This is a post I recently put out on ActiveRain. I find WordPress easier to use, so will be primarily blogging here going forward with some linking into AR.
What does an agent posses that is unique and lets them stand out from the crowd? Since every agent can compete for every listing and every sale with the same access to tools an services, the only thing that can truly differentiate one agent from another is their personal brand. I keep an eye peeled for creative ways that agents separate themselves from the pack.
In recent conversations with agents, I have heard a common theme of “market segmentation”. While none of the agents I spoke with actually said those two words together, they referred to different parts of their personal and professional networks differently. Also, the segmentation did not follow any demographic or sociographic focus. All of this segmentation was based on closeness of relationships. Every agent seemed to have their core group that were their key source of word-of-mouth recommendations, their broader community involvement relationships and the broad general market. Some called it their “core sphere of influence” and others “their best customers”. Each had different ways to reach each segment. What was common to all of these conversations was that these agents had essentially entrusted their brand to a set of friends and colleagues where they trusted their network to help them get out their message.
For example, one of these agents specialized in “Downtown San Diego”. I asked them where they got most of their business – the response was “word of mouth”. The follow-up question was obviously “who’s mouth”. I thought that the response was interesting. The agent essentially said that they had spent the past 10 years becoming a respected, active part of the local community. That they had cultivated many relationships and could count on more than 100 people in the are to speak highly of them and recommend them as an agent. They used the Internet to broadly disseminate listing information to people they had never met, they mailed just listed cards to the broad community and had an email newsletter program. This was one of our Home by Design magazine customers and they used that to stay in front of their 100 or so people at the core.
I think that this is a really good framework to apply to personal branding (your core, your community, the greater world). I also believe that the social networking tools that are emerging right now will enable agents to expand the Community and Greater World segments with greater ease. I expect that savvy marketers are all thinking this way and are developing unique strategies to strengthen relationships at each of these segmentation levels.
I am very curious to know what new ways agents are developing relationships at each of these segments.
For full disclosure, my company sells products dedicated to agent marketing including The Real Estate Book, realestatebook.com, Home by Design magazine and Your Homes and Lifestyles magazine. While these are all excellent products, I will be talking about other unique