BY TERRY PENZA
As a real estate professional, you are used to selling products, but what about selling your brand? That’s right, now it’s time to brand “you”! A client can tell a great deal from just observing your image, or brand. Tom Peters states in his article “The Brand Called You”: “That cross-trainer you’re wearing — one look at the distinctive swoosh on the side tells everyone who’s got you branded. That coffee travel mug you’re carrying — ah, you’re a Starbucks woman! Your T-shirt with the distinctive Champion ‘C’ on the sleeve, the blue jeans with the prominent Levi’s rivets, the watch with the hey-this-certifies-I-made-it icon on the face, your fountain pen with the maker’s symbol crafted into the end…” Let’s stop for a minute and think about how critical brands are in our everyday lives. When you need to make a copy of a contract, you go to the Xerox machine, though it may be a Cannon. When you cut your finger and need a plastic strip with adhesive, you reach for a Band-Aid, though it may be a store brand plastic strip. Band-Aid and Xerox are just a few brands that have a permanent imprint in our minds and you want your customers to feel the same way about you. No matter what they are talking about in terms of real estate, your brand should come to mind first. But, how do you create a brand “You”? Below are a few tips that will get you started. 1. When branding yourself, remember that you are your greatest asset. There are many tools and technologies to help you market yourself but you have to remember that those are only tools. The knowledge, energy, enthusiasm and money that you put into your image all represent your strongest tool — you. 2. Make sure that you are reflecting the best “You” to your clients. How do you present yourself to your clients? Do you present yourself as a knowledgeable, professional Realtor, or do you present yourself as someone who is just trying to sell something? Many of us give off the vibe of the latter, but in our minds we are presenting our best. Be conscious of what you are putting out into the world. 3. You never get a second chance at a first impression. With that said, you have to keep your brand in mind when selecting your clothing, the condition of your automobile, your lockbox and the way you speak. Understand that everything you do communicates something about you. 4. Being prepared is a major part of your brand. Make sure your clients do not walk away. Be able to provide them with the service they expect by offering them a prepared, professional “you.” Terry Penza is the CEO and President of North Shore – Barrington Association of REALTORS® (NSBAR), which represents real estate professionals in the North Shore and Barrington area of Illinois, and is one of 1,600 local boards and associations of REALTORS® nationwide that comprise the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). For more information, visit nsbar.org. Penza can be reached at 847.480.7177 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.