Branding For Real Estate Agents

By: Donald Plunkett

New real estate agents join a crowded field with many different people basically peddling the same service. One of the reasons is that the barriers to entry in the real estate field are relatively low. It is not like becoming a lawyer or doctor where years of schooling, training and internships are needed. It is a field that you can get into quite quickly. However, as in many fields, there are definite winners and losers. Ever heard of the 80/20 rule, 20% of the people do 80% of the business? Well in real estate it is probably more like 90/10. One of the challenges that real estate agents face is how to distinguish themselves and find a niche of the market that they can fill.

Many agents joining the business do not realize that their broker is not going to bring them much business. They are largely in the business for themselves. Joining even a well-known agency like Coldwell Banker or Realty Executives does not bring an agent automatic business. This is unlike the legal field, for instance, where a young lawyer is placed on a salary, handed hours of work to complete, and not expected to actively recruit more business. Many agents faced with the reality of having no clients and limited knowledge of the field of real estate, try to be all things to all people. They do not specialize in anything and do not develop a unique value proposition that they bring to the table.

Faced with the choice of 100 agents to use, most customers are going to pass over the new agent in favor of someone they know and trust or are related to. There are simply too many agents listed in the phone book or online and the average home seller or buyer is not going to take the time to analyze each and every one of them. Sending generic postcards, cold calling, and other strategies generally do not work either as customers generally tune it out - after all, it is all the same to them. If they are going to try someone new that they have never used before, that agent better convey to them a unique service offering that is not likely to be found elsewhere.

Many successful agents realized early on that they had to decide what they stood for. One agent decided they would be the luxury real estate specialist in the tony Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley. They studied the Paradise Valley market, developed a website, marketing materials, signage, and conveyed a brand image that they were the person to turn when ready to buy or sell a luxury property. Other agents decided to take the same approach with foreclosures, short sale properties, urban hi-rise condos, oceanfront properties, raw land, older houses, or low-priced investment homes. Others focused on their cost or unique service offering, such as being the premiere discount broker, being the most technologically savvy agent, or offering mobile real estate and notary services out of a converted van. The most successful agents decided on a brand image that they consistently conveyed to customers.

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