I have been told that personal branding is a vital part of a successful Realtor’s marketing toolbox. Ad nauseum. To an extent, I agree. As any production-based entrepreneur will attest, competence is only part of the equation. If the general public does not know you exist, you will starve. It’s as simple as that. That said, there is a fine line between marketing your wares and losing yourself within a caricature. Personally speaking, I’d much prefer to be the guy whose name is passed amongst friends, family and co-workers than the floating head on the side of a bus. Appealing to the lowest common denominator strikes me as misadventurous in terms of cost (somebody, namely future clients, will have to take the expense of the ME ME ME based advertising on the chin) and reputation.
My choice? I choose anti-branding as my brand. In disavowing the frivolous and the cheesy, I opt for a quality over quantity approach to client acquisition and retention. In short, I hope for my service to speak in place of the glamor headshot on a bus stop bench.
Some chase the ambulance. Some let the ambulance chase them.
As such, I have assembled a loose collection of industry pet peeves which may help you determine whether or not my substance over style approach to the industry will mesh with both your disposition and expectations for your choice in representation.
I do not wear a nametag. This should be reserved for Walmart employees, mechanics and the truly forgetful.
I do not carry a clipboard. If you believe you require a prop to look more professional, odds are high you are right.
I do not wear a suit and tie. Nothing wrong with dressing for success, but a guy in a tie wants to sell you something. I want clients and customers to feel comfortable around me.
I do not have pictures of my pets on my business cards. “When the time comes to sell your most valuable asset, you can trust Paul Slaybaugh … and his kitty cats!”
I do not press said business card into the hand of every neighbor on my block. Probably a bad business decision on my part, but I never liked the idea of my neighbors ducking inside their homes to avoid “that guy” when they see me walking down the street.
I do not inform buyers, “This is the kitchen!” when showing a house. You’ve seen this agent on House Hunters. She doesn’t trust your ability to bridge the convection oven + refrigerator = kitchen divide.
I do not sell insurance or loans. Or pomegranate juice. Or encyclopedias. I sell houses. That’s it. If I’m good enough at it, there is no need to branch out into repping energy elixers on the side.
I do not work a good ‘ole boys referral network. I refer my clients to the best service providers I know with expectation of neither reciprocation, nor compensation. Too many great guys, but bad practitioners out there to gamble my client’s best interests with a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” relationship. If I provide an affiliate’s name, it’s a name worth knowing.
I do not turn off my cell phone. I’m not always available to field a call, but the phone stays on. Some emergencies can’t wait for normal business hours.
I do not introduce myself at parties as “Paul Slaybaugh, Realtor.” Rest assured, you can let your guard down when we are off the clock without fear of a never-ending solicitation. I am a whole person. Real Estate is what I do, but not the entirety of who I am.
I do not sell houses. I help houses sell themselves. I can sell you a pen if you already have four, but I cannot sell you a house that you don’t want. Many agents put on a show for their clients in an effort to demonstrate just how salesy they can be when promoting their home. It’s a mistake.
I do not treat lenders, title officers, stagers or contractors as if they work for me. We’re all a team, with the client as captain. It is my goal to create an atmosphere in which all professionals involved will be eager to work with me again upon the successful conclusion of a transaction. It doesn’t serve my clients’ purposes to have the network of providers I rely upon cringe when my number flashes across their caller ID.
I do not put balloons on my open house signs. I don’t juggle or have pie-eating contests either. We are selling a HOUSE here people, not a set of Goodyears.
I do not drop client names around the office. Or around other clients, for that matter, in an attempt to convince them of my importance. Aside from valuing your privacy in this modern TMZ world, who really cares? “Famous by association” is entirely overrated. I’d rather attain my promised 15 minutes through merit.
I do not attend tour groups for the scones and gossip alone. I’m there to work. The scones are great, though.
I do not advertise sales, incentives or gimmicks for the use of my services. I offer competitive fees, but I will not trick you into working with me. If you select your professional representative based on the allure of a complimentary fruit basket or shoulder massage, God speed.
And I do not have a magnet on my car.
If you think we would make a good professional match, drop me a line. It would be my privilege to represent you in the purchase or sale of your Scottsdale home.
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