Building your brand starts with building your team. And building your team is the same as building your company. Think about your foundation – what do you need to make it strong? What is the building block that will make your team and your business stand out from all the other real estate teams, including the ones that are just down the hall from your own office?
Gary Keller, co-founder of Keller Williams Realty, defines team growth as: Leads, Listing, Leverage. Build your business on solid leads, build a solid inventory of real estate listings and, finally, create the leverage needed to not only sustain your business but take it to the next level and continue to build.
What I am seeing in the real estate world today is agents who are not following this principle but rather defining team growth as: Brand, Marketing, Buyer’s agent. That is, define your brand first – complete with cool logo, of course – market the heck out of it, and focus solely on buyer leads.
The problem with agents who adopt this new definition is that there is no strength in the foundation of their team, and thus, no strength in their brand. As a Realtor, YOU are your brand, and your brand means nothing and is nothing until you have a solid reputation and a solid following attached to your name! You cannot simply create a slick brand – complete with cool logo, of course – and expect a strong foundation of leads to automatically follow. You must first create a loyal following – not to your brand, not to your logo or your catchy tagline, but to YOU, the person who helps other people buy and sell homes, and who does it exceptionally well.
Back when I first started in real estate, we were not allowed to have logos on signs. We could only have our name or the name of our group on the sign. Whenever I told my friends and family which company I was going to work for they all said, ”That company has the coolest listing”, and I got tons of street cred based on another agent’s work. That’s the power of branding, and that was when I began using the name “Steve Volkers Group” to start building my own foundation. Years later, when my team did eventually add our logo to signs it was not so much a matter of determining the brand of our brokerage as it was to simply help add credibility to me and my team.
So no, you don’t need a cool logo in order to attract solid leads to build a strong team foundation. And, no, you don’t need a company catchphrase or a coffee bar in the lobby. You just need to be yourself. Clients are not going to call you based on the design of your logo or your eye-catching office furniture. Clients don’t care about slick taglines or stunning reception desks or creative social media tactics, no matter how well marketed or how in-your-face. Clients simply want the very best person to help them buy and/or sell a home, someone who will work with them and for them to help them reach their goals, and who will celebrate with them at the end of a long but successful transaction. (Bonus points for remembering them on their 1-year new home anniversary or, better yet, on their birthday!)
Case in point: If you want to build a foundation of Leads, build on the brand that is already established in your office. Ask yourself: Is the community I live in going to know more about me and trust me better if I am a logo or if I am ME? Then build on the reputation of those who have already invested into YOU and YOUR brand. That – and only that – will give you the credibility you need to attract those longstanding valued customers who play such a critical part in helping to build your team strong.