There’s plenty of information out there about personal brands – from how to build them and what you should be doing with yours to the right and wrong ways to market them. But how important is it actually for agents to become their own brand? REB spoke to a selection of the country’s top agents and network leaders to find out.
“You do need to spend a lot of time focusing on your personal brand, but I think your personal brand will grow exponentially based on the prospecting that you’re doing and the deals that you’re doing and the people that you’re meeting,” said Jason Pantzer, who ranked number seven in the REB Top 100 Agents listing.
Mr Pantzer said especially as he is a partner in his agency, the branding of his office is very important to him, but he added that he sees a lot of agents using their personally branded social media to great success.
So what do the big networks think? Grant Harrod of LJ Hooker says that it’s the brand name that gets the agent into the lounge room of the vendor. From there, it’s for the agent’s personal brand to win, or lose, that listing.
“The sales journey typically sees a vendor make a decision around what brand they can trust. What brand do they feel best represents their interests and their property and their property needs? Once they’ve established that, they’ll create invariably a shopping list and they will then obviously want to meet the individual who is going to now be responsible for that process. And now the agent brand becomes important,” he said.
Mr Harrod said that agents with personal brands that supersede that of their network are rare in today’s market, and it’s much more likely that top agents are making good use of networks to bolster their personal brands and get them on a vendor’s radar.
Barry Plant’s Mike McCarthy agrees with this outlook – to be a top agent you need to be making the most of a delicate balance of personal and network branding.
“[Vendors] list with people they know and trust and the brand will help open the door, it will help you get recognition, if you say ‘I’m Mike McCarthy from Barry Plant’. Then in virtually every market we operate in, people will know and generally will probably have an association with that brand. Whereas ‘I’m Mike McCarthy from XYZ real estate’, maybe [is] not quite so well known and the door’s not quite so open initially. So we think it’s really the best of both worlds to bring those together,” he said.
Once the agent is making their listing presentation it’s all up to them, a well-known network won’t be able to carry you through a bad presentation.
“If you’ve been invited into the lounge room, it’s yours to lose. Why do you not get the listings? Here’s the other side of it, the agent performance probably has a greater impact on losing the opportunity than it does in necessarily winning the opportunity. The brand can create the opportunity, then it’s up to the agent to now convert that,” said Mr Harrod.
“I think [the] ego gets ahead of most people, they don’t seem to realise that ultimately what customers are looking for is absolutely a brand because they know if things go wrong, and real estate is a complex transaction and there are plenty of situations where there are things that are outside of the control of the agent, buyers don’t do what they’re supposed to do, vendors don’t do what they promised to do, and you’ve got to manage both parties. The brand is very important for the consumer because they will see and recognise trust,” he said.
Overall, agents who can link their network and personal profile are going to be the agents who prove the most successful the most often.
“People trust brands, but they list with people,” said Mr McCarthy.