Your “Credo” is a big part of your Real Estate Agent Branding
Let’s face it, you’re up against hundreds of agents in your market and some of them have established a dominant position with buyers and sellers. One way or another, they built a powerful brand image and the reward is lots of leads, repeat referals and word of mouth recommendations. Clients recommend an agent because the agent has a good “brand image” which often means they act with integrity and will do their best to serve a client’s interests well.
Can you visualize an image of the best real estate agent in your market? What are their personal and professional characteristics? Attractive, well dressed, well spoken, soft spoken or harsh, courteous or businesslike, calm and collected or energetic, and focused and confident? Which broker do they work with? Do they look like they have a driving purpose? What does the client think that purpose is? The answers to these questions are all a part of your ideal image.
A recent survey by MRIS of 300 homebuyers and sellers in the Mid-Atlantic area revealed that real estate customers value trustworthiness the most. 75% rated it as the number one factor. When’s the last time you thought about outcompeting the top agent in your market on integrity and trustworthiness?
Everything About YOU – including your Website
There’s plenty of characteristics that might be part of the successful, branded agent’s image but somehow they must be integrated. Where a lot of business professionals falter is that they don’t consider what their target prospect thinks and sees. There’s a lot of distrust of real estate agents, and perhaps some resentment, therefore prospects are likely aware of what they’re looking for in an agent. While you don’t suffer the image problems of used car salespeople or lawyers, you need to build your own sparkling brand image. If your website projects a weak, uncertain image (where there’s nothing known about you and your interests and your values) it doesn’t make a statement that you’re the one they should work with.
Your values might be more important than you realize. Some agents mention that they’re married with children and are involved with the local youth soccer league, but that’s not enough for most skeptical buyers and sellers.
Brand Image Development – Creating a Together Look
Most real estate agents do act with integrity but they do it in a casual, unassuming, and unpromoted way. That’s completely natural but from the client’s or prospect’s perspective, that integrity, hard working, courteous, and honest image may not come through. You’re a stranger they get a brief glimpse of so why should they hire you?
Do you ever wonder why you get crappy, annoying leads? People who just waste your time? What is it they’re seeing or believing that makes them think it’s okay to call you and waste your time? What kind of properties are you listing? Where do you advertise? What do your property descriptions sound like? What does your Real Estate Web Site say about you? You’re the one they’re contacting.
If your brand image is hurting, it could be something about your clothing, the way you speak, or how you approach your clients and prospects that doesn’t project that sparkling image you want. Other times, your personality and behavior are too scattered that the customer has a tough time seeing you in a focused way. If you’ve got an iron in every fire, it may make you look unfocused. If you’re focused only on luxury homes for instance and all your discussion in person and on your website focuses on luxury high end properties, it helps the client get you fixed in their mind that that’s what you do. Your clothing, courtesy, friendliness, listening ability, discussion of the things they’re interested in, and the type of connections you have further fine tune your image as the “luxury homes specialist.”
The word creed is derived from the Latin word: credo, which means “I believe.” It’s a statement of faith that acts as symbol of your faith or commitment. You can make a statement or creedo on your website or business card. That might be your real estate slogan. A slogan is a cute commercialized symbol, a saying or quote that summarizes your professional approach and the results you create. “Why not Hire someone you like” or “A long time resident who is committed to keeping this community the best it can be.” Those are good enough real estate slogans that crystalize your best assets.
Is a credo the same as your unique value proposition or a mission statement or code of ethics? I don’t believe these are the same. Your value proposition summarizes what you can do, your value, while your creedo is a disposition and image that highlights your integrity. When you combine it with your unique value proposition, you have a powerful brand image booster. A code of ethics might seem like a good idea but it makes you look like a type of person who might have the potential to do something unethical so you need tights controls to keep you on the straight and narrow. It’s better to avoid negative references and project something better that puts you above all the negative things that might be associated with real estate agents.
When you weave your UVP and Credo into your website and print flyers, etc., the home buyer or home seller gets a clear picture that you’re competent and act with integrity. You build a an attractive appearance whose values and behavior are consistent with prospective clients.
So you might think of a statement to keep to yourself but instead if you list the best qualities that clients want to see and be associated with, that can be your guide. The point is to act in accordance with those guidelines and goals. Action means a whole lot more than words, although words still help get the message across.
Should you State your Credo?
I don’t think you should state it even if you’re eloquent. You need to examine and review your website copy and how you speak with clients. Is your website consistent with what you speak about to your clients? Yes it is a marketing thing but there has to be a strong parallel otherwise your website, emails, and newsletters will all be considered of dubious value to your prospects. You’re the one who makes all these things important. The emails and web pages are an extension of you and that’s why current and prospective clients are going to read them.
Your website copy should reflect how you act with integrity and how you put client’s interests at the forefront. Your graphics should reflect that too. Think about images that build trust. Pictures of people is one way to go. Your blog is a good brand image building asset too. You can point back to previous blog posts from months or years back where you said something that proved to be true (and helpful to clients). And you go further on the point to reinforce the image of you being responsible, consistent, on top of things, hard working, diligent, and as well — positive.
Good luck with your pursuit of high brand value for your business as you strive to be the best real estate agent.