be as good as it could have been (or worse yet, I occasionally hear back about them actually having a bad experience with the agent they went with), as opposed to if they had allowed me to serve them.
I find myself thinking, If everyone just knew what I know about myself; if they knew what I know about the realities of the RE industry, and what make me and how I run my business so much different than most every other agent in my space… they would “get it” and there wouldn’t even be a question as to who they would want helping them with their RE needs.
But they (the public) don’t know me… and most people are understandably suspicious and not quick to trust someone new, considering how we are all inundated with dozens, if not hundreds of sales messages, “click-bait” online headlines, bait-and-switch sales tactics, big-hype/low delivery products and services, slick sexy marketing campaigns and just plain false-advertising EVERYDAY.
But even outside the simple question of how to acquire new clients via branding and image…what if I want to do something MORE and BIGGER than just acquire new clients? What I have largely been doing in my business is helping people 1-to-1, which is fine but it limits how much good I can really do at a time… how many people I can really serve at a time. I want to start making a difference with a 1-to-many model, which is part of the reason I started The Sea-Town Podcast and started partnering with other small businesses owners to help support and build up the community.
Don’t get me wrong, new clients and growing one’s business is essential to putting food on my table each night, but what if I want to impact the community and start a movement that can extend and impact people and communities far beyond just my little circle of friends, acquaintances and business relationships here in West Seattle?
Isn’t that what it’s really all about… making a difference?
Message… Everyone has one. Everything we hear or see is communicating a message trying to get our attention. Everything is preaching some sort of message to us. But there is so much “noise” out there, all vying for our attention. We try to block it out or we go crazy with distractions and interruptions.
It’s all a game of attention these days.
How do you cut through the chatter and win at the attention game? Because at the end of the day that's really what it's all about how do you raise your message above the noisy ruckus of cheap ubiquitous (and often valueless) information being slung at us from every direction?
When you receive a "one-size-fits-all" E newsletter or flyer in the mail from a real estate agent telling you about “five tips to winterize your home”, or has a list of stats about the real estate market in your area or some other generic, non-personal information that is just designed to get the agents name and brokerage in front of you, yet has not message, doesn't connect with you or inspire you towards anything… it's just more junk mail that goes right into the trash. Am I right?!
I want to create a movement to inspire, lift up and make impact in our community through my various business endeavors.
This desired purpose of creating and sustaining a movement that not only benefits the client with the community and industry at large… Has a bigger purpose that moves people and that's what I am going for. How do I draw like-minded people to myself and invite them on board this journey with me. People that are already aligned with my personal and business values, how I see the world and how I strive to serve my clients the community and others at large.
My real estate business, The Sea-Town Podcast, my book and new business start up - Sea-Town Media, are all focused on making an impact. Won’t you join me in making a difference in this great city of Seattle!!!
So the question remains: “How do I… how do WE make the biggest impact”?
So much more to come…