Hello, Is it Me You’re Looking For?
Hello, is it me you're looking for?
You've seen our leaflet? What did you think?
Oh, that's a shame.
How about our tweets and Facebook page?
The simply amazing video that I did from the car?
That too, wow.
Can I ask. What is it that you are looking for?
Since you ask, I'm looking for someone who doesn't try to sell me something. I'm looking for someone who is different. I've had enough of estate agents telling me how wonderful their agency is. How they're No.1 at everything they touch.
I don't believe them!
In fact, it's getting tiresome listening to their boastful claims and looking at their Facebook page that depicts a 'perfect' life.
Life's not like that. And, if they want to perfect, polish and post a version of themselves, or their agency, that doesn't tell the whole story?
I still don't believe them!
I'm looking for someone that....that....that...?
Well, someone that's a bit like me.
Someone that makes me feel comfortable with my choices.
Someone who values what I value.
Someone who believes, more or less, what I believe.
Someone who can make me 'feel' something.
And when I come across that someone, I'm interested.
Enough, to learn more. To dig deeper and to start a conversation in my mind. No chit-chat, as yet. I need to be wooed.
Do you have the time?
I'm not one to make rash decisions. We're talking hundreds of thousands at stake, here.
I need to discover things before I bring anything into my busy, cluttered and increasingly chaotic life.
So, make a pitch. Trial Close. Try to Overcome the many objections. Reduce your fee. Flatter with a valuation.
The answer is still no.
I have no idea who you are.
There are vendors out there, I'm sure, that are susceptible to your agency's charms. And to every other agency that hits on them. A bit like a singles-bar. Anybody with a warm pulse.
But it's not enough for me.
I'm looking for a specific agency. One that is looking for a specific client.
I'm looking for a relationship.
So that it's not transactional.
"My Dear Estate Agent,
I love you and you love me. We just don't know it yet. See, I've yet to hear of the hardships you face and so I've yet to admire you for that. And you've yet to know of my lack of confidence and trust in sales people. Thus, you've yet to nurture, care, and protect someone who may turn out to be your biggest fan.
There isn't anyone you couldn't love once you've heard their story."
-Inspired by Mary Lou Kownacki.
An estate agency? There's plenty of choice. Plenty with competence.
But, a relationship requires more than competence. It requires character.
Character founded on values. On beliefs. On conviction.
Of one thing I'm certain. Every single estate agent has beliefs. They have values. And convictions. We all do.
The questions is whether we are willing to share them. To be open, honest and transparent. To risk criticism and rejection.
Or, to be just another estate agent. Grinding out the work to keep afloat.
Imagining that your social media campaign will bring in more faceless 'leads'. That your chatbot will inform and educate because you're too busy to care about someone that isn't 'hot', at present.
It's not a race to gain more attention.
Old-style marketing used to be the four P's: Price, Promotion, Place & Product.
Price? Only matters when nothing else matters.
Promotion? Only matters when you have something interesting to say.
Place? It's your community, but are you part of it?
Product? In estate agency terms, your service. It might be better, or worse, but vendors won't know until they experience it themselves.
I would suggest that old style marketing has been replaced by the one P:
Trust being ever-more important in this world of fake news and media manipulation.
What benefits would you gain if your potential clients trusted you more?
They'd be more inclined to accept your advice.
They'd show you more respect. Share more information with you. Refer you to their friends. Give you the benefit of the doubt. Forgive mistakes and involve you earlier in potential issues.
Sounds like the perfect vendor. But first, you have to uphold your side of the bargain. You have to earn that trust.
Consumers are much more likely to trust a person than a corporate brand. That's why word-of-mouth flourishes and advertising is in rapid decline.
So the T.V ads that shout meaningless messages? The re-targeting that stalks you around the web? And the corporate generated leaflets that are mostly filed under W.P.B?
They're all a waste of time and money. Nobody cares. In fact, people will go out of their way to avoid them. Ad blockers, spam filters, fast-forward on the T.V remote and signs on many homes that read:
No Junk Mail.
"Our passion comes from who we are. Not what we sell." -Simon Sinek.
How will vendors know who you are? From where, comes your passion.
You have to tell them. It's that simple.
We trust people based on hints they give us in their vocal tones, in the stands they take on irrelevant points of view. And yes, on what others think.
Your origin story. How you arrived here. Who you are. What happened to make you who your are today? Your vision. What makes you different?
We see this everyday in Films and on T.V. The characters that bring a story to life. Actors that share with an audience their character's values.
So that there's empathy.
It needn't be polished. People are surprisingly forgiving when they see their own faults reflected in your story.
It needn't be over-long. Some of the best stories are less than a minute.
But it has to be Personal. Human to human.
It has to be Personal.
It has to be Personal.
And slightly scary.
Because not everyone will like what you have to say.
But that's O.K. As Seth Godin says:
You're looking for a specific vendor.
A vendor that knows, likes and trusts you.
Not because you're "more passionate.". More qualified. More of an "expert". Not because you sell more homes. Have won more awards.
A vendor that knows, likes and trusts you because you're exactly the person they've been looking for. Who just happens to be an estate agent.
A strong Personal Brand is the future of estate agency. Someone that potential vendors will seek out.
Vendors that chase you.
Instead of you chasing them.
If that's not you, I don't know what else to tell you.
It doesn't require a lot of time. Or money.
So you won't need to raise a few million to compete with the brand awareness of PurpleBricks or their ilk. Those crowdfunded millions didn't do much for Emoov.
Brand awareness is all well and good.
If you have something interesting to say. The PurpleBricks of this world are still trying to figure if they have. EMoov obviously didn't.
The sooner you start on your Personal Brand, the easier it becomes to engage with your community. Even for those firmly entrenched in the corporate world of agency, a strong personal brand adds fidelity and assurance. That's what vendors are looking for. A relationship.
Not a transaction.
If you don't have a blog. If you don't have a podcast. Or if you don't post on video platforms. Start now. Build your media company.
A media owner and a local personality.
That could be you. That should be you.
If you need any advice, encouragement or help to get started, just get in touch. I'm happy to help.
Thanks for reading and Happy Christmas to each and every one of you.
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