You are the Brand!
The JCL Realty business model is based on the conviction that the real estate industry is a local, people driven business and that national brand identity has very little importance or impact on the overall success of a real estate career.
However, many big brand real estate companies spend a significant amount of their advertising dollars on the premise that they are capturing customers for their Agents. They choose to fund this company driven advertising by charging their agents various franchise, desk and start-up fees, while others choose to fund their companies’ ad budgets through monthly marketing fees. All of this is done regardless of the fact that the research clearly shows that consumers relied VERY little on the company’s brand when selecting an Agent. Of course this is not something the big brand companies want anyone to know---especially Agents.
This is the point of philosophical departure for JCL Realty, which instead encourages real estate professionals to allocate their marketing dollars towards building their own brand and reputation locally.
These big brand real estate companies continue to hold to their position that the company’s brand will influence the customer when it comes to decision making time. That is, when presented with the choice between one Agent and another, the customer will select the Agent representing the better-known company. Again this claim contradicts the research compiled by the National Association of Realtors. If you were to ask any potential client what the difference was between big brand X and little known brand Y---they wouldn’t be able to tell you---honestly, most Agents wouldn’t either.
NAR research shows,
97% of consumers say the brand or company has nothing to do with their decision when selecting an Agent.
65% of buyers and 66% of sellers only meet with one Agent before deciding with whom to work.
These figures show that it’s actually the first to the table, not the one with the biggest company behind them, who usually wins the business. Agents always have and always will create their own success. If it was the brand that actually created success then wouldn’t all the Agents that work for a big brand company be successful? Well, again it’s not the brand that makes or breaks you---not by a long shot.
Now brand can play a significant role in a consumer’s decision when it’s involving a frequent purchase of a uniformed product or service. However, in the case of an infrequent transaction---such as a residential home---brand is trumped by personal experience and overall awareness of the local salesperson.
41% of buyers and 39% of sellers said that the referral of a relative, friend or neighbor influenced their decision on selecting an Agent.
The goal for Agents should be to gain mindshare through their own branding initiatives, so they are the first person the potential client thinks about when the time comes to buy or sell a home.
88% of buyers started their search on the internet.
The internet is easily the most used information source in real estate and has opened up a whole new world for real estate professionals that are looking to develop and build their brand to the consumers that begin their search process online. But do you know what the second most used information source in real estate? It’s not printed advertisements, franchise logo’s, billboards, yard signs or even TV---but instead it’s the actual Agent.
Those Agents that understand this are quickly adapting and learning how to maximize their market exposure by taking their offline brand online---through blogs, search engine optimization, digital newsletters, photo sharing, video and most importantly---Social Media----sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube are increasing the likelihood that a consumer will actually interact with the Agent---not the company. These networking sites provide new channels for consumers to locate professionals online, enabling Agents to directly connect with their clients in a way that promotes their brand and their business. It has taken years for the real estate industry to realize the importance of social media, yet most real estate companies still either ignore it or don’t know how to use it correctly.
Yes, more Agents are realizing the importance of promoting their own brand rather than paying ridiculous fees to a big brand company just so they can turn around and spend those dollars into promoting the company brand----not the Agent---But it’s still up to each individual Agent to determine what model and perspective fits with their own objectives---then deciding on what’s best for building their brand.
There is clearly a trend towards an environment that encourages and rewards the Agents that build their own brands. It’s really that simple. So just ask yourself what are you really gaining from being with a big brand company-----it’s clearly not more business, commission splits or building your brand.
The real estate industry is a people business and the fact is, people do business with people---not companies. At JCL Realty we firmly believe in standing behind our Agents, not in front!
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