Today, about 1.4 million people are a real estate broker or agent — and that number has been growing steadily. The U.S. has about 140 million housing units. Connecting consumers with the home or investment property of their dreams is a process that takes one broker/agent, one qualified seller/renter and many hours of marketing, communication and transaction time.
So, how do those brokers distinguish themselves? Sometimes their creativity knows no bounds.
Personal Branding & Marketing Gimmicks
Establishing a clear identity and specialty can be a powerful way to stand out among real estate brokers and agents. Although some choose a more traditional route such as sharing up-to-the-minute data or getting deeply involved in community activities, others prefer a quirkier way to make an impression.
Every Day Is a Costume Party for These Real Estate Brokers
Phil and Pam Reed, agent and broker associates at Willis Allen Real Estate in California, know of an agent who dresses up as Uncle Sam for all of his professional activities — complete with a top hat.
Not every broker wants to don a fun suit. But dressing up others can draw attention to a property. Realtor Cherie Carson hired a mermaid (or, more precisely, a performer dressed as one) to showcase her waterfront listings with private docks.
California realtor April Howell Young shouts out #fastagent Kenny Truong. Although he doesn't wear a cape or running shoes, he has adopted a fast-selling social media persona that stuck, and he relies heavily on social media to build his brand and client base.
Taking Your Marketing to New Places Can Be Productive
Real estate advisor and agent Kristofor Carnegie showed up at a local dog park with branded dog bowls and treats. He printed mini business card-sized property fact sheets and wore a T-shirt that said, "Talk to me if you want to live here." He sold several properties simply by building a prospect base within this pet-friendly community.
As you develop your 2021 marketing plans, think about those places in your local community (either physical or digital) that potential homebuyers frequent and make a plan for breaking through the clutter and (literally) standing out in a crowd.
Indoor Features — Turning Negatives Into Positives
Most real estate brokers and agents have faced properties that have one-of-a-kind features. One owner's tastes can be a real estate professional's worst nightmare come selling time.
April Howell Young of Red Oak Realty was tasked with selling a home that had a raised spa tub smack in the middle of the master bedroom. It was lit by a chandelier and sconces. Although clearly not everyone's dream concept, all it took was one (hygiene-conscious) buyer to do a deal.
Carson once saw a home with an illuminated glass section on the office floor, which extended over San Francisco Bay. The owner wanted to watch the fish at night. It's eccentric, but it could certainly be a welcome alternative to Zoom calls or Netflix for a work-from-home professional!
In the 1960s, a homeowner decided to install an indoor grill in their kitchen — vented through the chimney. Although Carnegie first thought that quirky feature in an otherwise upgraded kitchen would be a huge selling problem, he began to see the benefits. Cooks could enjoy a year-round barbeque. He says, "I became obsessed and got every potential buyer obsessed, and in the end, it really helped to sell the home by giving the potential buyers an experience they couldn't get in any other home on the market at that time!"
3 Ways to Break Through the Clutter
The best agents and brokers are always looking for ways to get a competitive edge, even in the strangest of situations. These examples illustrate just a few ways that YOU can stand out in a competitive market:
- Consider your own brand persona — in person and online. Develop a genuine and credible way to differentiate yourself.
- Look for places to generate community buzz. From the dog park to local gatherings, go where the buyers are.
- Treat quirky home features as opportunities. When faced with a house that has unique attributes, focus on the type of person who might embrace the quirks, and develop targeted marketing campaigns and storylines that make those "imperfections" shine.
Want more tales of weird and wonderful marketing ideas and selling features? Check out the first installment in this series.